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Find your way home Htel Serviced Apartments represents a unique housing concept for people who are looking for temporary facilities in the greater Amsterdam area. With more than 300 spacious and fully equipped apartments (from 45, up to150 m2) with modern furnishings, Htel Serviced Apartments offers a value for money alternative, while still delivering a wide range of services you normally would expect to receive at a five-star hotel. Centrally located on the outskirts of Amsterdam, the Htel Serviced Apartments are near major business districts, shopping areas, museums, highways, and Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, and can easily be reached by car or public transport. Add to this our additional services, such as reception, fitness facilities, swimming pool, sauna, business lounges, board rooms, free Wi-Fi internet and all the ingredients are there to make you feel at home.

Welcome to the Netherlands! If you have just moved here, it is quite likely that you are feeling somewhat overwhelmed. Apart from a new culture and language to cope with, you will have to sort out a host of practical things within the first few weeks: somewhere to live, your finances, permits, papers, and maybe a school for your children and a job for your partner. Don’t panic! The Expat Survival Guide can help. It will give you a starting point: the basic information you need and directions to the people, companies, organisations and institutions that can help you. This guide is published by, a leading media organisation serving the international community. Check out to access English language news, features and resources such as housing and job searches, Ask the Expert, free classifieds, A-Z listings, Events listings and a thriving online community. Have a wonderful stay in the Netherlands!

INTRODUCTION. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 – 4 RELOCATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 – 15 Survival checklist; Registration/residence permits; Relocation service providers; Special needs. FAMILIES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 – 18 Registration; Au pairs; Childcare; Child benefit; Tips for families. HOUSING. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 – 36 Rent or buy? Renting: using an agent, other options; Buying: Profiles of popular expat locations, Accomodation agencies, Lifestyle service providers. FINANCE. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 – 46 Bank accounts: Taxation; Insurance; Financial service providers. EDUCATION. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 – 60 Education system; International education; International schools; Higher education; Learning Dutch; Language schools, Business education. EMPLOYMENT. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62 – 69 Work permits; Finding a job; Working culture; Recruitment agencies. HEALTHCARE. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70 – 74 Healthcare system; Having a baby; Useful links; Health providers. HOME BASICS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75 – 76 Setting up home; Utilities – gas, water, electricity; Communication – telephone, internet, TV, radio. TRANSPORT. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77 – 78 Driving; Public transport. CONTACTS & CALENDAR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79 – 81 Essential numbers; Holidays; Groups and clubs. INDEX. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82 Advertiser’s index.

Published October 2011 © Expatica Communications BV Gedempte Oude Gracht 31 - 2011 GL Haarlem - Netherlands - Editor: Natasha Gunn Advertising sales: Maciej Wojnicki, Sales coordination: Stephanie Mazier Publisher: Antoine van Veldhuizen Layout & design: Benjamin Langman Marketing & communications: Matt Shaw, Xian Wang

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronically or mechanically, including photocopying, recording or any information storage or retrieval system, without prior written permission from the publisher. Requests for permission should be addressed to Expatica Communications BV, Gedempte Oude Gracht 31, 2011 GL Haarlem, The Netherlands. Expatica makes great effort to ensure the accuracy of information contained in this guide. However, we will not be responsible for errors or omissions or any damages, howsoever caused, which results from its use, and make no warranty of claims as to the quality or competence of businesses or professionals mentioned. Users are advised to take care when selecting professional services and to use common sense when adjusting to new life in a new country.




Introduction Famed for its liberal social policies, its maritime and trading traditions, its battles to hold back the sea and the robust communication of its natives, the Netherlands consistently ranks as one of the top places in the world in which to live and do business. The standard of living is high and, according to statistics from UNICEF, Dutch children are the happiest children in the developed world. To the newcomer, Dutch society might seem open and informal, but some complex social rules are at play. Ostentatious behaviour is generally frowned upon and egalitarianism is publicly observed. Dutch people “would mostly like to be as normal as possible” according to Martijn de Rooij, author of “The Dutch I Presume?”. The Dutch saying ‘Doe maar gewoon dan doe je al gek genoeg‘ (just act normal, that’s crazy enough) is an anthem against eccentricity.


No Dutch city has yet reached a million inhabitants and each retains a unique character and architectural style. The capital is something else entirely. In terms of atmosphere and attitude, Amsterdam and the Netherlands could be two different countries. In 2010, UNESCO added Amsterdam’s inner canals to its World Heritage Site list. This decision will not only add more prestige to the city’s image, it will also help to preserve some of its most important buildings. Since April 2011, newcomers to Amsterdam can visit canal museum Het Grachtenhuis, which uses various media to tell the fascinating story of how the ring of canals was developed. International residents tread a well-worn path to the Lowlands. Of the 16,655,799 living in the Netherlands in 2011, 3,427,019 (source: have a foreign background. This multi-ethnic characteristic of the Dutch population has historic roots stretching back several hundred years. The most rapid changes in population demographics have come about in the last 40 years.


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Dutch foreign policy remains a key issue, especially because it has long been influencing the country’s national policy. In February 2010, the Dutch government collapsed over the decision of whether or not to further extend the Afghan mission and the Netherlands became the first member of NATO to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan. Traditionally, the Dutch government is a coalition of two or more parties, but now, for the first time ever, the Netherlands has a minority coalition. On 14 October 2010, Prime Minister centre-right liberal leader Mark Rutte formed a government with ministers of his liberal VVD party and the Christian Democrat CDA. The government is supported by anti-Muslim politician Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party, PVV. This nationalistic party, although known for its right-wing focus, puts equal weight on socialist themes. Queen’s Day (Koninginnedag) is celebrated throughout the Netherlands on 30 April; Queen Beatrix’s birthday is actually in January and the April date is in honour of her late mother Queen Juliana’s birthday. Oranjegekte (Orange madness) takes over as people wear orange shirts, hats, dresses and wigs to celebrate while enjoying the country’s annual free market (vrijmarkt)—the one time when people can set up shop on the sidewalk without a trading licence. All in all, the Netherlands remains an attractive place to live in and expats are an intrinsic part of the Dutch knowledge-based economy. Dutch people are generally receptive, curious, cultured and friendly. English is widely spoken, which is seen as a drawback for those endeavouring to learn Dutch, and with many international companies headquartered in the Netherlands, there are plenty of employment opportunities.


Population: 16,655,799 (source: Density: 488/km2 (the highest in Europe). Administration: The constitution dates mostly from 1848. Parliament consists of an upper chamber (Eerste Kamer) of 75 members elected by provincial councils and a lower chamber (Tweede Kamer) containing 150 members elected by proportional representation. The cabinet is the executive body and you can’t be a member of the cabinet and parliament at the same time. Monarchy: The House of Oranje-Nassau has governed the Netherlands since 1815. Queen Beatrix (born 1938) came to the throne in 1980. Landscape: A fifth of the Netherlands is reclaimed from the sea; a quarter is below sea level. There are 20 national parks and even a few ‘hills’ (highpoint 322 metres) in Limburg. Agricultural facts: The Dutch cow is a revered milk machine (35 litres a day). Dutch people are extremely tall and still growing. The Netherlands has the lowest incidence of lactose intolerance in the world. A quarter of the world’s tomatoes are Dutch exports. Media and culture: The Netherlands has the highest museum density in the world (almost 1,000). Big Brother is a Dutch (John de Mol) invention. Top internet sites in the Netherlands include social networking site Design: Dutch icons of style are hot-housed in the Design Academy Eindhoven and the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam. Dutch design is admired for its minimalist, quirky and often humorous qualities.



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Survival checklist

Finding a school for your children Should you send your child to a local or international school? What educational possibilities are available to expats? Get the lowdown on onderwijs in the Netherlands.

If you’ve just landed in the Netherlands it’s tempting to start exploring, but there are some essential tasks to get through first. Use this checklist with the Expat Survival Guide to simplify easing into the Netherlands. Report to immigration Register with the GBA within five days of arrival. If you need a residence permit, make an appointment with the IND. Get ready for lots of paperwork and make sure your documents have all the right stamps. Bureaucratic? Ja hoor! Finances first Opening a Dutch bank account will make your life easier. You’ll need your passport and/or residence permit, Burgerservicenummer (BSN), proof of address, evidence of income such as an employment contract or payslip. Finding a home The Netherlands is a small country with excellent transport links, but which location is best for you? Should you rent or buy? Our Housing section will help you find the answers. Setting up home Get plugged in: How to get a telephone, broadband connection and sort out utilities. We list the major suppliers and several useful websites.


Language learning The Dutch are great linguists, but don’t let that stop you learning Nederlands. We offer tips on where to find a language course and how to go about learning the Dutch language. Job hunting If you’ve got a work permit (or don’t need one) you’re ready to go. Sign up with agencies which specialise in finding work for expats or start your search online. We offer job-hunting tips and information on Dutch labour law. Health Do you know what to do in an emergency or how to find a hospital or local doctor or midwife? Even if you have health insurance from your home country, you’ll need to get Dutch health insurance before getting a residence permit. Getting around Find out about Dutch driving rules and regulations, if you can exchange your driving license, and how the Dutch public transport system works. Meeting the community If you’re finding everything a little stressful, take heart: there are many expats who have been in the same position and made it through! Find out about groups and clubs in the Netherlands and the best places to meet other members of the expat community as well as the locals.


You have arrived And we’re here to make it easier for highly skilled migrants like you to work and register in the Amsterdam area. Qualifying companies can start the paperwork before arrival and a single visit to the Expatcenter will complete the process. What’s more, our website has loads of valuable information on a wide range of topics including housing, education, taxes and healthcare. The cities of Amsterdam, Amstelveen, Almere and Haarlemmermeer are working with the Immigration and Naturalisation Services (IND) to bring you the Expatcenter services free of charge. To learn more please contact us or visit our website. +31 (0)20 254 7999

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triggers the start of other processes and proof of registration is essential for many more.

The Netherlands is a bureaucratic country and proud of it. Regulations and procedures for expats and their families can seem daunting. The Dutch government is working on making it easier for expats to move through the red tape, with more changes on the way.

The details you give when you register (such as the size of your apartment and family) determine charges for water and refuse collection, prompts the local health department to contact you regarding checkups for your children, and eligibility to register for social housing. As of November 2007, the burgerservicenummer (BSN) (which has replaced the old fiscal SOFInumber) is issued here and you’ll need a BSN to open a bank account. Once you have completed this process, you can get a printout of your details (uittreksel) which proves your residence and rights, such as being able to vote in local and European elections.

The Dutch government has even admitted that its immigration system is “complex and unwieldy” but the system has been increasingly streamlined with legislation designed to attract and select more educated and highly skilled migrants. Here’s what you can do to make the process easier and faster.

Documents required include a passport (valid for a minimum period of the length of your stay), rental contract (in your name), employment contract (if applicable) and birth and marriage certificates of all family members (see above for legal format). Registration is free.

First of all, ensure that your documents are in order. Check your passport is valid for the period of your stay and that marriage and birth certificates are translated into Dutch, English, French or German and sufficiently ‘legalised’. This is generally with the addition of an apostille—an extra stamp on the original document—and you obtain this from the ‘competent authority’ in your own country. See the apostille section of


You don’t have to repeat this process every time you move house; you can generally just visit a local office (stadsdeelkantoor) to update your details (which you are legally obliged to do). You also need to de-register when you leave the Netherlands. The GBA no longer deals with applications for residence permits. For that you must contact the IND.

There are two main bodies involved: the IND, which implements immigration policy and makes decisions on residence permits, and the GBA, where you register your entry into the Netherlands.

In Amsterdam and The Hague, there’s a central location where non-Dutch nationals register for the first time. You need to make an appointment and all members of your family (regardless of age) must be present at the first interview. Once you have registered, contact the IND to make an appointment regarding the residence permit (if required).

Registering with the GBA: everyone The gemeentelijke basisadministratie persoonsgegevens is the personal records database of the municipal authority. Anyone who intends to stay in the Netherlands for more than three months (including EU/EEA nationals) must register at the GBA within five days of arrival. Registration with the GBA

IND The Immigratieen Naturalisatiedienst implements immigration policy including applications for residence permits, Dutch citizenship, visas and asylum requests. The official policy line is “strict but fair” and efforts are being made to speed up the processes involved.


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people orientation tours | home finding | settling-in services | immigration service | financial management Multinational companies and their international transferees deserve a professional guidance during their transfer. EuroHome Relocation Services assists both the company, the employee and his/her family during the entire relocation process and renders all the help that is often so desperately needed. More information +31 (0)70 301 13 66 or go to Offices in The Netherlands, Czech Republic, Russia and Poland. Global assistance provided via selected partner network.

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The website has extensive information in English, a Residence Wizard for checking specific circumstances and downloadable brochures and forms. You need to make an appointment and visit an IND desk personally to be interviewed or have a sticker put in your passport. If you have applied for a highly skilled migrant residence permit, this is not necessary but voluntary. To collect a permit you need to visit an IND desk in person. If you receive a letter stating the permit is ready, you can visit the IND desk without an appointment. Renewal forms are automatically sent to you. Office locations can be found on the IND website at (tel: 0900 1234561 or +31 20 889 3045 outside the Netherlands). What kind of residence permit? A residence permit (verblijfsvergunning) is related to the purpose of your stay. Your country of origin, purpose for coming to the Netherlands (work, study, marriage, reunification with family), income, age and period of residency are the key factors in determining what kind of residence permit you need or are eligible for. There are 29 variations (with plans to reduce that number), all individually priced. The most expensive relate to family reunification or formation, but if a family arrives in the Netherlands together there is a family tariff. Other requirements include no criminal record, proof of sufficient means of support, Dutch health insurance and no risk to public order, national peace or security. A temporary residence permit is issued initially for a fixed period with a maximum of five years. Most permits are issued for one year (and can then be renewed); those issued for work or the highly skilled migrant scheme can be longer – up to a maximum of five years. After five years of legal residence you can apply for a permanent residence permit or consider naturalisation. EU/EEA and Swiss nationals Registration is compulsory for European Union citizens. The procedure for this is IND Registration for EU citizens. You will require proof of GBA registration, health insurance and a valid passport and will also be interviewed about your purpose in the Netherlands.


The registration certificate is a sticker in your passport. Nationals of Bulgaria and Romania apply for a different permit: proof of lawful residence. If you have been a resident for five years or more you are eligible for the Permanent Residence for EU Citizens certificate that costs EUR 43. This applies also to nationals of Bulgaria and Romania and non-EU/EEA/ Swiss family members who have lived with you for five years. Non-EU/EEA/Swiss All non-EU/EEA/Swiss nationals require a residence permit and may also need an MVV (see below) to enter the Netherlands to stay for more than three months. Once registered with the GBA, you make an appointment with the IND to apply for a residence permit. MVV (Machtiging tot Voorlopig Verblijf) This is an authorisation for temporary stay that applies to migrants intending to stay longer than three months (90 days) which can only be applied for while you are outside the Netherlands. An examination covering Dutch language and culture (Civic Integration Abroad, EUR 350) is part of the procedure for some family-based MVVs but generally not for family members of expatriates. See for more details of the test. MVV costs vary according to the purpose of your stay. It is a sticker (valid for six months) placed in your passport. Who doesn’t need an MVV? When applying for a residence permit, there is no MVV requirement for nationals of Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, USA and Vatican City.


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Independent permits After three years in the Netherlands, a non-EU national who has a residence permit based on a relationship (a Dutch partner, for example), can apply for a permit in their own right (Residence Permit for Continued Residence). Costs (July 2011. See IND website for full list.) Stay with/join a family. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . EUR 1250 Additional family members. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . EUR 250 Temporary residence (no MVV). . . . . . . . . . . . . . EUR 750 Highly skilled migrant (no MVV) . . . . . . . . . . . . EUR 750 Extension . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . EUR 375 Continued Residence. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . EUR 331 Permanent Residence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . EUR 401 There are also ‘accelerated’ tariffs for students, scientific researchers, exchange programmes and au pairs of EUR 600. These rates are subject to frequent change, so it is best to refer to Civic Integration Act The inburgering (civic integration) legislation obliges those who want to stay with a family member who already resides on permanent grounds in the Netherlands to speak the language by passing the integration exam abroad. Some elementary knowledge of the Dutch culture and society is also required. The main exemption is EU citizens and their partners (also Switzerland, EEA, people under 18 and over 65). Passing the exam is a requirement for those who apply for permanent residence. Knowledge migrants and those in the Netherlands for work/study purposes are exempted while on temporary permits. Visit for more details. For information on taking the exam abroad, call +31 (0)70 3487575.

Highly skilled migrant scheme (Kennismigranten) This scheme is initiated by an employer authorised to admit highly skilled migrant applicants—there’s a complete list on the IND site—and it applies to jobs with a gross salary of over EUR 50,619 or EUR 37,121 for under 30s (2011). These salary bands don’t apply to teaching and academic positions which are also covered by the scheme. Footballers are explicitly excluded. A highly skilled migrant needs to get an MVV while staying abroad before applying for a residence permit in the Netherlands. With an MVV under this scheme, it is possible to start work straight away, while waiting for the residence permit to come through. (Some applicants, who don’t specifically need an MVV, also get an MVV for this reason.) The sponsoring employer deals with the residence and MVV application. Since December 2007, foreign students who have completed an HBO/WO (higher education) course can file an application with the IND to remain in the Netherlands for a year to look for a job. This is known as a zoekjaar and during this period they are not eligible for social benefits and must support themselves financially. During this year they do not need a separate work permit in order to work. If they find an appropriate job (minimum salary EUR 26,605 for new graduates) they can apply for residence under the highly skilled migrant scheme. Changing permits Most residence permits can be extended; with the exception of, for example, working holiday scheme permits and the special permit for a preparatory year for students. If you switch permits (residency based on a work permit to residency as a highly skilled migrant), you must apply for that permit again from the IND with supporting documentation. Identification All residents over the age of 14 must carry ID that shows their residence status (for EU/EER nationals, a passport).



