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Working in Rotterdam

Find out how to get a job and work in Rotterdam

Rotterdam has historically had a strong local economy, and continues to do so to this day. This thriving, stable economy is based primarily around its port, and has for centuries been the center of the shipping industry in the Netherlands. Learn more about the economy, work permits and taxes in this article.

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Employment in Rotterdam

Local Economy

Rotterdam’s port is not only the largest port in Europe. Until 2004, it was also the busiest port in the world (a record now held by Shanghai), and in 2007 it was named the seventh largest container port in the world. The main products that pass through the port are petrochemicals, and it is also commonly used as a transshipment point, where cargo is deposited before completing its onward journey.

The port is the main place of work in Rotterdam for locals, foreigners and expatriates alike. There are also a number of major multinationals that have their headquarters in Rotterdam, including Unilever, Eneco, Robeco, and Pfizer. Many expatriates working in Rotterdam do so in senior management, research, or technical positions for these organizations.

Additionally, Rotterdam’s service sector has come to play more of a role the city’s economy in recent years. Rotterdam now has a number of famous, upmarket shopping districts, most notably the Beurstraverse and the Kruiskade.

Work Permits for Rotterdam

If you are an EU citizen, then you will not need a permit to work in Rotterdam. However, if you wish to stay for more than three months then you must notify your local municipality and register for a residence permit.

However, as the citizen of a non EU nation, you will need to apply for a work permit. In recent years the Dutch government has put more restrictions on employers finding workers from outside the EU, so obtaining a work permit can be quite difficult.

Once you have accepted an offer of work in Rotterdam, your employer will then apply for your permit on your behalf. In order to do so, they will need to prove that your particular skills cannot be found within the EU, which means that highly skilled and specialized workers will have more of a chance.

Another way of gaining a work permit is to have a partner or spouse working in Rotterdam that can sponsor you, however, they will have to demonstrate that they can provide for you financially until you find employment.

Income Taxation in Rotterdam

The Netherlands is known for its complicated income taxation system, whereby all of your personal conditions, such as residency, marital status, and your type of employment, will be taken into account. It has a progressive system, where your payable amount depends on your earnings, and the top rate of tax is set at 52%. People earning less than 2,100 euros do not pay income tax.

As an expatriate working in Rotterdam it would be a good idea to enlist a professional to help you with your taxes, as the system can be quite confusing to a foreigner.

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Updated on: May 13, 2015
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