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EXPAT 5 1 0 2 E D I U G L A V I V R SU




orientation tours settling-in services

immigration services

financial management

home finding

Peter Smith, IT manager, relaxes in the sun with his family after moving from Amsterdam to Moscow.

Relocation isn’t just a question of finding a house, especially for international expatriates! It’s about creating an enjoyable life in a brand new culture for themselves and their families. Our professional staff’s main priority is to make the difference between a normal service and a successful new start. By taking a proactive approach and having the right skills, they take care of the expat through the entire relocation process. This enables an employee to focus on his/her new job, quickly and stress-free and generates a healthy return on investment for the company he/she works for. We can make your and the expats’ life a lot easier! More information +31 (0)70 301 13 66 or go to

people relocating people Member of Voerman Group


WELCOME TO THE NETHERLANDS! Moving abroad is an exhilarating, life-changing experience. That is, once the practical aspects are settled. It first can be a daunting process while you try building a new life in an unknown language and culture. Where do you begin? The Expat Survival Guide assists your first essential steps: finding a home and job, organising permits, setting up finances and healthcare, and enrolling in education. It offers practical information on getting started in the Netherlands and directs you to the people, companies and institutions that can help you along the way. As the growing pangs subside, our newly redesigned website complements this guide with relevant news in English, weekly features from experienced expats, and essential lifestyle information for getting out and about in the Netherlands. You’ll find plenty of support with our housing and job search tools, ask-the-expert service, free classifieds, A–Z listings, events, expat dating, and a thriving online community. Our goal is to provide all the information you need to settle with ease into your new Dutch lifestyle.

3 > INTRODUCTION 6 > SURVIVAL CHECKLIST 8 > RELOCATION: What kind of residence permit?

Expat centers; Relocation service providers. 13 > SPECIAL NEEDS 15 > FAMILIES: Family reunification permits;

Au pairs; Childcare; Child benefits and allowances; Family activities. 19 > HOUSING: Renting; Buying; Popular expat

locations: Amsterdam, Amstelveen, Maastricht, The Hague, Eindhoven, Rotterdam and Utrecht. 38 > FINANCE: Bank accounts; Tax; Insurance;

Financial and tax advisors. 46 > EDUCATION: Primary, secondary and higher

education; International schools. 62 > EMPLOYMENT: Work permits; Employment

law; Working culture; Finding a job. 74 > HEALTHCARE: Health insurance; Healthcare

system; Having a baby; Health services. 82 > HOME BASICS: Utilities: gas, water, electricity;

Communications: telephone mobile, internet. TV;


Post offices.

The Expatica Team

85 > TRANSPORT: Driving; Public transport.

This guide is published by, a leading media organisation providing a complete resource for international living.

88 > CONTACTS: Emergency numbers. 89 > ENTERTAINMENT: Public holidays; Festivals;

Groups and clubs; Activities. 96 > ADVERTISERS INDEX

Published October 2014 – In memory of Antoine van Veldhuizen. Expatica Communications B.V. Wilhelminastraat 15 2011 VH Haarlem Netherlands | Editorial: Casey Marriott Layout & design: Benjamin Langman Publisher: Mark Welling Advertising sales: Distribution:

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, Wilhelminastraat 15, 2011VH Haarlem, the Netherlands. Expatica makes great effort to ensure the accuracy of information contained in this guide. However, we do not take responsibility for errors or omissions or any damages, howsoever caused, which result 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.



IN LOVING MEMORY ANTOINE VAN VELDHUIZEN Antoine, Managing Partner of Expatica, and his family were on Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 when it crashed on Thursday, 17 July. Antoine has meant a great deal for Expatica. He is the personification of the Expatica Family and co-developed Expatica almost from the very start. His boundless and infectious energy has led to many initiatives and successes, among which the “i am not a tourist” Expat Fair, which is currently in its 11th edition. It is impossible to mention everything he has done for Expatica and the international community over the last 12 years. He always stood for Expatica, the Expatica Team, its quality and its readers. His knowledge of and contribution to the international community will be missed. Years ago, we changed Expatica’s tagline to: ‘Live. Work. Love.’ When these three words popped up during a brainstorm session, Antoine and I looked at each other and knew instantly: “This is it.” Without any further discussion, they were added to the Expatica logo. Still, it wasn’t until Antoine passed away that it hit me: ‘Live. Work. Love.’ not only fits Expatica’s mission perfectly, these three words flowed together seamlessly in Antoine’s life. Above all, Antoine was a family man. He talked about his beloved wife, sons, brothers and parents very often and very warmly. Typically, Antoine the family man also created a family feeling within Expatica and kept it alive over time. In the many heartwarming reactions from former team members, Expatica readers and clients alike, almost all of them mention the warm and sincere connection they had with him. Antoine will forever be part of the Expatica Family, forever known as its most important, energetic, loyal, likeable, committed, sympathetic, best member with the loudest laugh. The time and sincere attention he gave people, his passion to help others grow and flourish, and his urge to do the right thing will always be an example to those who knew him. Mother(-in-law) Christiene, Simone, Quint, Pijke and Antoine were widely loved and will truly be missed. Our thoughts and hearts go out to their family and friends. Mark Welling – Expatica Communications BV Family and friends of Christiene, Simone, Quint, Pijke and Antoine started a charity foundation in their memory. Please take a look at for more information. 2