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News and information for the international community

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Expat centres in the Netherlands Expatcenter Amsterdam World Trade Center Amsterdam F Tower | Strawinskylaan 39 (2nd floor) 1077 XW Amsterdam +31 (0)20 254 7999 (See page 7) expatcenter Expat Information Services Center P.J. Oudweg 4 (WTC AA) 1314 CH Almere +31 (0)36 548 50 20 (See page 84) Expat Center Brabant Currently serving Eindhoven and Tilburg Eindhoven Kennedyplein 200 | 5611 ZT Eindhoven +31 (0)40-2386777

Tilburg Nieuwlandstraat 34 | 5038 SN Tilburg +31 (0)40-2386777 Expat Centre Leiden Stationsweg 41, Leiden 2312 AT Leiden +31 (0)71 516 6005 Expatdesk Rotterdam World Trade Center Rotterdam Beursplein 37 | (Room 337/ 338) 3011 AA Rotterdam +31 (0)10 205 3749 / 010 205 2829 (See page 19)

International Service Desk Maastricht Region | Mosae Forum 10 6211 DW Maastricht +31 (0)43 350 40 40 The Hague International Centre City Hall (Atrium) | Spui 70 2511 BT The Hague +31 (0)70 3535043 (See page 23) Nijmegen Expatdesk Stadswinkel | Mariënburg 75 6511 Nijmegen +31 (0)24 3292408

Holland Gateway Schiphol-based hub for international business in the Netherlands WTC Schiphol Airport, Schiphol Boulevard 167 | 1118 BG Schiphol +31 (0)20 206 5920

Relocation service providers Lawyers Kroes Immigration Lawyers Keizergracht 62 | 1015CS Amsterdam +31 (0)20 520 6803 Noordam Advocatuur PO Box 75280 | 1070 AG Amsterdam +31 (0)20 689 8123 (See page 13) Relocation companies AV Personal Solutions-PS4YOU Stevinweg 5 | 2661 TN Bergschenhoek +31 (0)639405737 (See page 13)


Eurohome Relocation Services PO Box 16313 | 2500 BH The Hague +31 (0)70 301 1366 (See page 9) Nova Relocation Het Kleine Loo 414T | 2592 CK The Hague +31 (0)70 324 2524 (See page 11) PAS BMS Relocation Services Schoutenlaan 62 | 2215 ZH Voorhout +31 (0)252 347 876 (See page 3)

Tulip Expats Services visiting address: Malakkastraat 88 2585 SR The Hague +31 (0)70 2208156 (See page 13) (mobile) +31 (0)6 53727731 Moving companies Interdean International Relocation Albert Einsteinweg 12 2408 AR Alphen aan den Rijn +31 (0)172 447 979 Voerman International Wolga 12 | 2491 BJ The Hague +31 (0)70 301 1301 (See page 9)


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Special needs A wide array of organisations assist people with special needs in the Netherlands. The Netherlands has legislation protecting the rights of people with a physical, mental, emotional or sensory impairment that ensures equal access to social, economic and transport systems and full participation in society. In typical Dutch fashion, multiple ministries and organisations coordinate policy. Your doctor, city hall or one of the major advice centres (ANGO, CG-Raad or MEE) can point you in the right direction. Experienced expats can also provide invaluable advice and support; start a thread on a forum such as, if existing threads don’t cover your query. Transport Old Dutch cities with narrow, uneven streets and bikes parked everywhere are not brilliant terrain for those in wheelchairs, but access is improving. Help is available getting to/through Schiphol airport ( and on the railways (, and there’s a bureau for disabled travellers (030-235 7822). Your gemeente site will give local information, often in English, for the location of disabled parking places and other access issues. Or select zorg en welzijn and gehandicapten. Education Wherever possible, children are encouraged to attend mainstream primary schools under the ‘Going to school together’ policy. A quarter of Down’s syndrome children now attend mainstream education. Parents can also opt for a special school with a referral from a Regional Education Centre (REC). There are 320 special primary schools and 323 secondary schools. The language of instruction is Dutch, but children from a non-Dutch background can sometimes be taught in their mother tongue to help them settle in. You will find SEN teachers at international schools (public and private) where the language of instruction will be (mostly) English but you may

have to fund the assistant. Contact the school directly in the first instance. For higher education, ‘education and handicap’ is an expert centre ( Funding Many services (such as transport) are supported by government funding but there is also financial support for individual families: additional child benefit; healthcare and carer allowances; adaptations to home or transport. Search for ‘special needs’ on the government social welfare site Going out Wheelchair accessible hotels are selectable from the national tourist board ( and restaurants from several sites (such as, Good sources for sporty types include Stichting Resa ( or LINKS (mostly in Dutch) ANGO (General Dutch Disabled Organisation): MEE: Enter a postcode for local resources. CG-RAAD: for chronically sick and handicapped. Handilinks: is a useful portal with lots of links. Dutch Autism Network: Autism Association for Overseas Families: Deaf/Blind: Children:;



• • FA M I L I E S • •

Families Ranked number one in the world for children’s well-being according to research reported by UNICEF, the Netherlands is great for families. Recent immigration policies have had a significant impact on those wishing to bring their family to the Netherlands or join a partner. The costs are considerably higher for these migrants than for newcomers coming for work or study. If you come to the Netherlands to form or join a family, you may need to follow an integration programme. Check with the IND for the latest information and prices. Family members of expats living in or coming to the Netherlands with a residence permit for work or highly skilled migrants do not need the integration programme. EU/EEA/Swiss nationals and family members You need to register at the GBA. When you (plan to) reside for more than three months in the Netherlands, you are required after three months is up to register at the IND. You must ensure that all appropriate documentation (marriage certificates, birth certificates for you and your children etc.) is duly stamped with an apostille if this is relevant to your country and you have valid passports for all family members. The IND doesn’t charge for this. Bulgarian and Romanian citizens can submit an application for verification with community law at the IND. This applies to Romanian and Bulgarian nationals who would like to register independently in the Netherlands.or non-EU family members of EU/EEA/ Swiss nationals. This application is compulsory and costs EUR 43. EU/EEA/Swiss nationals and their family members do not need a work permit. This does not apply to Bulgarian and Romanian citizens. Visit or for more information. 16

Non-EU/EEA All non-EU/EEA /Swiss nationals must have their own residence permits. The family rate is EUR 1250 for the first applicant and EUR 250 for each family member. Simultaneous application as a family is cheaper. The employee pays EUR 600 and EUR 250 for each family member. These rates are subject to frequent change, so it is best to refer to Partners of highly skilled migrants do not need a work permit and will usually get a residence permit which is valid for a year; children get the same permit conditions as the highly skilled migrant. Significant conditions You must be able to prove you can support your family. The IND publishes a table of required income rates. If you, along with your family, come to the Netherlands as an employee, your contract will be sufficient to meet the requirements regardless of the length of employment. Au pairs Bringing an au pair to the Netherlands is restricted. One of the key rules is that the au pair cannot have worked for your family abroad previously, and if your au pair overstays you will be held responsible for repatriation costs. An au pair can stay in the Netherlands for one year for the purpose of cultural exchange and is not allowed to work outside of the au pair duties. The IND website ( has a separate section for au pairs who wish to come to the Netherlands as well as forms and guidelines for those who want to sponsor one. Below are some general facts; consult the IND website for more details. Au pair: Over 18 and under 26; unmarried with no dependents; only light domestic duties to assist the host family with a maximum of hours: 8/day, 30/ week, 2 days off, expenses max. EUR 340 per month; appropriate health insurance, TB test, if necessary; no previous Dutch residence permit. Sponsor: Sufficient income to support family and au pair; signature on sponsor document; daily schedule for au pair. Childcare (kinderopvang) It is never too early to register your child for daycare; for instance, when you are pregnant. Governmental policy (in English) can be found on the ministry site



THE HOLLAND HANDBOOK® 2011–2012 The Indispensable Guide for Expatriates in the Netherlands 256 full color pages of dutch history and culture • employment law and work place rights • legal, tax and financial matters • transport and infrastructure • daily life in the netherlands • children, including childcare and schooling • healthcare and the medical system • the education system • leisure and social activities

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• • FA M I L I E S • •

Options Kinderdagverblijf: Public daycare for children aged 6 weeks to 4 years. Centres are generally open from 8.00 to18.00. Find a local one at www.kinderopvang. net. Urban areas have a shortage so expect long waiting lists. Private daycare: In large cities there are private facilities with longer (up to 24 hour) opening hours, which are considerably more expensive, as well as international nurseries and pre-school establishments. Pre-school/playgroups (peuterspeelzalen): Activities and play for 2 to 4 year olds. This is more often a social thing rather than proper daycare but—if you can get a place—it might be sufficient if you intend to work part-time. Some employers have their own daycare arrangements or local daycare places. After-school care: Some daycare centres provide this (for children up to 12) but it is also provided by buitenschoolse opvang (BSO) and naschoolse opvang establishments (also on Child benefit At the moment, anyone living or working in the Netherlands is entitled to the kinderbijslag, a quarterly contribution to the cost of raising children from the Sociale Verzerkerings Bank (SVB). The amount depends on the number of children in your household, special needs etc. but is not incomerelated. It can be paid into an international bank account (but this will take longer). Find information in six languages and a list of local offices at Childcare allowance At the moment, anyone living or working in the Netherlands is entitled to the childcare allowance (kinderopvangtoeslag). This is a contribution to the cost of childcare, whether for a childcare centre, afterschool care or a private childminder (gastouder). The allowance can reduce childcare costs by up to 90 percent, depending on income and number of children. Calculate your own benefit via Contact the tax office for details. In 2010, changes to the Dutch Childcare Act, included the childcare allowance being reduced for private childminders and cancelled for live-in childminders. 18

Private childminders now need to show proof of formal training and/or experience, and first aid training is mandatory. The Ministry of OCW has published new tables for childcare allowance for 2011. For all income groups, the rates have been lowere d by approximately five percent which means that parents will need to pay slightly more. From 1 January 2012, the Dutch Social Affairs Ministry will be imposing stricter rules on the granting of childcare allowances. To claim allowances parents must be in regular employment. Furthermore, retrospective applications for allowances will be reduced from a maximum of one year to one month. Parents will not be able to claim allowances if they look after each others’ children and parents will not be able to claim more than 230 hours per child, per month for all types of care. Top tips for families Get out and about! There are many playgrounds tucked between the houses, streets and shops but the Dutch transport system makes it easy to explore further afield. Good sites for finding more about children’s activities include (choose Jeugd from the genres) and ‘out with children’ ( Dutch publisher Kidsgids ( publishes a number of guides in Dutch (and one in English) that will give you lots of ideas. • Fun for free. Visit a children’s farm or kinderboerderij. These city farms can be found everywhere and often have activities on Wednesday afternoons. • Cultural fun. Dutch museums often have audio guides for kids available in several languages. At science museums, such as NEMO in Amsterdam or the new Corpus museum near Den Haag, interactivity is the watchword. • Hit the beach. The Netherlands has 451 kilometres of (windy!) coastline accessible by car, bike, boat and public transport. • Theme parks–Dutch style. De Efteling is a huge park offering (scary/exciting) rides for older kids and a Disney-esque experience with folkloric touches for younger ones. • Top scoff. Who could resist poffertjes? Tiny puffed up pancakes served with butter and tons of powdered sugar.


EXPATDESK ROTTERDAM Rotterdam is a hospitable international city. The city welcomes you as an expat with open arms. When you come to live, work or recreate in Rotterdam, we offer tailormade information. The Expatdesk Rotterdam is the place for all your questions.



Housing Finding the perfect home is not easy in the densely populated Netherlands. The Dutch housing market is characterised by low owner-occupancy and the biggest social housing sector in Europe. In the past, governments have promoted house ownership with some success using financial incentives such as making mortgage interest taxdeductible. Just over half of the housing stock is now owner-occupied, more in rural areas than major cities. In the past year, more houses have become available in the private rental sector as many people put their houses on the rental market, waiting for a better sellers’ market and minimising their double housing expenses. On 1 July 2011, the Dutch government decided on a regulation to boost the Dutch housing market. The transfer tax will be reduced for a period of one year from six percent to two percent. RENT OR BUY? The usual advice offered is that if you are here for more than three to five years and are paying a significant rent (say EUR 1,500 a month or more), you are better off buying. Buyers who may wish to retain the property and rent it out in the future should make sure that there is a scenario whereby—given the restrictive verordening (Regulation) in Amsterdam—the legal rent that they are permitted to charge covers costs. The main incentive for potential buyers is that mortgage interest payments are tax-deductible if the house is your main residence. However, there is ongoing political discussion regarding phasing this out.


Obviously, this can’t be done overnight and, with a right wing government in office, this issue has been shelved for the time being. Expats are advised to buy only if they will be in the Netherlands for three years minimum mainly due to the recovery of start-up costs involved in buying property (around six percent of the purchase price). But, with an increase in interest rates, recovery could take longer. If you are only here for a couple of years, renting is likely your best option. Contract costs are fixed, repairs and maintenance are the landlord’s headache and contracts can be ended if you need to return home. FIRST, FIND YOUR HOME Properties to rent (te huur) and to buy (te koop) are in newspapers and agency websites including, the national database of the Nederlandse Vereniging van Makelaars (NVM), the Dutch Association of Estate agents. There are many agencies specialising in expats (be wary of those which charge a registration fee) which can steer a path through the local market. The downside of using an agency is the commission or finder’s fee. A month’s rent (plus 19 percent tax) is the going rate. On the other hand, by not using a reputable agent you run the risk of renting an illegal apartment, being removed by a handhavings action, not recovering your deposit, being bound by an unreasonable contract and paying too much. Most agents who list their rentals at do not charge tenants a brokerage commission since they charge their fee to landlords. If you’re baffled by real estate terminology, try a website like www.pararius. com with searches in six languages. However, be aware that lists unscreened properties and there is no verification that the listing agent has actually seen them. In urban areas, rentals start at EUR 900 upwards, although most people will not qualify for these properties as they either earn too much or have no required link with Greater Amsterdam. You can search for English language postings on



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Renting USING AN AGENT A good agent should be able to tell you about the market, city, price and quality of housing (as well as restrictions that apply to expats), arrange visits for you, negotiate with landlords and provide a contract in English. Make sure they have a good choice of properties on their books. There are several sectors: • Distribution sector: These are properties that have restrictions on them such as income level, place of work, and visa type/status. These restrictions are applied by the local authority and which all intermediaries should be aware of and also apply. • Non-regulated sectors: These are termed the free (vrije) sector and the liberal (geliberaliseerde) sector. Most expats end up living in accommodation in these sectors as there are fewer restrictions. • Housing corporations: Rent-controlled property, mainly owned by housing corporations. While these properties are often considered to be the best value, there are many restrictions regarding who may live in them, and waiting lists can be several years long. RULES AND REGULATIONS The Dutch rental system for housing, tenants and agents is intensely regulated, but not necessarily reflective of current market conditions. The points system is the framework within which base rents (kale huur) are determined. However, the reality is there are too few rental properties, which puts upwards pressure on some types of accommodation • Dutch base-rents are calculated using a ‘points system’ (woningwaarderingsstelsel), which scores everything from the floor space and heating system to the size of the kitchen sink. See for more information on the House Value Rating System. • The government regulates base-rents up to EUR 640.62 a month (2010) and anything over this price is in the ‘liberalised’ sector


(assuming it has the correct points/price ratio). Signed the contract but now think you are paying too much? Contact a local huurteam. • Some landlords expect your employer to act as a guarantor. • Generally income and residence conditions for cheaper housing apply, and you need an economic tie to the region. • Be cautious of sublets when searching solo. You may have problems registering with the GBA and be evicted with little notice. Costs and contracts Your rental contract should cover: • Status. Is the property furnished, semifurnished or empty? There may be an inventory and/or photos. • Duration of lease (e.g. one year). • Notice period and stipulations about how notice should be provided. Service charges. Check “all-in”. What portion is rent? • Utilities. How are they apportioned? A diplomatic clause if you have to leave because your employer has relocated you elsewhere. You need to be clear on when and how this clause can be used to allow you to escape your rental obligations. Expect to pay one or two months’ rent as deposit, a month’s rent in advance to the landlord and a month’s rent plus 19 percent tax as commission if you use an agent. AGENT TIPS (PERFECT HOUSING) • Discuss your needs explicitly. • Select one, at most two, agencies: “we all talk to each other.” • Arrange viewings three weeks before you need to move in, no earlier. And have vision: “You may have to look through the crap of the current tenant strewn randomly throughout every room.” • Make your mind up. You like the place, you agree terms in writing, and you take it. • Be ready to move quickly.


FIND YOUR NEW HOME WITH OUR SERVICE! Koops Rental Agency is a dynamic real estate agency with offices in Haarlem and Amstelveen/Amsterdam South specialized in renting and letting accomodation in these regions. Our team of young professionals manage the complete mediation process. For more information, please contact one of our offices. koops Rental agency Haarlem Gedempte Oude Gracht 152A 2011 GX HAARLEM T. +31 (0)23-5329817

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Renting OTHER OPTIONS If the agent brokerage commission seems one financial burden too many, there are other ways to find property but you will need to put in lots of legwork and don’t expect the monthly rental price to be much cheaper. Most of all, you will need luck, and timing is important. If you start your search too early (say a couple of months before you need to move in) good properties won’t be available. Every avenue is worth exploring. Post a notice in the housing section of expat forums, Dutch internet sites with housing or reply to postings from private landlords. Steer clear of anyone asking for a cash payment or commission. Given the competition for housing, you need to be able to respond to adverts quickly and, if you can, take someone along with you when viewing. If you see a flat advertised in an estate agency window or in a newspaper with an estate agent contact number, make it clear you are only interested in that property and you shouldn’t have to pay a commission but you will still have to pay a deposit, share utilities etc. There may be room for negotiation. Always check that you can register with the GBA and check the contract. The standard NVM (Dutch estate agent association) contract has an English version for comparison.

anonymous than hotels. If you are looking for a private apartment for a couple of months, the websites aimed at tourists are also worth scouring and they have a wide choice of accommodation including property in the choicest of locations, which will be priced accordingly. New short-stay rules in Amsterdam mean that it is ‘illegal’ to rent the majority of properties for less than six months. The only exceptions are where a property has been explicitly exempted or where the landlord has a short-stay permit. Despite this, there are many properties listed for less than six-month stays which are illegal due to new rules. LIVING ON THE WATER Tempted by life on a houseboat or Dutch barge? The houseboat market is a very close-knit community, so personal references will go a long way. There are many rules and regulations regarding permits and mooring conditions and, if you want to buy a boat, it will usually (certainly for newcomers) be a cash transaction. Track down a specialist agent to steer you through the procedures. Useful sites include and (which includes all kinds of boats for sale).

