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9 Things to Know if You Are Moving from the UK to the Netherlands

Motivated by charming canals, low unemployment rate, and 30% tax-free allowance, many UK residents are making the trek across the Channel to establish a home in the welcoming Netherlands. Find out here what you need to know if you want to move to the Netherlands before the Brexit transition period ends.

Need to move abroad? Organizing an international relocation is not something you should do on your own. As expats, we understand what you need, and offer the the essential services to help you move and live abroad easily. Contact us today to jump start your move, and begin the preparations with our free relocation checklist.

The benefits of living and working in the Netherlands are endless. The country is not only ranked as one of the top 20 safest countries in the world, but it is also renowned for its quality healthcare system, which both expats and Dutch nationals alike can utilize. The public transit system and major international airport also make the country easy for travel throughout Europe; something that is not so convenient when living in the UK.

Whether you are moving to the Netherlands to work, or experience a new culture, expats relocating there rarely regret their decision. With a strong emphasis on a healthy work/life balance and short business hours, it is easy to see why so many UK residents are choosing to make the land of windmills and tulips their new home.

In this guide, we give you insights on important things to know before moving to the Netherlands.

1. Do you need a Dutch Visa and Work Permit? 

Although the implementation of Brexit will change European travel for UK residents, as of now British citizens do not need a visa to live or work in the Netherlands. They do, however, need to register as a resident with their local municipality.

After the transition period ends on December 31st, 2020, UK nationals will likely need a combined residence and work permit, just like any other third-country national.

If you need assistance finding out which immigration laws apply to, do not hesitate to contact our visa experts.

2. What should you do before Brexit?

a. Register as a resident 

After the Brexit transition periods ends, you will only be able to stay in the Netherlands, if you are a legal resident. For that, you will need to register as a legal resident in the Netherlands before December 31st, 2020.

In addition to this, you will also need to obtain a citizen service number called BSN (Burgerservicenummer) and register in the Personal Records Database, BRP (Basisregistratie Personen). You must do this at the local municipality (Gemeente) within five days of arriving in the country.

Learn more about how to register as a resident in the Netherlands in our full guide.

b. Register for healthcare as a resident 

As soon as you register as a resident in the Netherlands, you will need to get basic Dutch health insurance. This will cover general and emergency medical care. In short, healthcare in the Netherlands is not free. Everyone has to take out private insurance. However, some employers cover their employees’ basic coverage (basis verzekering).

Keep in mind, that if you are a resident in the Netherlands you cannot use your European Health Card from the UK to access Dutch healthcare services. You can obtain an EHIC card from your Dutch health insurance, so you are covered when traveling within Europe.

Read more on Healthcare in the Netherlands in our guide.

3. How to find a home in the Netherlands?

As one of the most densely populated countries in Europe, finding affordable accommodation in a Dutch city can be tricky. Expect prices to be even higher if you want a furnished place or something near the city center. Furnished homes are very rare and can only be found in bigger cities such as Amsterdam or Rotterdam. In most cases they are only available as short-term rentals, which is a great solution for tenants who wish to inspect their future house before signing the contract.

Rent prices vary greatly depending on where you want to live. You can expect rent in big cities such as Amsterdam, Maastricht, and Rotterdam to be much higher than in small towns like Utrecht, for instance. In Amsterdam, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is around 1,600 EUR (1,800 USD). In Utrecht, expect to pay about 1,200 EUR (1,400 USD) for the same apartment size.

As a foreigner, it is more difficult to find housing that suits your needs. If you need help navigating the local housing market, contact InterNations GO! We created our home finding service to help expats like you find a home tailored to their individual needs.

4. What about taxes and finances in the Netherlands?

The Netherlands and the UK have a double taxation agreement. This means, expats only pay tax to the country they reside in full-time. Despite Brexit, this agreement has not changed for now and will definitely uphold for the tax year 2020.

As the Netherlands’ currency is Euro, you should consider getting a Dutch bank account. Otherwise, you might lose a lot of money on conversion fees, if you decide to use primarily your British account in pounds. Opening a bank account in the Netherlands is fairly straightforward. The main requirements are legal residency in the country and your citizen service number (BSN).

Read our full guide and find out how to handle taxes and finances in the Netherlands as a UK national.

5. Does your UK driver’s license work in the Netherlands?

As long as the UK does not leave the EU officially, you have the same rights as any other EU-citizen. This means, if you have a UK driver’s license, you will be able to use it in the Netherlands until the Brexit transition period ends on December 31st, 2020.

Until then, you will have to exchange your license for a Dutch one at your local council (gemeente). Read more on how to exchange your UK driver’s license for a Dutch one in our full guide.

6. How high is the cost of living in the Netherlands compared to the UK?

The cost of living in the Netherlands is lower than in the UK. However, cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and Maastricht are rather expensive, especially when it comes to rent prices. A one-bedroom in Amsterdam, for instance, costs around 1,500 EUR (1,800 USD). In Rotterdam you pay about 1,100 EUR (1,300 USD) for the same size. In comparison, renting a one-bedroom apartment in London sets you back about 1,700 EUR (2,000 USD).

Can you live comfortably on an average Dutch salary? That depends on where you live, of course, but generally speaking, you can. An average yearly gross salary ranges from 45,000 to 55,000 EUR (53,000 to 65,000 USD). Monthly you should earn between 3,750 to 4,500 EUR (4,430 to 5,200 USD) gross.

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7. Are there Job Opportunities in the Netherlands for Foreigners? 

The Netherlands is home to many international companies that work entirely in the English language. The most in-demand jobs are in the business and administration sector, IT and engineering, and the legal, finance, and social sectors. Engineers, developers, HR specialists, international lawyers, and marketing managers will find enough employment opportunities here.

Find out more about the job market in the Netherlands in our full guide.

8. Do you need to learn Dutch?

With such an international business landscape, competition is high. So, finding employment in the Netherlands can be tough. Although knowing English on a native level is enough to live and work in the Netherlands, it cannot hurt to learn Dutch and German to stand out from your competitors.

9. Ready to “go Dutch”?

Adjusting to the Dutch way of life will take some time, especially when you come from an entirely different background. Dutch people are very direct and straightforward. They don’t see any point in beating around the bush or doing small talk. While this might sound off-putting at first, you will quickly realize that you will always know where you stand with Dutch people and can easily avoid misunderstandings.

The Dutch also place high importance on scheduling everything. Spontaneity is a word not often used in the Netherlands. People even schedule their down-time and hobbies. Better get used to pulling out calendars when trying to find a time to meet friends. It’s normal.

Learn more about Dutch customs and culture in our full guide.

Do you want to relocate? If you have never moved abroad, the process will be overwhelming, and if you have, you know the burden that lies ahead. Whatever stage you are at, InterNations GO! can help you with a complete set of relocation services, such as home finding, school search, visa solutions, and even pet relocation. Our expert expat team is ready to get your relocation going, so why not jump-start your move abroad and contact us today? Best to start early!

Updated on: September 11, 2020
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