The Netherlands at a Glance
Working in the Netherlands
The most important economic sector in the Netherlands is agriculture. In fact, the country is one of the most significant exporters of agricultural products. Germany and the UK in particular purchase fresh produce from the Netherlands on a regular basis. Other areas, such as the automobile industry and sustainable energy, are gaining considerable importance as well.
In 2012, the unemployment rate in the Netherlands was 6.8%. You will, however, find that there are huge regional differences for employees working in the Netherlands. While Utrecht is known for its high employment rate, Flevoland has the highest number of people without a job.
If you are interested in starting a job in the Netherlands, you should also be aware of some legal issues: EU/EEA-citizens, for instance, don’t require a work permit. People of other nationalities, however, will need one before they can start working in the Netherlands.
Finding a Job in the Netherlands
In recent years, new jobs have been created in different economic sectors all over the Netherlands, such as logistics, services and trade, or information and telecommunication. You might also want to brush up your Dutch if you consider working in the Netherlands. Fluency in English is indispensible, too.
The Dutch Labor Administration (Centra voor Werk en Inkomen – CWI) can help you find a job if you are an EU/EEA-citizen interested in working in the Netherlands. To sign up, you need to provide proof of your EU citizenship and your income tax number.
European employment services and private employment agencies are another alternative. There is a difference between Uitzendbureaus and Bemiddelingsbureas, though. The former do not only search staff for their clients, they also function as employers themselves. The latter merely refer employees to companies. Alternatively, you can check local newspapers such as De Telegraaf, De Volkskrant, Haagsche Courant or Algemeen Dagblad.
Your salary for working in the Netherlands will vary depending on your sector of employment. The highest salaries can be found in the mining industry, chemical industry, and banking and insurance. However, if you should be employed in the Netherlands’ textile industry or agriculture, chances are you will be earning a lot less.
A law on minimum wage for working in the Netherlands regulates the income of employees aged between 23 and 65. The legal minimum wage is adjusted every six months. In January 2013, the minimum wage for people over 23 working in the Netherlands was 1469.40€ (gross income per month).
Dutch Labor Legislation
The Dutch labor law establishes the framework for all aspects of working in the Netherlands. General requirements and conditions are laid out as follows:
- The maximum working hours should not exceed 12 hours per day and 60 hours per week.
- Nightshifts should not exceed 10 hours.
- After five hours, employees are entitled to a break.
Most employees are granted between 21 and 25 days of vacation per year. This is more than labor law specifies. Vacation days have to be four times the number of weekly work days. Thus, five work days per week would result in 20 days of vacation per year.
The Commission for Equality of Treatment was appointed to assure equal rights for all people working in the Netherlands. In this way, nobody should be discriminated against when it comes to reviewing applications, salaries or promotions of employees.