STUDENTS Universities try their best to help students with housing and don’t play down the shortage issues. There are non-commercial agencies for students, housing corporations and antikraak (anti-squat) agencies that rent out accommodation. Check the city housing department (Dienst Wonen) for more information about low-priced housing. There are often links to other useful room (kamer) internet sites and other sources. Students should be aware that not all institutions of study qualify them for the economic link test. If you study at a non-approved institution, then there is no link, meaning that you will not qualify (legally anyway) for the cheaper properties. SHORTER-TERM HOUSING Many cities in the Netherlands have ‘aparthotels’ for corporate clients that can sometimes be less



WE MAKE YOU FEEL RIGHT AT HOME. Looking for an apartment in Amsterdam? G&D&Y Housing takes complete and personal care of your relocation. Professionally run by former expats itself, G&D&Y Housing has years of experience in making you feel right at home. We offer: • Free search, based on your own personal preferences, • One point of access to extensive network of all real state agents, • Personal representation, • Off-hours flexibility, • No cure, no pay.

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Buying It is common to appoint a makelaar to do much of the legwork: tracking down appropriate houses, arranging viewings, suggesting areas where there’s room for negotiation and advising on potential pitfalls. Some properties come with specific regulations; some expats have bought property only to find they don’t have permission (woonvergunning) to live in it. As with renting, find a makelaar you trust, who understands your needs and let them get on with it. The agent’s commission will be one or two percent of the purchase price. You can hunt on Funda ( to get ideas of prices in particular areas or scour the pages of newspaper housing supplements. Proximity to work, schools and amenities all play their part. Be aware of the costs involved in renovating older property to current building standards or the quality required for renting. For leasehold properties, check out the ground rents. Tax is also levied on the deemed rental value (WOZ) set every year. See for useful information in English.

We found the property ourselves but it was our makelaar who helped us negotiate a great price. His commission was worth every cent. C.Y., American, Amsterdam

ARRANGING A MORTGAGE (HYPOTHEEK) There are many different types of mortgage and the tax issues are complex. See our Finance section. The general conditions for a mortgage are: • You have a permanent residence permit. • You are in full-time employment or have a continuation statement from your employer. • If self-employed or a contractor, you have certified accounts for the last three years and forecasts for the following year.


COSTS The buyer generally pays costs (kk - kosten koper) but some costs are tax-deductible. Allow for around six percent on top of the purchase price. Once your offer has been accepted, the property should come off the market. Gazumping is illegal in the Netherlands. Make sure your finances are in place first (i.e. that a mortgage lender will lend you up to X amount). You can go to any bank for a mortgage offer, but you can also contact a mortgage broker. A mortgage broker can offer you several different options from different banks, so you can choose the best deal. You can also ask a mortgage broker for a second opinion on an offer from a bank. On completion, both parties sign a transfer contract (akte van levering) and the notaris informs the Land Registry ( The whole process can take just two to three months. Pre-sale agreement (koopovereenkomst). Prepared by vendor’s agent or lawyer (notaris) with 72-hour cooling off period. It will include details of when the 10 percent deposit should be paid. Valuation (taxatierapport). Designed for mortgage purposes; not a survey. Transfer or conveyancing tax (overdrachtsbelasting). Two percent of the purchase price (reduced from the former six percent by the government for one year, backdated to 15 June 2011 to boost housing market.). Deed of transfer (transportakte). Mortgage contract (hypotheekakte). Closing fee for bank (afsluitprovisie). Agent commission (makelaarscourtage). Generally one to two percent, if applicable. A full structural survey is sensible; possibly fees for translation, plus 19 percent VAT on the total. Updated in cooperation with Finsens, Expat Mortgages and Perfect housing.




Key attractions for residents, workers and businesses are the proximity to Schiphol airport and access to international schools. The International School of Amsterdam is based here with over 950 children from over 50 countries but pupils at Amsterdam’s other international schools (such as the British School) often live in Amstelveen. The area is flanked by Amsterdam’s largest park, the Amsterdamse Bos and the CoBrA Museum adds a dash of culture.

Amstelveen is a leafy, prosperous, familyoriented suburb close to Amsterdam, which has a significant population of international residents. The largest group comes from Japan and the area is increasingly popular with expats from India and China who have displaced the British, Americans and Germans in the top four. Prices are slightly cheaper than Amsterdam but there’s more family-style housing with gardens (70 percent built after 1960) and excellent shopping and local amenities, particularly for sporty types. The extra space means parking is not a problem and many homes have garages.

I’m glad I’m living in Amstelveen; it’s greener than Amsterdam, but you still have the advantage of living next to a big city. G.B., Latvian, Amstelveen

Amstelveen’s population is booming, with a total of 85,000 citizens predicted for 2020. Another 3,800 houses will likely be built between now and 2020, with more than half on the edge of the Westwijk area.

HET OUDE DORP ‘The Old Village’ is the ancient hub of the original settlement (1278) with the Amsterdamse Bos to the west and the town centre to the east. There’s a mix of older detached houses, farms, terraced houses and apartments. WESTWIJK Westwijk is a relatively new area of Amstelveen which is modern and spacious and lined with small canals. It is an area of detached homes that offer a modicum of privacy and thus attracts premium prices. ELSRIJK Directly north of the town centre, this is considered classic Amstelveen with its wide streets, huge trees and post-war housing next to small parks. There are terraces, semidetached houses and villas. PATRIMONIUM Running alongside the Amsterdamse Bos, there’s a mix of housing and in the Prinsessenbuurt some detached houses and wide, open spaces. Population: 80,724 ( International residents: 10,000 ‘Total non-Dutch’ (12.5 percent) International schools: International School of Amsterdam: Links:





Oosterpark and Flevopark. This area is increasingly popular with middle-income families,

Beautiful Amsterdam is a highly prized location with a diverse international population (over 170 nationalities) with people from Morocco, Turkey, United Kingdom and Germany topping the list of non-Dutch citizens. There are many distinct neighbourhoods densely packed together and the competition for housing everywhere is fierce. Amsterdam is expected to have a population of 835,000 by 2030. This growth will be made possible by new residential developments: IJburg and Zeeburgereiland in Oost and Bongerd and Overhoeks in Noord.

ZEEBURG Behind Centraal Station lies a very different Amsterdam, but Zeeburg (which comprises Oostelijk Havengebeid, the Indische Buurt and the new islands of IJburg) offers architecturally interesting surroundings in one of Amsterdam’s hottest development areas. A little less familyfriendly but a growing area.

CENTRE AND CANALS Apartments veer towards the snug rather than spacious in the centre and stairs are steep. Prices on the canal ring (grachtengordel) lined with 17th and 18th century houses are similarly vertiginous. JORDAAN This district just west of the grachtengordel is an exceptionally desirable neighbourhood with beautiful canals and quirky, narrow streets occupied by a bohemian mixture of artists, yuppies and expats, with a core of working-class locals. Prices have exploded in recent years but in terms of price per square metre, it offers poor value and accommodation is often cramped.

Population: 767,773 ( International residents: ‘Non-Western foreigners’: 34.9 percent ‘Western foreigners’: 14.9 percent International schools: Amsterdam International Community School: British School of Amsterdam: International School Amsterdam (in Amstelveen): The Japanese School of Amsterdam: Lycée Français Vincent van Gogh: Links: (English site)

SOUTH (OUD-ZUID) Oud-Zuid is a popular location for expats with easy access to international schools, the Vondelpark and spacious, privately-owned housing. There’s a leafy, gracious-living feel and cafes and shopping streets to match. WEST (OUD-WEST) Across the park, housing is cheaper (and smaller) but Oud-West is another area very popular with expats, particularly districts like Helmersbuurt which is a little more urban and edgy than Oud-Zuid and not as expensive for buyers. AMSTERDAM EAST (OOST) Amsterdam East, comprising Oosterpark, Dapperbuurt and Indische neighbourhood is a vibrant up-and-coming multicultural area with its various distinct neighbourhoods undergoing development. Amsterdam East is notable for its famous outdoor market Dappermarkt and parks 28


In House of Bols, the Cocktail & Genever experience, visitors can discover the world’s oldest distilled spirit brand Lucas Bols, in Amsterdam since 1575. House of Bols is an experience into the world of cocktails and bartending, as well as a discovery of the traditional Dutch drink: Genever.




The experience is a spectacular combination of taste, smell, visuals, sounds and films; where Dutch history meets contemporary design. A lot of attention in House of Bols is focused on the glamorous world of bartending and the self-guided tour ends with a Bols cocktail of your choice in the mirror bar. House of Bols offers a unique variety of different activities to extend your tour. Surprise your friends, INCLUD family or colleagues with a culinary liqueur tasting, a cocktail workshop or celebrate your special occasions in the mirror bar of the House of Bols with delicious Bols cocktails. A


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The Hague (Den Haag)

land and a top location where prices are premium and parking places problematic.

Den Haag is the third most populated city in the Netherlands, the capital of South Holland, the seat of government, the home of the Dutch royal family and an outpost for most of the world’s human rights organisations including the International Court of Justice. Many embassies are based here and with numerous international schools, it’s a comfortable place for relocation. The city has its own hospitality centre for expat residents and information on the city website ( is available in eight languages. Its official name is ‘s-Gravenhage (literally, the count’s hedge) dating back to the 13th century and the Count of Holland’s hunting lodge which was based in a village called Die Hague. History, ritual and tradition play their part in this city, with terrific museums and cultural events. Smart areas nearby like Rijswijk and Voorburg have a sprinkling of Michelin-starred restaurants, though Den Haag itself is most famous for Indonesian cuisine. The gated villas of Wassenaar house diplomats and upmarket expats, as well as members of the House of Orange. If you want something less genteel, head for the seaside town of Scheveningen with its casino and long, sandy beach. ARCHIPELBUURT/ WILLEMSPARK A city centre area of beautiful 19th century houses and apartments full of character. Broad streets and big town houses and villas. This is embassy 30

STATENQUARTIER/ DUINOORD A similar feel to Archipel, with charming, spacious, elegant homes. A solid investment all-round. BENOORDENHOUT A green, quiet location but still close to the motorway and other transport links with woodlands to the north and east. Lots of 1930s style accommodation and space for cars. Population: 489,000 ( International residents: Non-Dutch: 48 percent International schools: The American School of the Hague:; The British School of the Netherlands:; Deutsche Internationale Schule Den Haag; HSV/The Hague International Primary School:; The International School of the Hague:; Lycée français Vincent van Gogh:; Polish School in The Hague: European School in the Hague A new European School opens on 1 September 2012, with two nursery groups and one first grade class. Other primary school grades will be added in subsequent years. A secondary school programme will start in 2014. Links:



The housing portal of The Hague Sonar Appartementen is one of the smaller and therefore more personal Real Estate Agents in The Hague and suburbs. We are specialised in the rental of fully & partly furnished apartments & houses to expats, contractors and companies, for short (no more hotels!) and long periods. We are proud of our individual service and personal guidance. We offer extensive services to our clients (individual or companies) and stay your contact for the whole period you are in The Hague. Not only can you contact us for housing matters, but for any question that you might have during your stay with us. Feel free to visit our website or contact us, so we may assist you in your house hunt.


“We search where no one has searched, we provide service, like no one has provided before”

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+31 (0)70 350 5080


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• Fully and partly funished rentals • Short term and long term • Extensive services for expats and companies • Sea view apartments – city apartments and much more


NORTH (WOENSEL) North of the centre is divided by wide, treelined boulevards. Housing is mostly new-build with apartments and terraced houses for all budgets. Woensel South is cheaper and the market is great for ethnic shopping. EAST Situated around the Karpendonkse Lake and Eckart Forest, the area has a range of housing including some exclusive detached properties.

Eindhoven In 2011, Eindhoven was dubbed the smartest city in the world by the Intelligent Community Forum ICF in New York. This doesn’t mean that the citizens have the world’s highest IQs but rather that the region makes best use of ICT and broadband internet. It’s not surprising that the region accounts for around 40 percent of R&D investments in the Netherlands and is officially referred to as ‘Brainport’ ( Until the arrival of Philips in 1891, Eindhoven was not much more than a collection of villages. Because of 19th century urban planning decisions, there are no longer canals and pre1940 architecture was destroyed by war-time bombing. But over the years things have changed immensely and for the better. Thanks to hi-tech multinational employers, there’s a large community of expats. Eindhoven also has a world-class Technical University, and the Design Academy Eindhoven. Well-connected, Eindhoven railway station is close to the centre, and the airport is about 3 km away. CENTRE Accommodation is mainly in new (pricey) apartments. The central district includes the international schools (attended by children from Den Bosch and Tilburg) and PSV football stadium.


SOUTH The Philips High-Tech Campus is situated at Gestel along with the International Primary School, the Open-air Museum and the Tongelreep International Swimming Complex. VILLAGES The villages surrounding Eindhoven’s centre are popular with expats. International schools are still within cycling distance and the sense of community is greater. Nuenen was home to Vincent van Gogh and the older centre stretches around a leafy village green. Veldhoven is virtually a south-west suburb (the other side of the A2 from Eindhoven). Housing is modern in a range of price bands. More rural retreats can be found in Waalre, which is surrounded by large areas of forest. The twin towns of Son en Breugel are usually mentioned in a single breath. Son has a pleasant old centre but the majority of housing is located in newer, greener (and more expensive) districts. Popular with expats.

Population: 213,809 ( International residents: 29 percent International schools: Regional International School (4-12) and The International Secondary School Eindhoven: Links: •






Utrecht Arriving in Utrecht by train, you emerge into the country’s largest (but arguably, most unlovely) shopping mall, but don’t let that put you off. Utrecht is a beautiful city with a rich history and culture. With its unusual sunken canals and cellar bars, the medieval centre is a delightful place to live. “A pleasant mix of urban excitement and small-town charm,” according to local convention centre Jaarbeurs. The vibe gets particularly lively at night due to the huge (70,000) student population. Utrecht is an attractive destination for international companies and enterprise because it has the most highly-educated labour force in the Netherlands. However, house-hunting here can be even harder than in Amsterdam. To deal with the shortage, the city is in the midst of expansion projects such as in Leidsche Rijn, and around the railway station to the west. No changes will be made to the historic city centre, and the station area will form a natural extension of the central district, bringing together the areas to the east and west of the railway tracks. Transport links are excellent, particularly by train. Utrecht is HQ for NS (Dutch National Railways) and Utrecht Centraal is the biggest and busiest train station in the Netherlands. The centre is prime territory, particularly the museum quarter and Wilhelminapark with its well-maintained 1930s houses. It is an easy commute to Amsterdam (25 minutes by train) and the service is regular (five trains an hour). IJSSELSTEIN Twenty minutes down the motorway is the popular suburb of IJsselstein complete with a car-free medieval city centre and castle (now a museum). There are fast train connections to Utrecht and Nieuwegein and good cultural amenities. Nature lovers can enjoy the beautiful green heart of the Netherlands with bike trails through lovely countryside and along the river Lek.


LEIDSCHE RIJN Officially part of the city of Utrecht, Leidsche Rijn consists of the two small villages of Vleuten and Meern, which were recently annexed and includes the entire agricultural area between those villages and Utrecht itself. Some 30,000 houses and new space for industry and companies are being built in Leidsche Rijn. In effect, this means that a medium-sized town, which will house 80,000 people, is being built out of nothing. Great effort is being made to create an environmentally friendly town with high quality housing. An underground motorway is the pride of the project. NIEUWEGEIN Lying 7 km south of Utrecht, Nieuwegein is a new town created in 1971 to cope with the expanding population of Utrecht. There are a variety of housing styles from classic Dutch brick homes to modern high-rises and, if you need to drive to work, easy access to nearby motorways (A2, A12 and A27). To the east is Houten, a fast-developing town, where a third of the population is under 20. Population: 307,081 ( International residents: ‘Non-Western foreigners’: 20 percent ‘Western foreigners’: 10 percent International schools: Utrecht will start with international schooling in 2012. Links:

Havaa Apartments B.V. P.O. Box 467 • 3500AL Utrecht I. E. T. +31 (0)30 2317100



centre on the southern bank of the Nieuw Maas; great for executives wanting to get to work quickly in the mornings. Like London’s Docklands, it’s a mix of renovated old warehouses and smaller, newer housing and apartments. Upmarket urban prices apply.

Rotterdam Rotterdam is one of the most dynamic, booming cities in the Netherlands, with a growing expat population and a refreshing lack of tourists. Most of the city was destroyed by WWII bombs and, rather than rebuilding in traditional style like many Dutch cities, Rotterdam has been radically modernised.

