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Moving to the Netherlands

A Comprehensive Guide on Relocating to the Netherlands

The legal requirements for moving to the Netherlands depends on which visa you are opting for. This might be a proof of sufficient income or government’s official approval of your potential employer. In general, the number of steps you need to take to move here will vary, however, being from the EU/EEA member countries or Switzerland will make the transition easier.

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Thinking of how to move to the Netherlands? The good news is that moving your belongings there should not be too difficult. The country does not impose tax on personal belongings. However, finding where to put those belongings, i.e., accommodation can be a really difficult task.

In general, how hard or easy it is to move to the Netherlands depends on where you are from and what you do. For example, EU/EEA and Swiss nationals face fewer bureaucratic and custom restrictions in comparison to third-country citizens. Additionally, expats that specialize in occupations that are not considered to be in-demand might find it challenging to find a job in the Netherlands, which results in difficulties obtaining a visa.

Why consider moving to the Netherlands then? Well, there are still many benefits to relocating there. The Netherlands has a thriving entrepreneurial scene and a great education system. The Dutch also enjoy a good work-life balance and good quality social security. So, if gray weather does not scare you, you really love mashed potatoes, and appreciate honesty that borderlines rudeness, moving to the lowlands should be your new adventure.





The process of moving to the Netherlands requires you to consider how to ship your household goods here. And while the mode of transportation is completely up to you, you will need to meet the same customs regulations regardless.

The good news is that the Netherlands does not impose rigid rules on importation of personal belongings. They can enter the country without major problems or taxation. However, if you wish to bring food with you, it might get a little more complicated as the country has notable restrictions for it.

More good news is aimed at the nationals of EU/EEA member countries and Switzerland. That is because whatever regulations are applied to third-country nationals, those applied to Swiss and EU/EEA nationals are more lenient. They are allowed to import more alcohol and tobacco and have no restrictions when it comes to bringing money.

Moving to the Netherlands with pets is also easier if you are moving from another European country. For anyone moving from outside the EU/EEA or Swiss borders, getting the required vaccinations and testing done might take a few months. Free borders allow Europeans to take care of moving their pets in a matter of a few weeks.

When relocating to the Netherlands, there is a high chance you will move to an unfurnished place as they are the most common option. That is why brining your furniture along is not a bad idea. However, in that case, choosing an appropriate storing facility for your household items might be important. That way you will be ready to make your new house a home as soon as you arrive in the Netherlands.

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Visas & Work Permits

Before you try to figure out how to get the Netherlands’ visa and work permit, you should find out whether you need one or not. EU/EEA and Swiss nationals do not need anything else but their ID to be able to live and work in the country. Even for third-country nationals, the Netherlands visa application process differs depending on what passport they hold.

There is another puzzle to figure out regarding to permits. For example, if you are an Australian, Canadian, or a national of a few other selected countries, a visa is not necessary for you, while obtaining work and residence permits is essential. However, if you go for a highly skilled migrant status, getting a work permit is not necessary. In general, only one thing is for sure––once you are in the Netherlands, you will need to register at a local municipality.

Many entrepreneurs might want to consider moving to the Netherlands because of the country’s opportunities for self-employed people. The Dutch have a few visa types for individuals that wish to start their own business or work as freelance professionals. And while some Netherlands visas do expect their applicants to meet quite a few requirements and pay high costs, the booming market might make it worth the time and money.

When it comes to the Dutch visa cost overall, it is not too expensive. The price depends on which type of visa you need and, usually, does not exceed 300 EUR (330 USD).

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When moving to the Netherlands, finding accommodation there might be the biggest challenge you face. The housing market in the Netherlands is very competitive and requires time, effort, and a willingness to make quick decisions. So, before you dive in and look for the perfect Dutch town-house type of home, arm yourself with patience.

In addition to this required persistence, having some savings will help you feel more secure, too. Both average house prices and average rent are relatively high, while utilities in the Netherlands can cost a couple hundred euros a month. Hence, be prepared for your housing costs to take quite a big chunk of your paycheck.

