Kingpin's Expat Guide for The Netherlands
The Netherlands is a beautiful, thriving country located in Western Europe with a population of 17.02 million. The country’s central location means that many European cities such as Geneva, Paris, Berlin and Brussels are all a very short flight away.
The country’s larger cities such as Amsterdam and Rotterdam as well as its smaller towns are home to multinational organisations and large expat communities, making The Netherlands a much sought-after expat destination. Unsurprisingly, the Dutch economy is much to be thanked for – with a projected growth of 3.25% in 2018, owing to the rise in exports and increased investments.
Cost of Living
On average, the cost of living in The Netherlands is around 15% higher than the United Kingdom. However, salaries generally reflect the cost, making The Netherlands relatively affordable. In addition, larger cities such as Amsterdam will be more expensive than smaller towns such as Maastricht. While The Netherlands may be more expensive than some European countries, its quality of life is continuously rated amongst the top 5 in the European Union, according to Eurostat’s Quality of Life indicator.
One of the special benefits of being an expat in the Netherlands is that the Dutch government has a tax-free allowance for expats fulfilling a certain skillset threshold, which is 30% of the income. This is a great perk, especially when relocating to a new country.
A full guide can be found on Numbeo.com, where various Dutch cities’ cost of living can be compared with other cities around the world.
Renting in The Netherlands
Rent prices will vary greatly between provinces across The Netherlands. This is something to keep in mind when considering relocation, as smaller towns such as Maastricht can be up to 42% cheaper to rent in than Amsterdam.
Properties can often be found through traditional methods such as real estate agents and websites. The main difference between The Netherlands and other parts of the world is that properties are assessed through a points-based system called woningwaarderingsstelsel, which is in place as a guideline for future tenants.
Although oral agreements are acceptable, it is preferred that you sign a tenancy agreement in writing for reassurance. Another thing to bear in mind is that it is illegal to sign tenancies shorter than 6 months without a license, so be aware of this before signing any agreements. Further details on tenancy agreements can be found on Expatica.
Expats may want to have a browse of the following expat-oriented property-search websites to explore their options prior to arrival in The Netherlands:
Dutch health insurance is mandatory for everyone working and living in The Netherlands, regardless of existing health insurance in their home country. This insurance covers the costs of medical care and costs 100 EUR per month.
Below is a list of Dutch health insurance providers.
Public transport around The Netherlands is very popular; its efficiency and geographical coverage make it the most popular choice of transport. All you need is an OV-chipkaart smartcard, 20 euros credit minimum, and you’re set! This card can be used on all Dutch public transport including:
- Rail (nationwide and citywide)
- Tram (larger cities such as Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht)
Cycling is another popular method of transport across the country, with dedicated lanes and parking spaces available in most cities. If you're keen on the idea of cycling to work, most Dutch cities will perfectly cater for your commute.
When moving to The Netherlands, it is essential to create a bank account in order to rent a property and receive wages. There is a variety of Dutch banks, however ABN AMRO and bunq have detailed information in English on their websites.
In order to open a Dutch bank account, the following documents are required:
- BSN number (Burgerservicenummer)
- An identification (Passport or identity card)
- Proof of address (such as a tenancy agreement)
- A residency permit or visa (for expats from outside the EU)
Moving to another country as an expat may be challenging, particularly at the start when there may be a slight culture shock. Making friends and meeting other expats is a good way to immerse into the new city. Aside from people you will meet at work, you can meet expats and share your experience through the following websites:
- Internations: This is a worldwide expat website where local events can be found alongside useful information.
- Meetup: You’ll find in this website a variety of expat clubs including The Amsterdam Expat Meeting Group and Expat Republic Rotterdam.
- XPAT.NL: This website contains a list of different expat-oriented societies in The Netherlands and further information about them.
Some of the clubs you can join while in The Netherlands include:
- British Society of Amsterdam
- International Women's Contact
- Dutch Language Weekends
- Deutscher Klub in den Niederlanden
- The Irish Club Netherlands
- Asociación Hispánica De La Haya
If you are interested in a move to The Netherlands or anywhere else in the world and would like to speak to Kingpin International about International Tax Opportunities, please contact a member of the team. Alternatively, please browse our current International Tax vacancies.
References: IAmExpat.nl, ExpatGuide.nl, Meetup, Internations, Expatica.