The first city I saw was Rotterdam. It looked so modern. I had expected canals and cobbled streets. Laila Borrie, Indian, Rotterdam

CENTRE The city centre offers characteristic buildings dating back to about 1900 alongside minimalist new build in various guises: simple buildings with shared staircases, spacious villas and modern apartments. KRALINGEN If you’re young, single or ‘dinky’ (two incomes, no children), the neighbourhood of Kralingen is likely to appeal. Fifteen minutes east of the centre, Kralingen’s multi-million-euro mansions stand cheek by jowl with student digs and council housing. Near a lake and woods, the area has a very international feel and a huge variety of affordable to upmarket housing. KOP VAN ZUID Also favoured by young expats, Kop van Zuid (‘Head of South’) is the trendy extension of the city

HILLEGERSBERG Rotterdam’s jewel is Hillegersberg, a leafy suburb on the northeast of the city. The area escaped wartime bombing, leaving the old village centre and elegant residential streets intact. Homes in Hillegersberg are expensive but enduringly popular, sought after by the Dutch and expats alike. It is home to several international schools. Hillegersberg is only 10 minutes from the city centre, thanks to the excellent bus and tram network, or 20 minutes by car. Conversely, a few minutes on your bike brings you out of the city to meadows or the Rotte river. Hillegersberg is located around two fairsized lakes, where there is endless boating and sailing in the summer, and skating in the winter. OTHER SUBURBS Schiebroek (west of Hillegersberg), and the newer Prinsenland and Ommoord (in the northeast) are becoming favoured expat sites. For those looking to rent rather than buy, it is relatively easy to find family accommodation at reasonable prices in Ommoord. Population: 605,543 (Centre for Research and Statistics) International residents: ‘Non-Western foreigners’: 37 percent ‘Western foreigners’: 11 percent International schools: Rotterdam International Secondary School: American International School of Rotterdam: De Blijberg (primary school with international department): Japanese School of Rotterdam: Links: (some information in English) • (guide to moving to and settling in Rotterdam) (photographic impressions of Rotterdam)




Accommodation agencies RENTAL AGENCIES/ REAL ESTATE Havaa Apartments B.V. Apartments Plompetorengracht 11A Studios & Penthouse Korte Jansstraat 2A | Utrecht +31 (0)302317100 (See page 34) JLG Real Estate Sarphatipark 42 1073 CZ Amsterdam +31 (0)20 330 0031 Koops Makelaardij Gedempte Oude Gracht 152a 2011 GX Haarlem +31 (0)23 532 9817 (See page 23) Amsterdamseweg 576 1181 BZ Amstelveen +31 (0)20 8203676 Mie-Lan Kok Makelaardij o/g BV J.H. Weissenbruchweg 19 2102 AE Heemstede +31 (0)23 547 5941

Stoit Groep Vestdijk, 22 5611 CC Eindhoven +31 (0)88 555 5000 (See page 33)

KKAmsterdam President Kennedylaan 91 1079 MD Amsterdam +31 (0)20 771 4780 (See page 24)

RENTAL AGENCIES Amsterdam Beautiful Property Rentals Prinsengracht 683 sous 1016 JT Amsterdam +31 (0)20 330 7338 (See page 25)

Renthouse International BV Nederhoven 19-21 | 1083 AM Amsterdam +31 (0)20 644 8751 (See page 21)

Amsterdam House Hunting Hannie Schaft Straat 32 1183 BV Amsterdam +31 (0)653 108 884 (See page 28) HOtel Serviced Apartments Htel Amstelveen Laan van de Helende Meesters 421 | 1186 AL Amstelveen Htel Amsterdam Teilingen 45 | 1082 JP Amsterdam +31 (0)20 426 6400

Sonar Appartementen Gevers Deynootweg 126 2586 BP The Hague +31 (0)70 350 5080 (See page 31) Vesteda Amsterdam:. . . . 020 524 6900 Arnhem:. . . . . . . . . . 026 355 0400 Eindhoven: . . . . . 040 296 9350 The Hague:. . . . . 070 313 1800 Maastricht:. . . . . . 043 328 4140 Rotterdam: . . . . . 010 404 4611 (See back cover)

(See inside front cover)

Miscellaneous Personal services AV Personal SolutionsPS4YOU Stevinweg 5 2661 TN Bergschenhoek +31 (0)639405737 (See page 13) Drink House of Bols Cocktail & Genever Experience +31 (0)20 570 8575 (See page 29)

Events (corporate & private) Lotus Events Dorine Kat-Stronck Dorpsstraat 868 1566 EZ Assendelft +31 (0)75 772 0039 (See page 37) +31 (0)623166471 Shopping Maasmechelen Village (Chic outlet shopping) (See page 5)


G&D&Y Housing Henrick de Keijserstraat 26-I 1073 TH Amsterdam /fax: +31 (0)20 470 47 49 (See page 25) Smiling Faces Proveniersplein 16A-1 3033 EC Rotterdam +31 (0)10 4659797 (See page 37) Carla H Studio Wagenweg 16 2012 Haarlem +31 (0)23 531 70 15 (See page 71)


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Finance Money matters can be complex in the Netherlands. The Dutch tax system is anything but simple. The Netherlands is home to some of the world’s banking giants. Before you open a Dutch bank account, you should have no problem obtaining cash from an overseas account using an ATM or geldautomaat. They dispense money (in several languages) and accept a wide range of debit and credit cards. The amount you can withdraw and any extra service charges will depend on what kind of account you have and where it is. There should be no charge if you are using a card from one of the 17 eurozone countries (Britain is not one of them). If you want to exchange cash, good rates can usually be found at the Post Office (postkantoor) or a GWK exchange office. Other banks and bureaus mostly don’t offer such good rates and/or higher commission. The Netherlands has had the euro since 2002 and paper denominations are EUR 5, 10, 20, 50,100, 200 and 500 though you may encounter problems using anything bigger than a EUR 50 note. The coins, with an image of Queen Beatrix on the back, come in denominations of EUR 1, EUR 2, and 5, 10, 20 and 50 eurocents. Coins for 1 and 2 eurocents have been discontinued but prices will be quoted exactly, for instance, as EUR 37, 21, but will be rounded up to the nearest 5 eurocents for giving change. On bank statements, the exact figure will appear.

Opening a Dutch bank account The main Dutch banks are: ABN-AMRO. . . . . ING Bank . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Rabobank. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . SNS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ABN-AMRO has the most information in English online and a special expat package but you should generally have no problem conducting business in English. Postbank merged with ING in 2009. Documents legally required: • Passport and/or residence permit. • Burgerservicenummer (BSN). You’ll get this when you register with the GBA or direct from the tax office. • Proof of address (bevolkingsregister extract, utility bill, rental contract etc.). If you want to open anything other than a savings only account you will also need: • Evidence of income such as an employment contract or payslip. The credit rating of new clients may be checked with the Central Credit Registration Office (BKR). An account can be opened in your name and your partner’s (they will also need identity documents). A private bank account is a privérekening. Various cards are on offer but the bankpas is standard. You must pick up the pass personally (with ID). A fourdigit PIN code (pincode) will be posted separately but you can change this at a bank. When you pay by pin, you swipe your card through the machine and punch in your four-digit number. It’s the most common method of payment used in shops, supermarkets, bars and restaurants.

All major credit cards are accepted but not everywhere. Hotels, restaurants, large department stores and tourist attractions present no problem, but you can’t use a credit card in the supermarket. Cash is still widely used, even for large transactions. But the most common method of payment is pinnen, using a debit card plus PIN code.



WELCOME TO THE NETHERLANDS Banking at ABN AMRO is like banking at home‌ Even easier For more information, please visit


Chipknip/Chippas/Chippen Next to many ATMs is a Chipknip machine where you can load your card with ’virtual cash’. The money is immediately deducted from your account and ‘sits’ on your card until it is used; if you lose the card though, the money is also lost, just like cash. Chipknip was intended as a fast, convenient way of paying for small transactions since, unlike with pinnen payments, you don’t need a PIN. However, the Chipknip system is gradually being phased out as a pinpas is increasingly used for small transactions. Credit cards Commercial banks usually have an arrangement with Mastercard or VISA but you will generally need to be a customer for a while before getting one. A credit card will be more expensive than other bank cards and you will be encouraged to pay off the card swiftly and consistently. Internet banking Online banking is common in the Netherlands. You will usually be issued with a calculator-sized device into which you slot your bankpas and enter your PIN, then exchange numbers with the login system to gain authorised access to your account. You can pay bills directly or set up direct debits (automatische overschrijving) for regular payments. There is usually information in English but you can also get step-by-step tuition at the bank. Acceptgiro A common method for paying bills, this is a yellow payment slip attached to the bottom of an invoice into which you enter your bank details and sign. You can pay online into the account on the slip or ‘post’ it at the bank, where there’s a box for them. Offshore banking The term ’offshore banking‘ originates from the Channel Islands (Jersey, Guernsey etc.) but is generally used today to refer to any tax haven (such as the Netherlands Antilles). Essentially, it is any account held in a bank located outside your country of residence in a low tax jurisdiction offering certain financial benefits for expatriates who may wish to reduce their tax liability.


Accounts can be held in a variety of currencies and there’s a diverse range of savings and investment products backed up by a high degree of confidentiality. Even though the bank is not located in the country of residence, you still have to report your savings and investments to the Dutch tax authorities. Dutch tax residents pay tax on their worldwide savings and investments, which also includes offshore accounts. However, expats who have the 30 percent ruling can opt to be treated as a nonresident tax payer for their savings and investments. With this option, taxation on all the savings and investments can be avoided. Pensions, investments and savings can all be arranged through a licensed independent financial adviser (IFA) or a bank. Interest rates for savings can be fixed or variable; some banks’ websites provide tools to predict investment returns. The type of fund and level of appropriate risk will obviously depend on individual circumstances, and it is advisable to consult an adviser to ascertain your ‘Risk Profile’. In the current economic climate, there are additional risks to depositing money offshore: recent bank mergers, differing protection schemes and deposits held in a different country to the bank’s service centre can mean investors are unclear about how safe their deposits are. Financial advisor Craig Welsh of Spectrum IFA Group in Amsterdam urges expats to ask these basic questions: Which bank is my money in; who owns the bank; what is its credit worthiness; and which jurisdiction does it fall under? Regulation is also important when it comes to investments and savings. It has become more important than ever to work with a trusted, independent financial advisor who is experienced with assessing the tax position for expats in the Netherlands.


Labour law

Relocaton services

Social coverage




Social security

Crossing borders

Dutch legislation

Home country

Expat Services







Health insurance Labour contracts Working permit

Pension schemes

Income tax Legislation Payroll administration


In today’s increasingly mobile business, companies are identifying more cross-border opportunities. In addressing these opportunities, one essential key to success is skilled and motivated staff. Our consultants aim to relieve expatriates and their employers of the stress associated with initiating and operating abroad. Only a consultant familiar with all aspects can assist you. Baker Tilly Berk Rotterdam Contact: Patrick van Rooij Telephone: +31 (0) 10 253 59 00 Email:



INCOME Tax The Dutch tax system, especially for an expat, is anything but simple. The Netherlands is a socially conscious country, and you can expect to pay a substantial proportion (up to 52 percent) of your salary to the taxman. But your personal situation (non-working partner, for example), type of work, residency status and other assets and earnings (particularly from abroad) affect your position considerably. In many cases, you will still be filing a tax return in your home country and will be entering the land of double taxation agreements. There are many expat financial specialists who can complete your tax forms for you or provide other consultancy services. Other useful information can be found on the Expatica website (Ask the Expert) where financial experts answer readers’ questions. The Ministry of Finance publish a guide (in English) to the Dutch Taxation System ( The tax office is the Belastingdienst ( and their website has some information in English. Tax returns are submitted digitally, due by 1 April. If you are not able to file before 1 April, you can request an extension. To file the return, you will need a digital signature or DigiD ( or the services of a tax consultant. The DigiD is essentially a personal login that you use with all government agencies enabling some transactions (paying parking fines, applying for permits etc.) to be done over the internet. Authentication requirements may vary according to the sensitivity of information in transit. Particularly in the year of arrival and the year of departure, filing a tax return may result in a substantial rebate. Tax returns can be completed retrospectively for a period of 5 years. Residency status If you have demonstrable ties to the Netherlands (for instance, you live here, you work here, your family is based here) you are generally regarded as a ‘resident taxpayer’ as from day one. If you live abroad but receive income that is taxable in 42

the Netherlands you are generally a ‘nonresident taxpayer’. Non-residents can also apply to be treated as residents for tax purposes (in order to gain access to Dutch deductible items) and an additional category of partial nonresident taxpayers covers those eligible for the so-called 30 percent ruling (see page 44). As a resident taxpayer you are taxed on your assets worldwide. The Box system Different categories of income are treated differently for tax purposes on the tax return and there are three types of taxable income: Box 1: Income from profits, employment and home ownership. This includes wages, pensions, social benefits, company car, and WOZ value of owner-occupied property (max. 52 percent) Box 2: Income from substantial shareholding (5 percent minimum holding -25 percent rate) Box 3: Taxable income from savings and investments. Income from property for instance, owned but not lived in as a main residence, is taxed here: not the actual income but the value of the asset (fictitious return: 4 percent taxed at 30 percent = 1.2 percent). Calculating tax: the amount of tax payable is calculated by applying the various tax rates to the various taxable incomes in the boxes. The amount calculated is then reduced by one or more tax credits. Tax credits and allowances Everyone is entitled to a general tax credit (EUR 1,987 in 2011) and may be additionally entitled to other credits. The employed person’s tax credit is age and income-related (average cases EUR 1,497 in 2011); the single parent’s tax credit (EUR 931 plus at maximum EUR 1,523 under additional conditions in 2011). The general tax credit comprises an income and social security element (to which you are only entitled if you have compulsory Dutch social security coverage). Your employer will take these into account when deducting wage withholding tax but not any other personal circumstances. You claim other allowances and potential refunds when you file your tax return or request a provisional refund.


E x p e r i e n c e d a d v i s o rs , p e rs o n a l a n d p ra c ti c a l a p p ro a c h a n d a u n i q u e p r i c e - q u a l i t y ra ti o fo r e m p l o y e r a n d e m p l o y e e .

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Where possible, partners are taxed individually but, when only one partner works, the other partner is generally entitled to a refund of general tax credit and deductible expenditure can be apportioned to take advantage of tax credits. Please note that the conditions for unmarried couples to qualify as a partner have been changed as of 2011, so check with a tax advisor. 30 percent ruling This is a tax incentive for employees, recruited from abroad who bring specific skills to the Netherlands. It acknowledges the additional expenses incurred by expats (extraterritorial costs) by allowing the employer to grant a tax-free lump sum to cover these costs up to a maximum of 30 percent of the sum of wages and allowances. Applications (completed by both employer and employee) should be made to the Belastingdienst Limburg Kantoor Buitenland in Heerlen. The Dutch government will amend the qualifying conditions for the 30 percent ruling as of January 2012 to be more relevant to the target group. Mortgages and tax implications When arranging a mortgage it is important to look at the whole picture: interest, cost of life insurance, savings plan and investment accounts. If this sounds complicated, it is. If you are intending to sublet, you may need to pay off a substantial part (say 30 percent) of the mortgage to get permission from the lender. When your interest rate comes up for renewal, it is important to check that it is still competitive.


Tax implications include: • Interest payments are tax-deductible if the property is your primary residence and the loan is used for acquisition or improvement of the house. • There is no capital gains tax in the Netherlands but increases in the value may impact your mortgage relief if and when you use the profits to buy another house in the Netherlands. • Tax is levied on the deemed rental value of the house determined by the local authority. • Expenses in financing the purchase of a house are tax-deductible. Finsens ( publish a useful guide to Dutch mortgages in English. Insurance You can arrange insurance through your employer or a private insurance company. (See the national association of insurers at Aside from obligatory medical insurance (see the Health section), you may need specific insurance if you are self-employed (and pregnant while selfemployed) although there may be an applicable welfare benefit. House and home Homeowners or house insurance is known as woonhuisverzekering. A standard policy covers fire, storm, flood and theft. In terms of flood, there is a distinction between rainwater flooding and damage (covered) and water damage due to a breakdown in the dykes, for example (not covered). Houseboat dwellers come under separate conditions. Contents An annual household contents policy starts at about EUR 20 depending on what is covered. This insurance is known as inboedelverzekering. Higher priced items such as art, jewellery or antiques will need to be individually valued and insured separately.



INTERNATIONAL TAX ADVICE Witlox International Tax Advice is an independant tax consultancy company working in the area of expat taxes and international tax issues since 2001.

So when you are looking for a professional in expat taxes, we can be at your service. We can assist you in filing for:

30% ruling • Dutch income taxes • US income taxes Adres: Hescheweg 79, 5342 CG Oss Tel: 0412-644898 • Mob: 06-29135799 • Email:



Drivers Third-party insurance is required by law. An all risk verzekering covers you and your car against fire, theft and damage. Life insurance Known as levensverzekering, it is similar to schemes in most other countries. Belastingdienst The website for the tax authority has extensive information in English and downloadable forms and brochures. There are separate offices for resident and non-resident taxpayers. Email queries are not possible. TaxLine: 0800 0543 This is the central information line for residents (only Dutch spoken) Mon-Thurs 0800-2000 Fri 0800-1700 Information line for non-resident tax issues 055-538 5385 or +31-555 385 385

This covers businesses and individuals based abroad who are liable for Dutch tax and also those classified as non-residents for tax purposes. Customs Has extensive information in English regarding duties payable and procedures for individuals and businesses. If you move to the Netherlands from outside the EU or if you wish to bring your car, enquire about the exemption for moving household goods (in Dutch on the website). DigiD If you want to file your taxes electronically, or indeed any other official form (local taxes etc.) you need a DigiD registration number. The website has an English section. Government The Ministry of Finance site provides details (in English) of the Dutch Government’s financial policies including the 30 percent facility.