When thinking of how to rent a house, know that unfurnished and shell-type accommodation is the most popular in the Netherlands. In fact, furnished places are usually only available in big cities. That is one reason why short-term contracts are unpopular and you can expect your lease to last a couple years or more. Settling down takes time and not many want to move once they have everything in order.

If you are thinking even more long-term, consider finding out how foreigners can buy a house in the Netherlands. Know that being a foreigner does not impede your chances of obtaining Dutch property. However, just like in any other country, the process is neither cheap nor easy.

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The Netherlands is one of the few countries in Europe where healthcare system is dependent on having health insurance. In fact, taking out private health insurance is a requirement for anyone living and working in the Netherlands.

In general, the Netherlands’ healthcare system is of great quality. Medical specialists are very professional and people with critical conditions receive exceptional care. However, when it comes to family doctors, some expats express criticism towards their approach to treatment. Oftentimes patients are prescribed over-the-counter medication to treat their health issues as doctors avoid more invasive methods of care.

Why would you even start thinking about how to find a doctor here then? The truth is that family doctors are the gatekeepers to Dutch healthcare. You need their referral to go to any other medical specialist or even get emergency care.

If you are considering giving birth here, note that the Netherlands is the European capital of home births. Midwives are very popular in the country and they are often the ones taking care of the mother throughout the pregnancy. Still, in-hospital births are not unusual. They typically cost around 300 EUR (330 USD) but are free if hospital care is necessary.

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Banks & Taxes

Opening a bank account in the Netherlands is not an easy task. One needs to have a proof of address and a citizen number to do so. That means that the Netherlands do not have bank account options for non-residents. However, as most expats register as temporary residents of the country when they move here, they will not have many problems and will be able to choose from the best banks in the country.

On the other hand, being a foreigner is an advantage when it comes to the country’s tax system. How much tax you pay in the Netherlands depends on how long you have lived here. In general, most people pay 36–50% of their income for taxes. However, foreigners can take advantage of a tax relief that will allow them to have 30% of non-taxed income for the first five years of staying in the country.

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International schools in the Netherlands are not too popular because of the country’s overarching international approach to education. Bilingual public schools are not uncommon, especially on the secondary school level. In fact, the best schools in the country are considered to be the public ones. However, expats who do want their children to attend an international school can get a financial aid from for their employer according to the 30% tax ruling.

Understanding the Dutch education system can be a challenge. One can easily get lost when trying to figure out different levels of studies and types of schools available. However, the typical curriculum of the Netherlands’ school system is not too difficult for the students. It is not too demanding and children, especially in primary school, has enough time for after school activities.

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People that work in the Netherlands enjoy a great work-life balance. Here, everyone respects each other’s schedules and doing overtime is not too common. The business culture encourages honesty between all levels of employees and rewards efficiency. The average salary in the Netherlands is pretty high, while Dutch social security is reliable and supportive. The Netherlands’ self-employment market is also thriving as expats are allowed to start their businesses and go freelance without needing to overcome major obstacles.

If this sounds very appealing and you are wondering how to get a job in the Dutch labor market, remember that there is a lot of competition. You will need to make yourself stand out with your skills and attitude to be able to land a job there.

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Country Facts

When it comes to cost of living, for those wondering if it is expensive to live in the Netherlands, the answer is more or less yes. Housing and utilities are expensive, and groceries are not on the cheap side either. However, there are ways to cut down on the costs, whether it is by opting for a more economical utility plan or choosing for your children to attend a public instead of a private school.

What does not cost money and is appreciated by everyone? Keeping to your schedule and being on time. Do not be surprised that when trying to organize a get together with the Dutch, they will pull out their agenda and try to squeeze you in some time in a week or two. Soon enough, you will get booked up too, so this habit is worth getting used to.

Then, you will need to figure out how to get everywhere on time. Driving in the Netherlands is not too popular for those residing in cities as they mostly rely on public transportation and bikes. However, if you choose to live away from the hustle and bustle of big metropolises, you will need a car. If that is the case, make sure to consider the time you will be stuck in traffic jams when calculating your time of arrival.

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Updated on: October 18, 2019
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