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How to Relocate Your Household & Pets to the Netherlands

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  • Pascal Tremblay

    With InterNations as my network, I have been able to make many friends learn the ins and outs about living in The Hague.

When thinking of how to relocate to the Netherlands, know that the physical move of your household items should not cause you many troubles. Most of your personal belongings can enter the country duty free and with no major hiccups.

If you are wondering what it takes to relocate to the Netherlands health-wise, know there is not much to take care of either, apart from routine vaccinations. There are few health risks in the country and immigration law does not require health check-ups upon entry.

Pet owners will face an additional step in their relocation process, the extent of which depends on whether or not you are from the EU. While third country nationals might need to start their pet relocation process a few months in advance, for people moving from the EU, everything can be sorted in a couple of weeks. In fact, this relocation guide makes it obvious––no matter what it is, relocating to the Netherlands from another EU country simplifies almost everything.

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Moving and Shipping Household Goods

When wondering how to move your household items and belongings, know that relocating from another EU member country can be advantageous. As an EU member, the Netherlands poses more lenient regulations for travelers, allowing for a higher volume of duty-free items.

Customs Regulations and Allowances for the Netherlands

For Third-Country Nationals/Moving from Outside the EU

Customs in the Netherlands does not impose tax on personal luggage, sometimes called travel accessories. Those are consumer goods that are meant for personal use.

You are allowed to bring medicine for your own or your child’s use. To prove that it is for personal use, you might be asked to provide a prescription. When traveling with medicine make sure you keep it in its original packaging. Also, note that some medicines, such a strong painkillers or sleep-inducing drugs, might be listed as narcotics in the EU. That is why it is best to be on the safe side and check whether the medication you use is allowed in the country or not.

Duty-Free Customs Allowances for Alcohol

  • 1 liter of spirits (whiskey, vodka, etc.); or
  • 2 liters of sparkling wine; or
  • 2 liters of fortified wine (sherry or port); and
  • 4 liters of wine; and
  • 16 liters of beer

Duty-Free Customs Allowances for Tobacco

  • 200 cigarettes; or
  • 100 cigarillos; or
  • 50 cigars; or
  • 250 grams of smoking tobacco (hookah tobacco included)

For EU-Nationals/Moving Within the EU

People relocating from another EU country can make use of higher duty-free customs allowances when importing the following alcohol and tobacco products:

  • 110 liters of beer
  • 90 liters of wine (60 liters of which can be sparkling wine)
  • 20 liters of fortified wine (sherry or port)
  • 10 liters of spirits (whiskey, vodka, jenever, etc.)
  • 800 cigarettes
  • 400 cigarillos
  • 200 cigars
  • 1 kilogram of smoking tobacco (hookah tobacco included)

Nationals of EU member states are not limited in the amount of money they are importing, whether in cash or securities. They also face fewer restrictions when importing cars and motorcycles.

Prohibited and Restricted Items in the Netherlands

The import of the following items is restricted:

  • large sums of money in cash or securities (over 10,000 EUR (10,990 USD))
  • animal products and foodstuffs
  • art objects and antiques
  • cars and motorcycles

You cannot bring the following items to the Netherlands:

  • protected animal and plant species (tigers, snakes, sharks, elephants, etc.) or products made of them (bags, jewelry, coats, etc.)
  • weapons and ammunitions
  • toy or fake weapons that imitate real ones
  • narcotics

What to Pack When Moving to the Netherlands

One can import up to 20 kg of fish or fish products to the Netherlands with no special certifications. The same goes for any amount of sweets and chocolate. Infant food and food intended for special medical purposes also do not require special documentation. However, the amount of formula you are allowed to bring depends on the country you are traveling from.

Some flowers, plants, fruits, and vegetables are allowed to be imported in small quantities (up to 5 kg) with no additional documentation. However, they do need to meet the following standards:

  • they should be shipped with travelers themselves
  • they should not pose a risk of spreading harmful organisms
  • they cannot be imported for commercial or scientific use

Do you own any counterfeit items? The Netherlands customs allow them, as long as they are not being imported for commercial purposes.

How to Ship Household Items and Belongings

Once you have considered the customs rules and decided on what you need to bring, you should hire professionals that can assist with your move. The price of shipping your items depends on the size of your cargo, how far away from the destination you are, and how quickly you want your belongings to get there.

Home Good Storage

As unfurnished places are very common in the Netherlands, and you may need to supply certain items yourself, renting out storage space, whether for the short or long term, might be inevitable. That is why, if you know which of your household items and furniture will be necessary in your new home, you should try to ship them in advance and keep them at a local storage space.

Vaccinations and Health Requirements for the Netherlands

Vaccinations required for the Netherlands are standard to most Western countries. That means that as long as you have the basics taken care of, you will not face many problems to meet the country’s health requirements.

What Vaccinations You Need in the Netherlands

Being up to date with your routine shots should be enough when travelling to the Netherlands as Dutch immigration vaccination requirements are not too demanding. Make sure you have immunization records or get booster shots for:

  • measles–mumps–rubella
  • diphtheria–tetanus–pertussis
  • chickenpox
  • polio
  • yearly flu shot

While the Netherlands is a safe country when it comes to disease control, living abroad does come with its own trials and tribulations. Depending on where you are planning on living and what you do, you might need to get some additional immunizations, such as Hepatitis A and B and rabies (present in bats in the Netherlands).

Still, as there are not many health risks in the country, there are no other health-related requirements for entering the Netherlands.

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Discover our welcoming community of expats! You’ll find many ways to network, socialize, and make new friends. Attend online and in-person events that bring global minds together.

Taking Your Cat, Dog or Ferret to the Netherlands

These are the requirements your furry friend needs to meet in order to be allowed to enter the Netherlands:

  • The pet must be older than 15 weeks old.
  • The animal must be vaccinated against rabies at twelve weeks old.
  • After the vaccinations you must wait at least 21 days before taking the animal to the Netherlands.
  • The pet must be microchipped, have a pet passport, and a health certificate.

These rules apply to animals traveling from any EU country, as well as Andorra, Switzerland, the Faroe Islands, Gibraltar, Greenland, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, and Vatican City.

If you are traveling from anywhere other than the above-mentioned countries, your pet might need to undergo a rabies antibody test as well as treatment against tapeworm (dogs). That often means that by the time your pet is allowed in the country it will be seven months old. Also, note that when bringing a pet into the EU, you need to do it through a specialized point of entry.

All dogs must be registered in the country within two weeks of arrival. Note that most municipalities charge an annual dog tax.

What Other Pets Can You Bring into the Netherlands?

Birds, fish, small rodents, rabbits, amphibians, and reptiles traveling from another EU country are all allowed to enter the Netherlands as long as they have a health certificate signed by a veterinarian. Animals coming from non-EU countries might face additional requirements.

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