Financial and tax advisors ABN AMRO 0900 00 24 (Netherlands) +31 (0)10 241 1720 (Outside the Netherlands) (See page 39)

Baker Tilly Berk Stavorenweg 6 2803 PT Gouda +31 (0)182 563 200 (See page 41)

Djent Administratie Postbus 273 2990 AG Barendrecht +31 (0)180 642 780 (See page 47)

Expatax Plompetorengracht 6 3512 CC Utrecht +31 (0)30 246 8536 (See page 45)

Finsens Herengracht 136 1015 BV Amsterdam +31 (0)20 623 44 47 J.C. Suurmond & zn. Jupiter 65 2685 LV Poeldijk +31 (0)174 244 725 www.jcsuurmond.nel (See page 47) Tax Globalizers Bluestone Beemdstraat 5 5653 MA Eindhoven +31 (0)40 800 1940 (See page 43) Total Compliance & Outsource (TCO) (Amsterdam region) Ondernemingsweg 228 1422 DZ Uithoorn Postbus 4 1420 AA Uithoom +31 (0)297 513 313

Total Compliance & Outsource (TCO) (Utrecht region) Tolakkerweg 217a Postbus 14 3738 JM Maartensdijk +31 (0)346 217 910 SAS for Expats Pelgrimspoort 1 2311 RP Leiden +31 (0)615894744 (See page 43)

Witlox International Tax Advice Hescheweg 79 5342 CG Oss +31 (0)412 644 898 (See page 45)

(See page 47) 46



We are able to support

Your guide through the Dutch tax labyrinth

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WWW.DJENT.NL Telephone 0031 (0) 180 642 780 Fax 0031 (0) 180 642 789 PO Box 273, 2990 AG Barendrecht The Netherlands



y 25

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Tax advisors Utrecht region Tolakkerweg 217A 3738 JM Maartensdijk Postbus 14 3738 ZL Maartensdijk Tel. +31 346 217910 Fax. +31 346 217911

Amsterdam region Ondernemingsweg 228 1422 DZ Uithoorn Postbus 4 1420 AA Uithoorn Tel. +31 297 513313 Fax. +31 297 513315

• • E D U C AT I O N • •


By learning good Dutch they will connect to their new world more easily. You certainly won’t be the only non-Dutch parent in the playground.

The Netherlands is committed to choice in education. Compulsory education under Dutch law applies to children of all nationalities from five to 18 years who are residing in the Netherlands. The school system is, however, quite unusual. Choosing a school There’s a commitment to educational choice in the Netherlands. Schools following particular religious or pedagogic principles have had equal state funding to public schools since 1917 and there are now twice as many privately run as publicly run schools. International education is available at both Dutch and private schools throughout the country. Local or international? Your finances, location, nationality, the age of your children, and how long you are likely to stay in the Netherlands are the main factors you should take into account when selecting a school. Many companies reimburse international school fees as part of a relocation package, and the reimbursements could be exempt from income tax (though not for all schools). While teenagers might appreciate the educational and social continuity provided by an international school, younger children might get a greater sense of belonging by going to a local school.


Applying for a school Register your child as soon as possible at the school of your choice. Technically, public schools are not allowed to refuse admission. Popular schools, however, have waiting lists (you can register a child from the age of three) and the municipality can assign catchment areas based on postcodes. All schools have brochures and websites where they announce ‘open days’ when you can visit the school. Most children start at about four years—98 percent start at three years and 10 months when they come in for five orientation days before they turn four). Children are leerplichtig (under a learning obligation or leerplicht) from five years for 12 years full-time education and one or two years part-time (until the attainment of a diploma). School inspection reports can be viewed online (this applies to state schools and Dutch international schools only) at select schoolwijzer and enter the name of the school and/or town. The visual representation of green (good) and red (not good) blobs will at least give you some idea of performance. In the Pisa/OECD international rankings for 15-year-olds in 56 countries (published in December 2007), the Netherlands was “above average” for both mathematics (5th) and reading (10th).


Rotterdam International Secondary School

Bentincklaan 294, 3039 KK Rotterdam +31 (0) 10 890 7744 ,,

International School Hilversum Alberdingk Thijm



The International School Hilversum is an internationally oriented school with over two decades of experience in international and bi-lingual education. We are a small, friendly yet professional international community of 370 students and 50 staff members. • Coordinated programmes of study for 4-19 year olds and: - International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme - International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme - International Baccalaureate Diplome Programme • Transition to and from other national and international systems • Easy access by public transportation • Many extra-curricular activities • Cultural exchange and excursion programmes • An outstanding succes rate (over 95% pass rate) International School Hilversum ‘Alberdingk Thijm’ Emmastraat 56, 1213 AL Hilversum. The Netherlands Tel: +31 (0)35 672 99 31 Fax: +31 (0)35 672 99 39 Email:

• • E D U C AT I O N • •

Types of school Source schools at, or via your city’s website (onderwijs = education). Public (openbare) schools State-run schools (non-denominational) provide secular education, but they can also offer teaching around specific philosophic or pedagogic principles (Montessori, Steiner etc.). Public schools are governed by the municipal council or a public legal entity or foundation set up by the council. Private schools Most private schools are denominational (Roman Catholic, Protestant, Islamic, Hindu) or follow specific philosophic principles, as above. Private schools are governed by a board or the foundation that set them up. Financially, they have the same status as public schools and are basically free, although all schools ask for a small contribution for things such as school trips. Special schools The national ‘Going to school together’ policy is designed to enable as many children as possible to be educated in mainstream schools, but there are schools for children with special needs and also special needs teachers at Dutch schools. Lighthouse Special Education provides extensive assistance in the English language. Entry is by referral. Costs Primary and secondary state education is free, with parents being asked to contribute a ‘voluntary’ nominal amount, which varies from school to school with additional payments for lengthier school trips and lunchtime supervision (tussenschoolse opvang) and after-school care (naschoolse opvang) which the school is supposed to provide or sub-contract. Education policy The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science set quality standards, attainment targets and social objectives but individual schools ‘fill in the details’ of the curriculum and budget allocation.


Education policy includes combating school segregation, integrating special needs children, tackling early school leaving and addressing teacher shortage. Dutch Primary education (primair onderwijs or basisonderwijs) There are eight years of primary schooling. Most children start at four years in group one and move up a group every year. Different age groups may be in the same class. In ‘Group 8’ (in February of each year), children in 85 percent of primary schools (basisscholen) sit the CITO test ( which will determine their next level of education. CITO tests are also used in some schools to measure the literacy and numeracy of younger children. The government sets attainment targets in six curriculum areas: Dutch, English (taught in Groups 7 and 8), arithmetic and mathematics, social and environmental studies, creative expression and sports and movement. New targets include citizenship, technology and cultural education.

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Prinses Irenestraat 59


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We are a unique Primary and Secondary school located in Amsterdam, offering International education in English. We are pleased to offer: • The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) for children aged 16 - 19 years • The International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (IBMYP) for children aged 11 - 15 years • The International Primary Curriculum (IPC) for children aged 4 - 10 years

• 3 hours of Dutch per week • Additional English lessons (EAL) • Activities organised by the AICS and the Dutch community • Affordable tuition, Primary School (€ 4200); Secondary School (€ 5100 - 6100)

The IBDP is an internationally recognised pre-university course of study that leads to the acquisition of the IB Diploma, offering entrance into universities and institutions of further education worldwide. Mission statement The AICS facilitates high quality, accessible, community-based international learning for students of all nationalities living in The Netherlands. Vision statement To be a community where learning is at the heart of everything we do.

w w w . a i c s . e s p r i t s c h o l e n . n l

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DUTCH SECONDARY EDUCATION (voortgezet onderwijs) - From 12 years. Four main diplomas: VMBO (a further four years of school). Prep school for vocational secondary education. A VMBO-T diploma can lead onto secondary vocational education (MBO). HAVO (five years). Senior general secondary education. Provides entrance to hogescholen or ‘vocational universities’ (HBO Hoger beroepsonderwijs). VWO (six years). Preparation for academic studies at a research university (WO Wetenschappelijk Onderwijs). VWO schools are called Athenaeum, Gymnasium and/ or Lyceum. In the past, the various forms of secondary education were provided in different schools but now there are broader combined schools allowing movement between diploma programmes.

Just under a third of secondary schools are run by the public authority. English is a compulsory subject. VMBO-T pupils study one modern language and HAVO/VWO pupils at least two. A Gymnasium (VWO) programme will also include Greek and/or Latin. Other core areas include mathematics, humanities, arts and sciences. In the first few years all pupils study the same subjects (to different academic levels), which is known as the basisvorming. This is followed by a second stage (tweede fase) in which specialist profiles are selected. School holidays Major holidays for state schools are set nationally with staggered start/finish times between three regions. Private international school holidays can be different. (For school holidays per region, check out:

MBO. Secondary Vocational Education. If a student has successfully completed the Dutch VMBO-t or the international middle school programmes, the IGCSE or IB-MYP, but is not admitted to the IB-Diploma Programme, the MBO (three to four years) might be a good option. In the Netherlands students can follow several MBO-programmes taught in the English language as well.



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The International School of The Hague We provide: Innovative Education from 4-18 International Primary Curriculum International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme and much more...

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International schools

Bilingual education There are 99 schools with a VWO bilingual stream and 20 with HAVO. Only students that master the Dutch language at an appropriate level will be admitted. (

These provide education for global nomad students of any nationality. Dutch International Primary Schools (DIPS) and Dutch International Secondary Schools (DISS) provide international education at a reasonable fee because of a subsidy from the Dutch government. They are designed for non-Dutch families living in the Netherlands for a limited time, and Dutch families returning from, or preparing for, an overseas assignment. These schools teach either the International Primary Curriculum (4 to 11 years; the IGCSE (11 to 16 years) or the International Baccalaureate programmes at primary (4 to 11 years) and middle years’ level (11 to 16 years). All DISS teach the IB-Diploma programme (16 to 18 years).

What I most appreciate (and a big factor as to why we are still here) is the education system. My youngest son has special needs, and although the usual Dutch red tape was difficult to deal with in the beginning, it really is a fantastic school. Francesca Oosterbaan-Clarke, British, Zutphen

International schools (Private Sector) These schools teach the national curriculum of a specific country (UK, US, French, German, Japanese) or an international curriculum as described above. Facilities (swimming pools, football pitches) are often spectacular compared to the Dutch schools. For about half of the school population at all international schools, English is not the first language.

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Higher education Third-level education, as it is known in the Netherlands, is offered at vocational level (HBO, at a ‘university of applied sciences’ or hogeschool) and at academic level (WO, at a university or universiteit). Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees are available at both HBO and WO institutions but you can only do a PhD at a (WO) university. There’s a huge range of courses taught in English (around 1,300). You can see what’s available and where on the Nuffic (Netherlands organisation for international cooperation in higher education) website ( which includes extensive information about the Dutch higher education system. Institutions are either government funded or government approved. There are also privately financed institutions that are not recognised. The accreditation organisation is NVAO ( HBO Around 370,000 students are enrolled at 44 ‘universities of applied sciences’ or hogescholen, which provide general courses or specific study in one of seven sectors: agriculture, engineering and technology, economics and business administration, healthcare, fine and performing arts, education/ teacher training and social welfare. For more information, visit WO There are 14 research universities with around 205,000 students involved in intensive academic studies. For more information, visit, and

Costs Fees depend on your nationality and age. There’s an EU fee for EU/EEA nationals, which is set by the Dutch government. Otherwise you pay the institutional fee (three or four times higher). The fees at private institutions can be substantially higher. How to apply There are nearly 50,000 international students studying in the Netherlands—Germany is top of the international student list—and information on fees, qualifications and study programmes is widely available in English. Students should first contact the institution offering the course, which will specify what education qualifications are required for admission. A quota system is in place for oversubscribed courses; places are allocated by lottery. At www.studielink. nl you can apply online for third-level courses which are subsidised by the Dutch Ministry of Education. University programmes consist of a Bachelor’s or undergraduate phase lasting three years and a Master’s or graduate phase lasting one to two years. As many Dutch universities have partner institutions in other countries, students can study part of their course abroad. Qualification accreditation Diplomas and certificates awarded overseas need to be accredited by the Dutch authorities. Often the school where you have applied takes care of this. If not, you can check IDW Internationale Diplomawaardering ( for information. Check with the institute to see if costs are involved. Non-native English speakers are required to pass an English language test at a specified level, most commonly the TOEFL, IELTS or Cambridge Test.



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International schools ALKMAAR AREA The European School Molenweidtje 5 1862 BC Bergen NH 072 589 0109

ALMERE Primary International Dept. at Letterland A. Roland Holststraat 58 1321 RX Almere 036 536 7240

ARNHEM/ NIJMEGEN Arnhem International School Primary Dept. at Dr. Aletta Jacobsschool Slochterenweg 27 6835 CD Arnhem 026 323 0729

Secondary Dept. at International School Almere Heliumweg 61 1362 JA Almere 036 760 0750

Secondary Dept. at Lorentz Groningensingel 1245 6835 HZ Arnhem 026 320 0110

AMSTERDAM AREA Amsterdam International Community School (AICS) Prinses Irenestraat 59-61 1077 WV Amsterdam 020 577 1240 (See page 51) British School of Amsterdam Nursery & Infant School Anthonie van Dijckstraat 1 1077 ME Amsterdam Lower Junior School Jan van Eijckstraat 21 1077 LG Amsterdam Upper School Fred. Roeskestraat 94a 1076 ED Amsterdam 020 679 7840 International School Amsterdam Sportlaan 45 1180 AX Amstelveen 020 347 1111 (See page 51) Annexe du Lycée Français Vincent van Gogh Rustenburgerstraat 246 1073 GK Amsterdam 020 644 6507


The Japanese School of Amsterdam Karel Klinkenbergstraat 137, 1061 AL Amsterdam 020 611 8136

BREDA, covering Zeeland and West Brabant International School Breda Mendelssohnlaan 1 4837 CV Breda +31 6417 29984 BRUNSSUM (Limburg) Afnorth International School Ferdinand Bolstraat 1 6445 EE Brunssum 045 527 8220 EERDE (near Zwolle) International School Eerde Kasteellaan 1 7731 PJ Ommen 0529 451 452 EINDHOVEN International School Eindhoven Regional International School (Primary) Humperdincklaan 4 5654 PA Eindhoven 040 251 9437 The International Secondary School Eindhoven Venetiëstraat 43 5632 RM Eindhoven 040 242 6835

ENSCHEDE International School Twente (IST) IST Primary Dept. at Prinseschool Daalweg 32, 7541 AN Enschede 053 431 1173 or 065 052 0570 (Astrid Hofstede) IST Secondary Dept. at the Stedelijk Stedekijk Lyceum, Loc. Zuid, Tiemeister 20 7541 WG Enschede Contact: Els Weir 053 482 1151 international-school GRONINGEN International School Groningen Primary Dept. at Groningse Schoolvereniging Sweelincklaan 4 9722 JV Groningen 050 527 0818 06 2073 8551 Secondary Dept. at St. Maartens College P.O. Box 6105 9702 HC Groningen Rijksstraatweg 24 9752 AE Haren 050 534 0084 THE HAGUE AREA American School of The Hague (also IB Diploma) Rijksstraatweg 200 2241 BX Wassenaar 070 512 1060 The British School in the Netherlands (BSN) Junior Schools Vrouw Avenweg 640 2493 The Hague Vlaskamp 19 2592 AA The Hague Diamanthorst 16 2592 GH The Hague 070 315 4077


• • E D U C AT I O N • •

Senior School (also IB Diploma) Jan van Hooflaan 3 2252 BG Voorschoten 071 560 2222 Deutsche Schule (German School) Van Bleiswijkstraat 125 2582 LB Den Haag 070 354 9454 European School of The Hague A new European School opens on 1 September 2012, with two nursery groups and one first grade class. Other primary school grades will be added in subsequent years. A secondary school programme will start in 2014. Haagsche Schoolvereniging Admissions: +31 (0)70 318 4965 International Primary Department Nassaulaan 26 2514 JT Den Haag 070 363 8531 Koningin Sophielaan 24a 2595 TG Den Haag Van Nijenrodestraat 16 2597 RM Den Haag 070 328 1441 The International School of The Hague Wijndaelerduin 1 2554 BX The Hague Primary Dept. 070 338 4567 Secondary Dept. 070 328 1450 (See page 53) Lighthouse Special Education [Part of HSV: Haagsche Schoolvereniging] Amalia van Solmstraat 155 2595 TA Den Haag +31 (0)70 33 55 698 Lycée Français Vincent van Gogh Scheveningseweg 237 2584 AA Den Haag 070 306 6923 070 306 6920

The Indonesian Embassy School in the Netherlands Rijksstraatweg 679 2245 CB Wassenaar 070 517 8875 Polish International School(s) See for different locations in NL. HILVERSUM Violenschool International Department (Primary) Rembrandtlaan 30 1213 BH Hilversum Frans Halslaan 57A 1213 BK Hilversum 035 621 6053 International School Hilversum Alberdingk Thijm Emmastraat 56 1213 AL Hilversum 035 672 9931 (See page 49) LEIDEN AREA Leiden International Primary School International Dept. at Elckerlyc Montessori Klimopzoom 41 2353 RE Leiderdorp 071 589 6861

ROTTERDAM De Blijberg – International Primary Department Graaf Florisstraat 56 3021 CJ Rotterdam 010 448 2266 Rotterdam International Secondary School (RISS) Bentincklaan 294 3039 KK Rotterdam 010 890 7745 (See page 49) American International School of Rotterdam Verhulstlaan 21 3055 WJ Rotterdam 010 422 5351 The Japanese School of Rotterdam Verhulstlaan 19 3055 WJ Rotterdam 010 422 1211 UTRECHT Utrecht will start with international education in 2012. List composed and updated by EDUCAIDE, International Education Solution House (

Het Rijnlands Lyceum International Secondary Apollolaan 1 2341 BA Oegstgeest 071 519 3555 MAASTRICHT United World College Maastricht Primary and Secondary School Nijverheidsweg 25 (Primary school is 25 a) 6227 AL Maastricht Primary School: 043 356 1100 Secondary School: 043 367 4666

The Windmill P.O. Box 1022 2260 BA Leidschaam +31 (0)70 327 20 88 (See page 50) WWW.EXPATICA.COM | THE NETHERLANDS EXPAT SURVIVAL GUIDE


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Education links Ministry of Education, Culture and Science: Lots of information in English. Educaide: The Professional Helpdesk for International Education in the Netherlands: +31 (0)65 598 8998 (contact: Willemijn van Oppen-Stuyt). (

Eurydice: Detailed information on the Dutch education system. Colo: Portal for vocational training. IB-Groep: Information about studying and funding. IDW: Non-Dutch diploma evaluation.