The Netherlands consistently ranks among the top places in the world to live and work in. It may be a small country in size, but certainly not in impact. The Netherlands is famed for its liberal social policies, maritime trading traditions, battles to hold back the sea, robust multiculturalism and leading technological communications, making Dutch lifestyle a mosaic of cultural intrigue. Living standards consistently rank high in the OECD’s Better Life Index, and the Netherlands has the fourth best work-life balance and high levels of employment and household wealth. Dutch children, likewise, are ranked as the happiest in the developed world, topping two surveys conducted by UNICEF. To newcomers, Dutch society might seem open and informal, but some complex social rules are at play. Ostentatious behaviour is frowned upon, egalitarianism is valued and Dutch people ‘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, and in terms of atmosphere and attitude, Amsterdam and the Netherlands could be two different countries. International residents tread a well-worn path to the ‘Lowlands’. Out of a population of some 16.8 million people, more than three and a half million have a foreign background ( This multi-ethnic characteristic of the country’s population has historic roots stretching back several hundred years, though most rapid changes in population demographics have come about in the last 40 years.






Foreign policy has impacted domestic politics in recent years, and influenced two government collapses in the space of around two years. The last collapse in April 2012 resulted from a coalition breakdown over austerity measures to steer the Eurozone’s fifth-largest economy below the EU deficit ceiling of 3 percent.

Change followed from politics to royals, with Queen Beatrix abdicating in 2013 after a 33-year reign, and the Netherlands celebrated the coronation of the first Dutch king in 123 years. As Europe’s youngest monarch, King Willem-Alexander pledged to modernise the royal image, even forgoing the traditional ‘your majesty’ if people want.

The Dutch government’s traditional reliance on a coalition of two or more parties has earned it the nickname ‘the land of compromise’. But, for the first time, a majority coalition formed in the last September 2012 elections. The Netherlands strengthened its stance on austerity with large gains achieved by pro-European parties, the central-right liberal VVD and the social-democratic labour party PvdA. In contrast, losses were incurred by the previous coalition parties, the Christian Democrat CDA and Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party (PVV), a nationalistic party known for its right-wing focus.

Now the Netherland’s biggest nation-wide party celebrates King’s Day on April 27 (the king’s birthday), breaking the traditional celebration on April 30 that has honoured the previous Queen Juliana’s birthday since 1949. Regardless, the ubiquitous oranjegekte (orange madness) still takes over, where people wear orange shirts, hats, dresses and wigs to celebrate while enjoying the annual free market (vrijmarkt), as it’s the one time when people can set up shop without a trading licence.

With Mark Rutte continuing as prime minister, a coalition with Diederik Samsom’s PvdA gives the current Dutch government a comfortable majority to pass budget cuts, although further opposition support is needed to pass any laws in the Senate. Economic downturn, however, saw a large shift in public opinion towards cuts of EUR 6 billion in the 2014 budget. But the deficit is finally expected to reach the EU’s target in 2014, at 2.9 percent.

Population: 16,829,289 (January 2014 Density: 497/km2 (one of the highest in Europe) Administration: The constitution dates mostly from 1848, and revisions undertaken in 1983. Parliament consists of an upper chamber (eerste kamer) of 75 members elected by provincial councils and a lower chamber (tweede kamer) with 150 members elected every four years by proportional representation. The cabinet is the executive body and its constituents cannot be members of the cabinet and parliament at the same time. Monarchy: The House of Oranje-Nassau has governed the Netherlands since 1815. King Willehm-Alexandar, born 1967, was crowned in 2013, along with his Argentinean wife Maxima, who serves as the queen consort. Landscape: A fifth of the Netherlands is reclaimed from the sea (polders) and about a quarter of the country is below sea level.


Culture and quality living combined make the Netherlands an attractive place for expats, who are an intrinsic part of the country’s knowledge-based economy. The Dutch people are generally receptive, curious, cultured, and friendly. English is widely spoken – a survey by Education First ranked the Netherlands as third in the world for English proficiency as a second language – but this can be a drawback for those learning Dutch. With many international companies headquartered in the Netherlands, there are plenty of employment opportunities.