Nuffic: Everything you need to know about higher education in the Netherlands. Masters: SIO: Foundation for International Education in the Netherlands. Studielink: Apply online.

Business education Amsterdam Business School Plantage Muidergracht 12 1018 TV Amsterdam +31 (0)20 525 9111/4084 (See page 53) Amsterdam Fashion Institute Mauritsekade 11, 1091 GC Amsterdam +31 (0)20 595 4545 Bureau Zuidema Olmenlaan 4 Postbus 127 3830 AC Leusden +31 (0)33 434 58 00 (See page 54)


European University Ganduxer 70 08021 Barcelona - Spain (See page 49) Nyenrode Business Universiteit Straatweg 25, 3621 BG Breukelen +31 (0)34 6291211 Rotterdam School of Management Erasmus University PO Box 1738 3000 DR Rotterdam +31 (0)10 408 2222 (See inside back cover)

University of Liverpool Vlerick Leuven Guide Management School Ghent Campus Reep 1, 9000 Ghent Leuven Campus Philipssite 5 - Bus 8 3001 Leuven +32 (0)9 210 98 99 Webster University Boommarkt 1, 2311 EA Leiden +31 (0)71 516 8000 (See page 3) Walden University


• • E D U C AT I O N • •

Spreekt u Nederlands?

Institutions targeting business and professional users can often provide cross-cultural training programmes as well although there’s no shortage of ‘Dealing with the Dutch’ type literature online or in the bookshops.

Dutch has been compared to a disease of the throat rather than a language. A sloppy pronunciation of seaside town Scheveningen was a way to catch out spies in the war (so the legend goes). Whatever your attitude to languages, learning Dutch is a crucial step to integration in the Netherlands and part of the immigration and integration (inburgering) procedure. Europeans, although not obliged to follow this procedure, can do the language classes on a voluntary basis. Visit your local town hall to see where you fit in. Hurry up though, as of 1 January 2012, immigrants will have to pay for these courses, perhaps with some exceptions as dictated by the gemeente (district council). (See for firsthand recollections of doing the test.)

Some organisations fund language lessons as part of relocation, which might also include lessons for partners. If you discover that you’re being sent to ‘the nuns’, fear not (indeed rejoice): the Sisters no longer teach at the Regina Coeli Institute in Vught, but the intense, individual Dutch language programmes are renowned.

Despite what you might hear from fellow pupils in your evening classes, people will reply in Dutch, not English, if you start a conversation. Persist! In no time at all, you’ll be appreciating the heady mishmash that is ‘Dunglish’ ( or checking out the latest thoughts from Dutch language pedants ( Joining a class is a friendly and supportive way to learn a new language, and because the makeup of classes is often international, you may well pick up linguistic niceties in several other languages as well. There’s a wide choice of commercial language courses on offer to suit individual needs and budgets, with courses ranging from ‘Dutch for Au Pairs’ to more intensive NT2 (Nederlands als Tweede Taal) classes. It is always worth asking about average class sizes. The smaller the class size (generally), the higher the fee. The language school can’t always predict class size in advance so you may be lucky, particularly if you’re learning in Amsterdam or Den Haag where competition between schools is high. Universities often provide beginner Dutch classes for non-students, although, as you would expect, a certain level of academic ability is required to keep up. These classes can progress quite fast. Homework is an essential part of the learning process. But watching TV or DVDs with Dutch subtitles is also extremely helpful.

Tips for learning Dutch • Read with attention: Start with Dutch newspaper headlines and try to figure out what they mean. Later on, read articles and check out the verbs in the article. What tense is being used? What is the infinitive? Is it a regular or irregular verb? • Listen with attention: Listen to the news, first in your own language and then switch to the Dutch channel. You can use teletekst 888 for Dutch subtitles, or watch the news online via • Learn new words: Write new words on a post-its and place them strategically around your space. Note if nouns are ‘het’ or ‘de’ words. • Practice whenever you can: In emails, sms or spoken conversations use the Dutch you know, however little. If you have a Dutch partner, agree that you speak in Dutch only at least 10 minutes a day. Or that your partner speaks Dutch and you answer in your mother tongue. • Use the internet: There are plenty of useful and free sites you can use to help you progress. Here are a few: an online course with videos and exercises. information and exercises in Dutch grammar. Dutch videos with Dutch subtitles. video clips on a variety of topics with text to read while you’re listening. Source: NedLes (



• • E D U C AT I O N • •

Language schools BSN Language Centre Vrouw Avenweg 640 2493 WZ The Hague 070 315 4080

Leer NT2 Verlengde Fortlaan 15 1412 CV Naarden 0644370624 (See page 60)

Get social on Expatica Join the new online Expatica Community at and network with the international community. We’ve worked hard over the past few months to develop a more user-friendly community site for the Expatica community.

Talencoach Keizersgracht 8 1015 CN Amsterdam 020 331 3738 (See page 60)

The new platform features better profiles and connectivity with other Expatica members, an improved forum, plus groups, events, instant messaging and much more. Try it out, make friends and have fun!

Get published! Share your perspective on living and working in the Netherlands via our Expat Voices section. All you have to do is complete one of the online interviews on the Questionnaire section of our Life in the Netherlands channel and add photos! ( questionnaires_list.html) We will contact you before publishing. Choose from our general questionnaire, or those focussed on expat artists, writers, students or entrepreneurs. Check out what other expats have to say on our Expat Voices section: ( voices_list.html).


Dutch as second language LIESBETH VAN BALLEGOOIJEN Verlengde Fortlaan 15, 1412CW Naarden Tel: +31 (0) 644370624




Employment Expats are an essential component of the Dutch workforce. Office life has its cultural quirks. The Dutch workforce (7.86 million people) is internationally oriented, highly educated and multilingual. Unemployment is relatively low at 5.5 percent, and workers’ rights are strongly protected. The demand for highly skilled workers remains high and there are incentives for international employees such as the 30 percent ruling (a tax benefit scheme) and fast-track highly skilled migrants programme (no separate work permit application required). According to figures from the immigration department (www., in 2010 there were 4,720 applications for a regular provisional resident permit (MVV) under this scheme and 5,880 applications for regular resident permits from highly skilled migrants. Work permits If you are a non-EU/EEA/Swiss national and want to work in the Netherlands, in most cases your employer will need to apply for a work permit (tewerkstellingsvergunning or TWV). There are a number of exceptions, some of which are listed below. The permit is specific to the job and employer, and is issued for a specific employee and for a specified period (up to three years). Work permits and residency status are intimately connected. The IND site (www. has detailed information on coming to the Netherlands to work as an employee or on a self-employed basis, as well as the financial and other conditions that need to be met. Once your employer has been issued a work permit, you can start to work: You must have applied for a residence permit but you do not have to wait for the IND’s decision on your application. If the residence permit application is rejected though, the work permit is no longer valid. The consequences of illegal working can be severe for both employer and employee.


Who doesn’t need a work permit? The main exceptions are: • EU/EEA/Swiss nationals (except Bulgarians and Romanians who need a work permit for a year and the ‘proof of lawful residence’ permit). • Highly skilled migrants. • Self-employed workers (their eligibility for residency is assessed by the IND). • Workers on short assignment (performers, musicians, guest lecturers, journalists etc.). • Those with a residence permit or passport sticker stating ‘Arbeid vrij toegestaan. TWV is niet vereist’ (free to work, no work permit is required).

The mentality that makes part-time work arrangements for women almost a norm puzzles me because it’s in conflict with the stereotype of the Dutch culture being a very progressive one. Aliye Kurt-Suedhoff, Turkish-Canadian, Amsterdam

Partners: who can work? If you are allowed to work in the Netherlands then generally your spouse/partner and children are also allowed to work. How quickly you can start work depends on the status of your working partner (EU/EER resident, knowledge migrant etc.), whether you have an MVV, and whether applications for residency for you and your partner are filed at the same time (advisable). You may need to wait until you have received your residence permit before you can start to work.



Work permit through employer Work permits are initiated by employers who apply to the UWV WERKbedrijf (www.werk. nl) with supporting evidence, such as copies of advertisements, postings on the Internet, statements from agencies. Your employer has to show that the position cannot be occupied by an EU/EEA national. This supporting evidence is not necessary in case of in-company transfers, internships and most scientific jobs. For a company to apply for a work permit, the candidate must be aged between 18 and 45. If an MVV is required for a particular applicant, the employer can start the application process at the IND (‘a request for recommendation for an MVV’). After a positive response, the applicant applies for the MVV in his own country and applies for a residence permit once in the Netherlands. After three years of employment with a work permit and a residence permit in the Netherlands, the employee is free on the labour market. Employers can employ you without needing a separate work permit. In case your residence document is being renewed your new labour market position will be mentioned as ‘Arbeid vrij toegestaan. TWV is niet vereist’. Changing jobs Any changes in your work or partnership status must be reported to the IND. When applying to extend a residence permit, your circumstances will be assessed again in reference to the original application. If you change jobs, the same rules apply as for the first permit you were granted. So if you worked with a separate work permit, your new employer needs a new work permit as well. If you worked as a highly skilled migrant, your new employer needs to be eligible to apply for residence permits based on the highly skilled migrant scheme.

The main exception is that, after three years working on any given residence permit which allowed you to work (such as for (marriage) partners or labour with a work permit, excepting highly skilled migrants), you no longer need a separate work permit. After three years of legal stay as a highly skilled migrant, you can change your purpose of stay into ‘labour’ which allows you to work without a work permit and without meeting the requirements for the highly skilled migrants scheme. If you have a highly skilled migrant residence permit and you change jobs, you do not need to change your permit. Your new employer will need to send proof to the IND that you still meet the requirements of the highly skilled migrant scheme and send in your contract to prove that you still earn the required salary. It is essential to apply for a new resident permit before the old one expires. If you wait for more than two years after the expiry date, you will most probably have to leave the country to obtain a new visa (MVV) in your home country. Highly skilled migrants To be able to employ expats under the highly skilled migrant scheme, employers must sign a statement with the IND. If the employment contract is issued for an indefinite period, the residence permit will be issued for a maximum of five years. If it is a fixed-term contract, the residence permit will be issued accordingly. Partners of highly skilled migrants can work without a work permit, though they do require a residence permit. If the highly skilled migrant (and/or their partner) has an MVV they can start to work immediately. Otherwise they need to wait until the residence permit comes through. They are legally permitted to work in this interim period if they visit the IND desk and get a sticker for their passport which proves that they have applied for a residence permit. (See p.14 for our list of expat centres in the Netherlands.)




Self-employed/entrepreneurs Conditions for granting residency based on self-employment (for non-EU/EEA/Swiss) are that “with your business activities you must be serving a material Dutch economic purpose.” A point system is used to assess this. Your personal experience, business plan and what you expect to offer to the Netherlands (innovation, job creation, investment etc.) is taken into account. You will also need to prove you have the appropriate qualifications for carrying out your business. If you have a residence permit for an independent entrepreneur, you are also allowed to work as an employee provided the UWV WERKbedrijf has issued a work permit to your employer. Dutch American Friendship Treaty American citizens (under 60) who wish to start up a business in the Netherlands can apply under this scheme which has been in operation since 1956. They don’t need to satisfy the Dutch economic interest conditions as above, but they do need to be registered at the Chamber of Commerce (Kamer van Koophandel,, have accounts verified by a qualified accountant, a business plan and substantial capital, and they cannot apply for social welfare. Students There are no restrictions on working hours for students who are EU/EEA/Swiss nationals; they don’t need a work permit. All other nationalities can only work if a work permit has been granted. Regarding the hours these nationals are allowed to work, there are two options: fulltime seasonal work in June, July and August or part-time work (max. 10 hours a week) throughout the year. The employer or agency must apply directly to the UWV WERKbedrijf for a work permit and the permit will be valid for the same period as the university registration.


Working holiday schemes Those (aged 18 to 30) from Australia, Canada or New Zealand can apply under these schemes to live and work in the Netherlands for one year. Conditions include proof of sufficient funds. Job hunting Recruitment agencies are big in the Netherlands and several specialise in recruiting non-Dutch nationals. It’s worth exploring every avenue, from Internet job engines such as or the popular, to sector-specific sites (architecture, biotechnology, finance etc.). UWV WERKbedrijf portal has a useful list including EURES, the European job mobility portal ( Expat community sites like Expatica also have extensive employment listings ( Getting a job through personal contacts is quite common, so don’t be shy about making a direct enquiry to a company or dropping in to a branch of an agency or uitzendbureau. Vacancy (vacature) advertisements are covered in all Dutch newspapers and senior positions at international companies are often placed in English. The list of companies that are eligible for applying for highly skilled migrants is a useful source and can be found on the IND site ( Skills in demand Expats with French, German, Flemish and Scandinavian language skills are always in demand, according to expat agency Undutchables. There is a (worldwide) shortage of engineers and those with technical skills. The job market is also strong for those in finance and IT, sales and marketing and customer service. Be flexible and open-minded; don’t write off specific areas or industries when jobhunting.


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Employment by Language

Employment by Language for International Professionals English, bi-lingual & multi-lingual employment solutions. Specialists in Recruitment, Executive Search, Contracting and Temping throughout the Netherlands. A Dutch market leader for over 22 years; employing a select group of international and local permanent staff whose mission is recruitment excellence for our clients and candidates. Our expertise extends to all disciplines of industry including: Finance, Accountancy, HR, Sales, Marketing, Logistics, Technical, IT, Engineering and all other Ofďƒžce Support Staff. For a broader perspective of Blue Lynx and hundreds of employment opportunities please visit our website Statenplein 19, 2582 EZ The Hague Email: Tel. +31 (0)20-406 9180 Teleportboulevard 110, 1043 EJ Amsterdam Email: Tel. +31 (0)70-311 7829


Contracts and employment law The laws covering employment in the Netherlands are many and various. Your personal contract will determine your pay and specific conditions. Dutch legislation covers key areas such as trial periods, holidays, notice and dismissal, minimum wages, health and safety and equal treatment. The system for dismissal is particularly unusual in being so protective of the employee: in most cases the employer needs permission from the UWV WERKbedrijf or the court to fire you. Useful information regarding working practices, employment law and the minimum wage can be found on the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment website (www.internationalezaken. or the UWV WERKbedrijf website ( If you want to check the market rate for your salary or calculate bruto/netto rates (before/after tax and social security deductions), then try website It is standard practice in the Netherlands to get extra wages (usually eight percent of your salary) for holidays (normally paid in May) and four weeks of paid leave. Sanne van Ruitenbeek of Pallas Advocaten provides the following important information: • If you work in the Netherlands, Dutch law is partly and often fully applicable to your employment, even if the law of another country is declared applicable i n your contract. • The number of succeeding employment contracts for a fixed term is limited to three. The total duration of fixed term contracts is limited to three years. If the duration of the contracts or the number of fixed contracts exceeds the legal limit, the employment contract will automatically become a contract for an unlimited term. • If the contract is for less than two years, the trial period cannot be longer than one month. The maximum duration of a trial period is two months. During the trial period both employer and employee are allowed to terminate the employment contract with immediate effect. • The notice period for the employee is usually one month. If the notice period for the employee is extended, the notice period for the employer should be double the notice period of the employee.


Collective Labour Agreement (CAO) This is a written agreement covering working conditions and benefits that is drawn up by employers, employers’ organisations and employee organisations (such as unions). A CAO operates at company or industry sector level and the provisions (number of holidays, for example) are often more generous than statutory requirements. It should state in your contract whether a CAO is applicable; you don’t have to be a member of a union to benefit. If no CAO applies—they all have to be registered— you will need to negotiate your own terms and conditions. The largest trade union federation in the Netherlands is the FNV ( Working culture Work life and home life are kept separate and office hours will be strictly observed. Newcomers working at Dutch companies are often surprised by the informal working relationships, horizontal management structures and (lots of) meetings (overleggen) at which every point of view must be discussed to reach a consensus. There’s a punctilious approach to these meetings, indeed social engagements of any kind: always carry your diary (agenda). Despite this approach, a common complaint on expat forums is that meetings often start late apart from in the larger international organisations. Colleagues often lunch together (all part of working as an egalitarian team) or there may be a canteen. The working environment in an international company can be very different. Flexible working is common, particularly for families with children. In terms of gender diversity at the top level, things are looking up. According to the EuropeanPWN BoardWomen Monitor 2010, the Netherlands grew by 28.6 percent in two years ranking it as the 4th best European country for female board representation, up from the 10th place in 2006. This impressive growth is due to the commitment of a number of CEOs to improve gender diversity as a result of pressure from various private initiatives and continued press attention.



Cultural competency Many international companies have headquarters in the Netherlands. For senior executives, ‘cross-cultural competency’ tests may be part of the selection procedure for international assignments. Following on from standard personality analysis programmes like the Meyers Briggs Type Indicators, these tests analyse personality preferences and prejudices that could affect performance in a new cultural environment; technical competence to do the job is already assumed. Top firms are looking for executives who are open-minded, flexible, and mature, who show respect for, and interest in different cultures. Culturally correct CVs Concise, direct and professional communication is the style for job applications in the Netherlands. “Remember that a Dutch CV only states facts and figures,” urges the former Centre for Work and Employment ( UWV WERKbedrijf. One or two pages maximum in this order: Personal details (address etc); • Education (courses, not results). • Work experience (the most recent first is popular with recruiters but some like to see career progression). Include job responsibilities. • ‘Leisure activities’ are valued “very much” by Dutch companies, according to the UWV WERKbedrijf. In your cover letter (which should be in Dutch if possible) include more about your motivation for the job, but keep the tone professional. If you’ve done your research, you should know what the company is looking for and how you fit in.

Social Security The Dutch social security system is one of the most comprehensive in Europe but access to the welfare system is becoming more restrictive. There are three strands: • National Insurance administered by the social insurance bank ( which includes old age pension (AOW) and child benefit (AKW); • Employee Insurance administered by UWV ( including unemployment benefit (WW, see below), long-term disability (WIA) and sickness (ZW); • Social Assistance administered by municipalities ( Specific conditions apply to each benefit. Also, do check that your residence rights are not affected if you apply for benefits. Your official documents will need to be in good order. Consult the Ministry of Social Affairs and Welfare website ( for more information. Unemployment benefit (WW) Your employment history will determine the amount and duration of payments. It comprises the first two months at 75 percent and thereafter 70 percent, of your last earned salary (there’s a maximum daily rate of EUR 188.88 gross). You must have worked for 26 out of the previous 36 weeks before the first day of unemployment (or fewer if you are a musician or artist not in regular employment). It can be restricted if other benefits are in operation. You apply for benefit online at or at a local office of UWV WERKbedrijf. Voluntary work A volunteer is a vrijwilliger and there are many opportunities depending on your skills. Expat advice centre ACCESS is always on the lookout for volunteers in its offices in Amsterdam and Den Haag (




Finding a job Expats seeking a new career challenge in the Netherlands will find ample opportunities. The Dutch employment market is mature, sophisticated and boasts an impressive array of both local and international companies spread across the Randstad region and beyond. It also has a vast network of specialist and generalist recruitment firms. Many newcomers choose to take the recruitment agency route for speed and convenience, as well as for the valuable contacts that established agencies can tap into. But how do you find an agency that is both tuned into the local market and to your personal needs? WORKING WITH AGENCIES Specialist and generalist agencies openly advertise their services on websites geared to expats and are frequent advertisers on job boards and leading publications. Trade directories also carry agency listings and search engines like Google will help you navigate your way to various websites. So how do you ensure that your partner agency will serve your needs positively? Here are some golden rules: • Maintain an up-to-date curriculum vitae (CV) in the English language which fully reflects your skills, education, work experience and personal profile, and try to keep it as succinct as possible. • Always support any application with a clear overview or motivation letter setting out your primary work requirements and career objectives. • Follow up any application if you hear nothing back within three to five days. • Always try to meet your agent in person as this can build rapport and trust—and make sure that your CV does not get sent anywhere without your permission. • Be clear about your work preferences and present yourself in a positive and personable light. • Stay flexible and be ready to attend interviews as opportunities emerge, but remain patient whilst your agent scours the market for the right opportunity. • Keep your agent informed of any personal developments which might affect the work they are doing on your behalf.


THE INTERVIEW PROCESS So, you’ve set yourself up with your preferred agencies and the enquiries are starting to flow in. Now you need to prepare yourself for interviews. As an expat, one of your primary concerns may be about language. Fortunately, many HR personnel and other hiring managers in the Netherlands speak English to a high level, but this should not stop you from speaking clearly and slowly. Avoid using jargon or colloquial expressions. Just like in your home country, prospective employers expect interviewees to be well presented, enthusiastic and well informed. You should research the company in advance using the internet, and most good agencies will prepare you in the best possible way based on their intimate knowledge of the company. But self-preparation is equally important. When you receive a job offer which fully matches your expectations, your agent will help you to assess the various aspects of the offer, including salary level, benefits, role progression and career development. Unless you are fully convinced it is the right job for you, allow yourself two or three days to consider all of the angles. Starting a new job in a foreign country might be a daunting prospect for many, but the Dutch are very tuned into working with foreign nationals and you can be reassured that your new co-workers will be supportive of their new ‘international’ colleague. Finally, make an effort to learn some Dutch as it will pay dividends in the long run! Text on finding a job, courtesy of Madison Parker International – Professional Resource Solutions



Recruitment agencies AMERSFOORT Michael Page International Van Asch van Wijckstraat 4b 3811 LP Amersfoort +31 (0)33 422 1550 Amstelveen Undutchables Burgermeester Haspelslaan 21 1181 NB Amstelveen +31 (0)20 445 9738 Amsterdam Blue Lynx Employment bv Teleportboulevard 110 1043 EJ Amsterdam +31 (0)20 406 9180 Michael Page International Strawinskylaan 421 1077 XX Amsterdam +31 (0)20 578 9444 Page Personnel Strawinskylaan 421 1077 XX Amsterdam +31 (0)20 5788 070 Undutchables Westeinde 20 1017 ZP Amsterdam +31 (0)20 623 1300

Eindhoven Michael Page International Bogert 11 5612 LX Eindhoven +31 (0)40 243 3735 Page Personnel Vonderweg 22 5616 RM Eindhoven +31 (0)40 799 9800 Undutchables Veldmaarsch. Montgomery laan 7 5612 BA Eindhoven +31 (0)40 237 3395 The Hague Blue Lynx Employment bv Statenplein 19 2582 EZ The Hague +31 (0)70 311 7822 Madison Parker International BV Koningin Julianalaan 351 A 2273 JJ Voorburg +31 (0)70 387 5911 (See page 65)

Undutchables Nassaulaan 1 B 2514 JS The Hague +31 (0)70 711 8300


Rotterdam Blue Lynx Employment bv Weena 290 Building 200, 10th floor 3012 NJ Rotterdam The Netherlands +31 (0)10 282 1635 (See page 65)

Michael Page International Weena 238-240 Gebouw “Weena 200” 9th floor, Tower C 3012 NJ Rotterdam +31 (0)10 217 6565 See page 75 Page Personnel Aert van Nesstraat 25p 3012 CA Rotterdam +31 (0)10 799 9700 Undutchables Oudehoofdplein 4 3011 TM Rotterdam +31 (0)10 404 6650 (See page 61)

Utrecht Undutchables Achter de Dom 14 3512 JP Utrecht +31 (0)30 238 2228 Page Personnel Gebouw Leeuwensteyn Jaarbeursplein 15 3521 AM Utrecht +31 (0)30 799 0960


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Health General medical care is of a high standard in the Netherlands but noninterventionist in nature. The Dutch healthcare system has undergone radical change in the last few years. It is now mandatory for everyone to have at least a base level of insurance (basisverzekering) or run the risk of a warning and fines. However, you are free to choose your own health insurer (zorgverzekeraar) and change companies once a year. You must take out insurance with a Dutch insurer within four months of arrival even if you already have an existing policy that gives you cover in the Netherlands. Children under 18 are included in their parents’ insurance. A Dutch insurance company cannot refuse to cover you for the basic package, regardless of your age or state of health. The standard basic package is pretty much the same from all providers except that costs may vary. If your income is under a fixed minimum level, you can apply for a healthcare allowance (zorgtoeslag) from the tax authorities (belastingdienst). Visit website (in Dutch) for more details. The trade association of health insurance providers ( includes some information in English and the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (www.rijksoverheid. nl/ministeries/vws) has a downloadable leaflet on the health insurance obligation (in ten languages) as well as detailed information in English on many medical aspects. At (‘choose better’) and you can compare health insurance (zorgverzekeringen) and find the cheapest (goedkoopste) basispakket. Both websites are in Dutch. Tip: You can cut your monthly costs by around EUR 8 through taking out an internet-based package. Online working reduces admin costs for the insurer. This is popular with students but is not age-related. 70

Basic insurance The basic insurance covers general medical care (visits to the huisarts, for example), hospital stays, dental care for up to age 18, prescription medicine and various appliances. Costs start at approximately EUR 100 a month. The government keeps tweaking this package. You will need extra coverage for extensive dental treatment, physiotherapy or anything else the government considers to be your own responsibility, and it is in these additional areas where companies compete. You can change the extras each year. Some insurance companies have policy documents in English. It is also worth checking with your colleagues and, if you work at a company, whether there is a collective scheme that provides a discount. Some employers cover (some) costs. If you are self-employed, you may want to take out extra cover. Always check that the healthcare supplier (such as a physiotherapist) is registered with your particular insurer before starting treatment. From 2011 there is a compulsory excess of EUR 170 on medical bills (verplicht eigen risico) for care not covered under the general health package. For additional treatment, you will pay via your insurer the first EUR 170 of bills. You can choose a higher ‘own risk’ amount in which case your monthly premiums will be lower. No smoking Since 1 July 2008, smoking has been banned in cafes, pubs, clubs, restaurants and hotels. Separate, enclosed smoking zones are possible but food and drink cannot be served in them. The rule applies to tobacco smoking, not to coffee shops, although the counter where you buy soft drugs must be a smoke-free zone. Doctor A huisarts is a family doctor and you need to register with one close to your home. The idea is that they are no more than ten minutes away in case of house calls. Some will turn you away because they are already full. Your insurance company can provide a list or check the local gemeentegids (a guide to everything


For a positive & practical approach


Individual, relationship & group therapy for youths & adults

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in your area). Sound out friends and colleagues for recommendations. You’ll need a referral from a huisarts to receive non-urgent medical treatment from a hospital or other specialist health provider (like a physiotherapist). Many practices have a spreekuur (or consultation hour) where you can consult your doctor. At weekends or during holidays you’ll hear a recorded message on their telephone telling you how to contact on-call medical services. For emergencies your huisarts can alert the hospital (for instance, if you’ve broken your ankle while skating, they call ahead to ensure that X-rays are ready to see you). Don’t expect a lot of medication. For instance, Dutch doctors are generally reluctant to hand out antibiotics. Dentist A dentist (tandarts) can also be located via your insurance company and this is one area where you want to check your policy carefully. Dental care for those under 18 is covered in basic insurance. An annual check-up may be included in the basic insurance package (but not the hygienist fees, for instance). You can pay for additional cover.


GGD: Healthcare for children The municipal health service (Gemeentelijke Gezondheidsdienst, covers all aspects of children’s growth and development from 4 to 19 years. On the website you can search for your local GGD, but if you have young children, they’ll probably find you first via your registration with the GBA. Inoculations and checks from birth to age four take place at the consultatiebureau, which is usually part of the GGD. Expect a big check-up just before starting school. Publications are available in several languages. Hospitals Accident and emergency is EHBO (Eerste Hulp Bij Ongelukken) and the emergency services number is 112. For a hospital admission for non-emergency treatment, keep your insurance company informed and check your policy. Your insurers will require a referral letter from your huisarts. You need to make the appointment with the specialist at the hospital yourself. Pharmacies Once you have located a huisarts, you need to locate a nearby pharmacy (apotheek) where you will pick up subscriptions. If this pharmacy deals with your particular insurance scheme, you won’t have to pay bills directly. Pharmacists are highly trained and are able to give advice for minor complaints. Opening hours vary, but the address of the nearest out-of-hours pharmacy will be indicated on the door. Drogisten supply over-the-counter remedies.


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Having a baby in the Netherlands The Netherlands has a good record in prenatal care and safe childbirth. A quarter of babies are born at home. Your insurance company will supply you with a special package for giving birth at home. A midwife, an independent medical practitioner, will generally be your sole care provider during your pregnancy and delivery. Also, there are more and more doulas available these days, an experienced woman who can give continuity of care, complementary to the midwife or obstetrician. They are (not yet) covered by insurance though. Should you prefer to give birth in a hospital, just let your midwife know. However, you should also check that your insurer will cover a poliklinische hospital birth. Some hospitals have birth centres, where the environment is made more ‘homely’. If you do deliver your baby in a hospital you can often be back at home the same day for postnatal care. Regular check-ups take place with the midwife. Prenatal testing and genetic screening are not routine for women under 36 unless there is some medical history that puts her or the baby into a higher risk category. But if you need further tests, your midwife will refer you. There are many types of birth preparation classes, some of which are offered through a local homecare (thuiszorg) organisation.

One of the best things about taking a class is meeting other parents-to-be and sharing experiences, information and concerns. Finding a midwife The majority of Dutch women are usually cared for by a midwife (verloskundige or vroedvrouw) during pregnancy and childbirth. Gynaecologists/obstetricians are generally only part of the care process for women who have (or expect to have) complications. You can choose to have your baby at home (thuisbevalling) or at a hospital with a midwife (poliklinische bevalling). When locating a midwife, word of mouth is best but your huisarts might be able to make a recommendation. You can also visit the website of the Royal Dutch Association of Midwives ( It is important to let your midwife know your feelings about pain relief. While some women complain that the Dutch childbirth system is becoming too medicalised, and others that it is not medicalised enough, everyone loves the postnatal care (kraamzorg). Once your baby has arrived, you will be given assistance at home by a maternity nurse (kraamverzorgster). She will monitor you and your baby’s health, teach some general childcare and set up a daily routine. Best of all, it may include household help. The amount of kraamzorg varies (from a few hours a day for eight days to full-time care) and a representative will come round to discuss what is appropriate. The insurance generally covers the costs. (Updated with the help of pregnancy yoga teacher Joyce Pula.)

There is a wide choice of prenatal classes for you and your partner. Advice centre ACCESS runs a number of popular ones, from the general workshop ‘Having a Baby in the Netherlands’ to childbirth preparation and breastfeeding classes. Pregnancy yoga is extremely popular, offering a variety of approaches, from gentle breathing and relaxation exercises to more energetic stretching.



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Health contacts ACCESS: www.access-nl. org - ACCESS publishes an excellent Babies and Toddlers book. Midwives: Doula: Thuiszorg: http://thuiszorg. Relevant articles on Expatica. com with more useful links and information include ‘Maternity matters: What to expect in the Netherlands’ and ‘Childbirth in Holland’. Medical 112 is the emergency number (for fire, police and ambulance) Doctor Don’t wait for an emergency before registering with a family doctor. Find one at

Central doctors’ services: Amsterdam: +31 (0)20 592 3434 Emergency number for nights, weekends and public holidays in the Amsterdam region: +31 (0)880 030600. The Hague (SMASH): +31 (0)70 346 9669 Rotterdam: +31 (0)10 290 9888 Information line (not all areas, though they can locate the right number): +31 (0)900 1515 Hospital A hospital is a ziekenhuis and a complete list of hospitals and medical centres for the Netherlands can be seen at

Dental Find a dentist at Emergency numbers: Amsterdam: +31 (0)900 821 2230 The Hague: +31 (0)70 311 0305 Rotterdam: +31 (0)10 455 2155 Pharmacy To locate an apotheek: Insurance For more information about your specific situation, you can contact the following: College for Health Insurances at +31 (0)20 797 8555 (For questions regarding Health insurance.) Sociale Verzekeringsbank at +31 (0)20 656 5352 (For questions regarding social security.)

Health service providers


Dentist Lassus Dentistry Lassusstraat 9 1075 GV Amsterdam +31 (0)20-4713137

THERAPY / COUNSELING Therapy/Counseling Arts & Bolck Therapist Keizersgracht 178 1016 DW Amsterdam +31 (0)20 468 9086

(See page 71)

(See page 71)

Expatriate Counseling Egelantiersgracht 628 1015 RS Amsterdam +31 (0)6 282 440 88



Setting up home Utilities In many cases, the utilities (gas, water and electricity) will already be connected and you just have to have them transferred to your name. If you are paying an inclusive rent, check your contact carefully for what is covered. Water There are two elements to water payments: a consumption charge based on actual water usage (which is estimated if you don’t have a meter) and a municipal tax for services (sewage, pollution, etc.). To see which water company covers your area, visit or ask at your local gemeente. Amsterdam - Waternet: 0900 9394 Den Haag/Leiden - Duinwaterbedrijf Zuid-Holland: 088 3474747 Rotterdam - Evides: 0900 0787 Utrecht - Vitens: 0900 0650 or PWN Waterleidingbedrijf Noord-Holland: 0900 405 07 00 Electricity and gas The energy market is liberalised, so you are able to choose (or change) suppliers. Most have ‘green’ options, where energy is bought from alternative sources such as wind, water and biomass. Regulatory authorities ensure fair practices and tariffs. On the Office of Energy Regulation website ( there’s a complete list of gas and electricity suppliers (Energiebedrijven >wie is wie > vergunninghouders). Main suppliers: Dong Energy:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Eneco:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Essent:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Greenchoice:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . NEM:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Nuon:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . main supplier for Amsterdam Oxxio:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Communication There is a huge range of options from many suppliers with combination deals for telephone (bellen), Internet (surfen) and TV. Then you just pay one monthly fee. Telephones KPN is still the main supplier for landlines. The easiest way to get connected is often to visit a KPN Winkel (shop) with appropriate identification and they can set it up. There are many additional services such as voicemail, call waiting, discounts for favourite numbers, etc. and deals in combination with Internet and TV. For low cost international calls, you can have calls charged via a cheaper provider. For instance, you rent the line from KPN but the calls go through Tele2, or register with bell1649 (, or use an international calling card which you can buy from independent call shops. In all these cases, you key in a combination of codes before dialling overseas. Internet telephony (such as Skype) is becoming more common. To use a public phone, you’ll need to buy a phone card from a supermarket or newsagent. Mobile telephones The cheapest deal for a mobile will be via a contract (abonnementen) with one of the main suppliers. Shop around or compare the latest rates on (in Dutch). You’ll need proof of address and income and a bank account to sign a deal. A prepaid phone is more expensive but you can top it up with cards from supermarkets. If your phone is unlocked, you can buy a Dutch SIM. Every phone has a unique IMEI serial number (enter *#06# to find out yours). You’ll need this when reporting a stolen phone. 0800 numbers are toll free; 0900 numbers are charged (per call or minute).




Internet All kinds of dial-up, ISDN, ADSL and cable options are available which can be combined with telephone and TV deals. Depending on the current TV channel deals, you might go for a TV option from one supplier and telephone/Internet from another. You can compare deals at www. It will take about three weeks to set up, and you need a cable connection. There are Internet cafes dotted about and many more with WiFi. If you are in Amsterdam, you can go to the central library ( which offers free Internet and fabulous views. Television Cable TV is cheap and widespread. The main provider is UPC and included in the standard package are BBC 1, BBC 2, BBC World and CNN alongside Dutch channels which include the government-owned Nederland 1, 2 and 3 and RTL 4, 5, 7. You’ll also receive Veronica, Net 5 (quality films and drama including popular US serials), National Geographic and the Discovery Channel. Local TV channels are another option. For Amsterdam, it is AT5: Mayor Job Cohen has a regular spot. Subtitling, rather than dubbing, is used except for children’s TV. For more films, sport, or other interests, you can select different options for an extra payment. Check out www.digitelevisie. nl for coverage in your area (by postcode) or compare prices at or at any of the suppliers. You get a media box and then pay for your chosen option. Satellite TV is also possible but you will need to be able to fix a dish facing in the right (southern) direction and (of course) there are regulations.


Radio Radio Netherlands ( has programming in English. Listening online is becoming more popular. Suppliers of phone / internet CanalDigitaal:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . KPN:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Tele2:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Telfort:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . T-mobile:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . UPC:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . UPCLive: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Vodafone:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Xs4all:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Ziggo:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . You generally pay on a monthly base. Useful websites Advice:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Film: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Government info:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . News and information:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Opera:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Restaurants:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Royal family: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Social networking:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Weather:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Website links – by category:. . . . Yellow pages: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Telephone directory:. . . . . . . . . Setting up home HEMA ( is a Dutch Institution for all household matters. Blokker is cheap ( and lKEA ( has many branches across the country.



Driving To drive a car in the Netherlands you must have a valid license—recognised by Dutch law—be aged 18, have third party insurance and be driving a registered vehicle. Once you are a resident of the Netherlands (registered in the municipality database) you cannot drive a car registered in another country. Exchanging a driving license To exchange (omwisselen) your existing national driving license (rijbewijs) for a Dutch one, you must fit into one of the categories below. Otherwise you can use it for 185 days after arrival, after which you must pass the regular CBR theory and driving tests. You can take both the theory and practical exam in English. ‘Drivers in international traffic’—essentially tourists or short-term visitors—are non-residents on the Dutch roads and do not need a Dutch driving license. Dutch licenses are generally issued for 10 years. If you have a license from an EU country, it is also valid for 10 years from the date of issue. You may like to exchange it anyway: it is a valid proof of identity in many cases. Licenses that can be exchanged: • Aruba, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Republic of Cyprus, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Great Britain, Northern Ireland, Hungary, Republic of Ireland, Iceland, Italy, (States of) Jersey, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Isle of Man, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands Antilles, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Slovenia, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Sweden and Switzerland. • Specific licenses from Taiwan, Israel, Japan, Singapore, Andorra, South Korea, Canadian Province of Quebec. • Residents with the 30 percent ruling status (whatever nationality). For most of the countries listed above, the licenses will be valid for 10 years from the date of issue at the most. Note: Several countries issue a license for less than 10 years. Apply at a municipal office for an ‘Aanvraag omwisseling voor Nederlands rijbewijs’ form—you must have a BSN and be registered in the municipality database as a resident—and an ‘Eigen Verklaring’ (a CBR statement of health). If you are 70 years or over you need an ‘Uitgebreide Eigen Verklaring’ (an extensive statement of health). There are fees for these. If you are applying under the 30 percent ruling you will need a statement from the tax office’s international department in Heerlen.

Additional documentation may be required in certain circumstances so check with your embassy for any specific translation or authentication requirements. You will generally forfeit your original licence (unless applying under the 30 percent ruling).You need a special license for a bromfiets (moped), snorfiets (light moped), or brommobiel (mobility car) (unless you have a license of the A or B category) and you must be 16 or over to get one. For all information on driving licences visit the website, (English language section.) Registering and owning a car The hefty disincentive for bringing a car into the Netherlands is the private motor vehicle and motorcycle tax (BPM) levied as a percentage of the value of the car. Exemption certificates are dealt with by customs There are many other tax implications for car owners: consult the website for full details (in English).Also note that you, as a Dutch resident, may not drive in a vehicle with foreign registration plates as you will be considered to be evading the import duty on the vehicle and road tax and you risk being heavily fined. All cars must be registered with the RDW. You can register a car at a post office with all the usual identification documents and certificate of ownership, statutory liability insurance (WA) and safety certificate (APK). For second hand vehicles, there is a transfer certificate (overschrijvingsbewijs). A seller should ensure their previous ownership certificate has been officially invalidated. After registering your car, you will receive a bill for road tax (motorrijtuigenbelasting) from the tax office. The vehicle’s registration certificate (kentekenbewijs) and the certificate of ownership (tenaamstellingsbewijs) must be in the car at all times when on the road. The APK test (at an RDW approved garage) measures the road worthiness of your vehicle. For cars brought into the Netherlands, a test is necessary if the car is older than three years. For insurance, check the yellow pages or other sources for suppliers of autoverzekering. General driving You drive on the right. Unless otherwise marked, the speed limits are 50 km/hr in the city, 80 km/hr on other roads and 100 or 120 km/hr on motorways. Traffic is an issue ( and so is parking: for which you generally need a permit. There are various options for paying for parking: by cash, chip or via your mobile phone. See www. or or www. Most Dutch drivers are members of motoring organisation ANWB (




which can provide breakdown cover (wegenwacht) at home or abroad. There are park and ride (P+R) schemes in most cities, and car sharing schemes such as Green Wheels and Connect Car are popular. Contacts The Department of Road Transport ( 0900 0739 or outside the Netherlands +31 598 393330 Driving licenses ( Driving tests ( 070 413 0300 You can download a brochure ‘Road Traffic Signs and Regulations’ from the website of the Ministry of Transport and Public works ( For information on traffic offences, the BVOM (Bureau for Traffic Enforcement of the Public Prosecution Service) has details on its website about common offences ( Public transport The Netherlands has excellent transport links by air, train, metro, tram, bus and boat. Smart-card system the OV-chipkaart is now in use throughout the Netherlands as the official transport payment system for metro, bus and tram. There are two types of cards: anonymous, which you can buy from the OV-chipkaart machines, or personal, which you need to apply for online or via the post and submit a photo. Your pass can be loaded from one of the OV-chipkaart machines strategically placed at train and metro stations. You can arrange for your personal card to ‘load’ automatically from a bank account. You pay for the distance travelled through swiping it upon entering and leaving your transport station. Personal products, svuch as season or discount tickets can be loaded to your personal OV-chipkaart and you are automatically eligible for discounts. You can now travel on the NS with your OV-chipkaart. Make sure you have minimum EUR 40 uploaded to an anonymous card and that you swipe out on arrival or you travel costs could triple! The OV-chipkaart website ( also has an English language section (helpline: 0900 0980 (EUR 0.10 p/m) Train Due to poor performance by Dutch rail company Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS) in 2010, the Dutch government has imposed a conditional fine of EUR 2 million, which will be waived if NS improves its performance in 2011. 78

NS offers season tickets and discounts for off-peak travel (Voordeelurenabonnement) including a kortingskaart (‘discount card’) which takes 40 percent off the price of tickets, not only for you but for up to three other people travelling with you. This only costs EUR 55 a year, and it has an OV-chipkaart built in. To find out the best deal for you, visit an NS counter. Tickets are checked regularly and fines are heavy. You save 50 eurocents through purchasing your train ticket via the ticket machines (also in English) rather than at the counter. There is talk that paper tickets will be phased out in favour of the swipe-card system. For smaller cities, you can organise a treintaxi when you buy your train ticket. This is a shared door-todoor taxi service at a fixed price (EUR 4.30). Information services The website provides door-to-door itineraries for national travel (now in English too). National transport (local and city to city information) 0900 9292 (EUR 0.70p/m) 0900 555 9292 (EUR 0.70 pm) Text telephone OV-fietspass (bicycle pass) (Dutch) NS (trains): ( 0900 9296 (EUR 0.35 p/m). 030 235 7822 (to book assistance 07.00 – 23.00) 030 235 3033 (fax for the hearing impaired) OV-Begeleiderskaart (Carers Travel pass.) 0900 1462 (EUR 0.10 p/m) Railrunner: Kids of 4-11 years pay a flat rate of EUR 2.50. Schiphol Airport 0900 72 44 7465 (EUR 0.40 p/m, general information) • (English section) 020 316 1417 International Help to the Disabled Schiphol Travel Taxi 020 653 1000 National Treintaxi 0900 8734682 (0.35 euro p.m.). Valys (Regional Assisted transport) 0900 9630 (local rates) (if you do not make a menu choice, you will be automatically connected to an operator) (Dutch) Main taxi numbers Amsterdam: 020 677 7777 The Hague: 070 383 0830 Rotterdam: 010 462 6333 Utrecht: 030 230 0400 Het Gooi: 035 691 8888 Credit: Driving section updated by Michael Davidson of The International Driving School of The Netherlands (



Emergency numbers

Kindertelefoon: ( 0800 0432

112 is the number for emergency police, ambulance or fire ( You will be asked for the address and city where you are calling from and the nature of the emergency. Police: ( 0900 8844 is the non-emergency number. You will be connected to your local police station. If your passport has been stolen, contact your embassy immediately for instructions as to what to do next. You generally need to make a statement at a police station to start any kind of official procedure (insurance, applying for a new passport etc.). Helplines ACCESS: ( Invaluable resource for all international residents. 0900 2 222 377 (20c per minute) Alcoholics Anonymous: ( National: 020 625 6057 Gay & Lesbian Switchboard: ( National: 020 623 6565 Public holidays There are a few regional variations with carnaval celebrated in February and March in Catholic areas. For all Dutch citizens, Queen’s Day is the big one. Sinterklaas [Not an official holiday.] Monday, 5 December 2011 Christmas Day (eerste Kerstdag) Sunday, 25 December 2011 Boxing Day (tweede Kerstdag) Monday, 26 December 2011

SOS 24-hour helpline: ( Staffed by Dutch volunteers but many speak English. 0900 0767 Gas and electricity emergencies: ( If you suspect a gas leak (gaslucht) or have a power problem (stroomstoring) the national line is 0800 9009 or, for serious emergencies posing a public threat, call 112. Water emergency: Contact your local gemeente for serious (sewage) issues. If the problem is in the length of pipe between the street and your house, this is the local water board’s responsibility. Otherwise search the yellow pages (gouden gids) for a loodgieter (plumber). Lost and stolen: American Express 020 504 8666 Diners Club 020 557 3407 VISA 0800 022 3110 MasterCard/EuroCard 0800 022 5821 Lost property Schiphol:

New Year’s Day (Nieuwjaar) Sunday, 1 January 2012 Good Friday [Not an official holiday.] Friday, 6 April 2012 Easter Sunday/Monday (Pasen) Sunday/Monday, 8/ 9 April 2012 Queen’s Day (Koninginnedag) Monday, 30 April 2012 National Remembrance Day (Dodenherdenking) Friday, 4 May 2012 [Not an official holiday.]


0900 0141

Liberation Day (Bevrijdingsdag) [Official holiday every 5 years]. 5 May 2012 Ascension (Hemelvaart) Thursday, 17 May 2012 Whitsun (Pinksteren) Sunday, 27 June or Monday, 28 May 2012 School holidays:



Advice and Information ACCESS Information, advice and support for the international community. Helpline: 0900 2 222 377 (20c per minute) Autism Association for Overseas Families (NL) Birth/Babies/Toddlers Parenting in Holland – links, information, Q&As www.parentinginholland. com/nl/ ALMERE: ABCDE - Almere Baby Club for Dutch and English abcde AMSTERDAM: Childbirth preparation courses International Playgroup The Playgroup DELFT: Delft Maternity and Motherhood Assistance DEN HAAG: Birth preparation/baby massage: Pre-school (English) British Club of The Hague 80

International childcare centre GORINCHEM: International children and parents club HAARLEM: English Speaking Contact Group

(Amsterdam chapter) Junior Chamber International (Amsterdam) Netherlands British Chamber of Commerce Rotary Club Utrecht International

MAASTRICHT: International playgroup

Society of English-NativeSpeaking Editors

NIJMEGEN/ARNHEM: Information and assistance for the English-speaking community

Toastmasters Club

ROTTERDAM: English-speaking mother and toddler group

Anglo American Theatre Group (Den Haag)

VOORHUT: International parent and toddler group irstfriendsvoorhout. VOORSCHOTEN: Parent and toddler group oorschotentoddlers.webs. com/ Business/ Professional Amsterdam American Business Club Australian Business in Europe Connecting Women (The Hague)


InPlayers (Amsterdam) Gay and Lesbian COC Gay Amsterdam Gay Tourist Information Centre PinkPoint (Gay Information Centre) Sappho Sisters Abroad www.sapphosistersabroad. com The Love Exiles Foundation

European Professional Women’s Network





Australia Aussies in Holland www.australiansabroad. com/oz/hollandsite

Amnesty International

France India Ireland Irish Club Latin America CLO Stichting Centro Latinoamericano de Orientación New Zealand New Zealand’s Global Talent Community Singapore Singapore Netherlands Association Spain La Asociación Hispánica de La Haya South Africa The South African Club in the Netherlands UK British Society of Amsterdam British Club of The Hague St Andrew’s Society

Democrats Abroad Social Amsterdam Expat Meetup Group English speaking contact group of Haarlem Expatica Forum Expatica Date www.netherlandsdating. Legal Aliens Leiden Expats Club group/Leidenexpats Meet in Eindhoven meetineindhoven

The Petroleum Wives Club of the Hague International Women’s Contact Amsterdam International Women’s Contact Utrecht International Women’s Contact The Hague International Women’s Club Breda International Women’s Club South Limburg Pickwick Women’s Club of Rotterdam ‘s-Hertogenbosch’s International Women’s Club Women’s International Group Zeeland

Women’s Clubs American Women’s Club of Amsterdam American Netherlands Club of Rotterdam American Women’s Club of the Hague Australian and New Zealanvd Women’s Club

Visit for our full listing of groups and clubs which covers: Advice & Information; Activist; Art & Photography; City; Food & Wine; Educational; Family; Gay & Lesbian; Language; Literary; Music Clubs; National; Political; Professional; Regional; Religious; Social; Clubs; Sports Clubs; Theatre Clubs; Writing; Women’s.

MOPS in Holland (Mothers of Preschoolers)



•• INDEX ••

Advertisers index

N Noordam Advocaten. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Nova Relocation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

A AICS - Amsterdam International Community School . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 ABN AMRO. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 Amsterdam Beautiful Property Rental. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Amsterdam Business School . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53 Amsterdam House Hunting. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 AV Personal Solutions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

R Renthouse International BV. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Rotterdam International Secondary School. . . . . . 49 RSM. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Inside Back Cover

B Baker Tilly Berk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 Blue Lynx. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65 Bureau Zuidema. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54 C Carla H Studio. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71 D Djent Administratie. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 E European University. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49 Eurohome Relocation Services. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Expatax . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 Expatcenter Amsterdam. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Expatdesk Rotterdam. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 G G&D&Y Housing. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 H HAVAA Apartments bv. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 House of Bols. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Htel Business Suites. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Inside Front Cover

S SAS for expats. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Smiling Faces. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 Sonar Appartementen. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Stoit Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 T Talencoach . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60 Tax Globalizers Bluestone. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 The Hague International. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 The International School of Amsterdam . . . . . . . . . . . 51 The Windmill Preschool. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 Therapeuten Arts & Bolck . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71 Total Compliance & Outsource BV . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Tulip Expats Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 U Undutchables. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61 V Vesteda . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Back Cover Voerman International. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 W Webster University. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Witlox International Tax Advice. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 WTCAA. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84

I International School of Hilversum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49 International School of The Hague . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53

X Xpat Journal. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

J JC SUURMOND & ZN. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47

NEED MORE GUIDES? The Expat Survival Guide will be distributed this year to over 40,000 expats in the Netherlands, through embassies, international companies, expat housing and relocation companies and international schools. If you are involved in managing expats, or run a bookshop, café, bar or restaurant frequented by expats, and would like to distribute the Expat Survival Guide, then please contact us at survivalguides@expatica. com to order your free guides. Delivery is also free within the Netherlands.

K KKAmsterdam. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Koops Makelaardij. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 L Lassus Tandartsen. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71 Leer NT2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60 Lotus Events. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 M Maasmechelen (Space). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Madison Parker International BV. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65 82

P PAS BMS Relocation Services. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3





Expat Information Services Center in the World Trade Center Almere Area Arriving and finding your way in a new country can be challenging. Arranging a house, banking and a school for the children can be time and energy consuming. The Expat Information Services Center (EISC) helps you to settle in the Almere, Lelystad, Hilversum and Amersfoort region with a full range of services. Also the WTCAA focuses on the existing expat community in the Almere Area and offers you and your family an interesting mix of informative and social events. In addition the Almere Area represents a new, young and ambitious part of the Netherlands with a strong focus on international business. The World Trade Center Almere Area (WTCAA) runs five international programs to facilitate this. Contact details: Location: WTC Carlton Tower (2nd floor) P.J. Oudweg 4, 1314 CH Almere Stad, The Netherlands Telephone: +31 (0)36 548 5026 E-mail:, Internet:

This project was made possible with the support of a contribution from the Province of Flevoland and the Municipality of Almere within the framework of the Flevoland Almere Investment Program.

Opening hours WTCAA Monday - Friday from 9.00 to 17.00 hrs (by appointment only)

Triple accredited:


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Has a global perspective Thinks both critically & innovatively Manages change with success Knows how to implement Creates cultural synergy Makes confident decisions RSM is providing professionals with the benefits of the most stimulating MBA programmes: • Executive MBA (EMBA) - part-time - 24 months. Classes take place every other weekend on Friday evening and Saturday • Global Executive OneMBA - modular - 21 months. Classes are spread out over 11 Local courses and 4 Global courses • International Full-time MBA 12 months, 4 terms, 24 courses Find out more at

Expatica Survival Guide 2012  

This is Expatica's survival guide for the Netherlands 2012. provides essential information to help expats and internationals se...