There are 20 national parks and a few modest hills, with the country’s highest point reaching 322 metres in Limburg. Agricultural facts: Tiny Netherlands is the world’s second largest exporter of agricultural products, including just over 20 percent of the world’s potato and tomato exports. The Dutch cow is a revered milk machine, producing 35 litres a day. Media and culture: The Netherlands has the highest museum density in the world with nearly 1,000 institutions. The television program Big Brother is a Dutch invention and Paul Verhoeven is known internationally for his direction of RoboCop and Total Recall. Design: Dutch icons of style are nurtured in the revered Design Academy Eindhoven and the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam, attracting large ratios of international students. Dutch design is admired for its minimalist, quirky and often humorous qualities.


Settling in, simply. We’re here to make it easier for highly skilled migrants like yourself 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. To learn more please visit:



Before the fun of exploring begins, there are some essential tasks to take care of when you first land in the Netherlands. Use this checklist alongside the information set out in this Expat Survival Guide to help set up your new life in the Netherlands. More information is provided on REPORT TO IMMIGRATION You must register with the BRP at your local town hall within five days of arrival. If you need a residence permit, make an appointment with the IND quickly. Get ready for lots of paperwork and make sure your documents have all the right stamps. If you’re not sure which permit you need, we provide a quick overview on page 9. EXPAT BENEFITS Find out if you are eligible for the Dutch 30 percent ruling for taxes (page 43) and use the services of the various expat centres to help you cut through the red tape. OPEN A DUTCH BANK ACCOUNT Opening a Dutch bank account will make your life easier (see page 38). You’ll need your passport and/ or residence permit, burgerservicenummer (BSN), proof of address, and evidence of income, such as an employment contract or payslip. FIND A HOME Our Housing section on page 19 will help you decide whether to rent or buy, and offers tips on dealing with housing agencies and where to live in the Netherlands. HOME BASICS After finding your home, you’ll need to sort out a broadband connection and water, electricity and gas utilities. We list the major suppliers and several useful websites on page 82 to help you get connected.


EDUCATION Should you send your child to a local or international school? What learning opportunities are available to expats? Get the lowdown on education (onderwijs) in the Netherlands on page 46. JOB HUNTING If you’ve got a work permit (or don’t need one), you’re ready to begin. Sign up with agencies that specialise in finding work for expats or start your search online. We offer job-hunting tips and information on Dutch labour law on page 70. HEALTH Did you know it is compulsory for residents to take out the Dutch health insurance basisverzekering? Our Healthcare section on page 74 guides you through the Dutch health system, and explains what to do in an emergency and how to find a hospital, doctor or midwife. GETTING AROUND Before you drive, see page 85 to find out about Dutch road regulations, if you need to exchange your driving licence, and how the Dutch public transport system works. MEETING THE COMMUNITY If you’re finding everything a little overwhelming, take heart: many others have been in the same position and made it through. Get out there, get active, and read on page 90 about groups and clubs for meeting new people.


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The Netherlands is a bureaucratic country and proud of it. Regulations and procedures for expats and their families can seem daunting at first, but being prepared will make the process easier and faster. First of all, ensure that your documents are in order before you approach the two main bodies involved in registration and immigration: the BRP, where you must register your details into the Dutch system, and the IND, which implements immigration policy and makes decisions on residence permits. Check that 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 done with the addition of an Apostille – an extra stamp on the original document required to certify foreign papers– which you obtain from the competent authority in your own country. See the Apostille section of COMPULSORY REGISTRATION IN THE BRP Formally named the GBA, the Municipal Personal Records Database (Basisregistratie Personen in Dutch, or BRP) contains the details of everyone who lives in the Netherlands. Anyone who intends to stay in the Netherlands for more than four months (including EU/EEA/Swiss nationals) must register their details in the BRP within five days of arrival. Registration with the BRP triggers the start of other processes and proof of registration is essential for many more formalities. The information you provide is also shared between other public authorities, for example the tax and welfare offices, to help the government perform its public tasks and reduce duplicate registrations. The details you give when you register (such as your address and the size of family) determine charges for water and refuse collection, prompt the local health department to contact you regarding checkups for your children, and determines eligibility to register for social housing. The burgerservicenummer (BSN) (which replaced the old fiscal SOFI-number) is also initiated here and you’ll need it to open a bank account, work, and claim benefits or healthcare. Once you have completed this process, you can get a printout of your details (uittreksel), which proves your residence 8

and rights, such as being able to vote in local and European elections. 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. You should register at your local municipality; highly skilled migrants and employees of IND ‘recognised sponsors’, however, can register at a specialised expat centre (for a fee). To register, you need to make an appointment, and all members of your family (regardless of age) must be present at the first interview. Once you’re registered, contact the IND to make an appointment regarding your residence permit (if required). 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 with the BRP when you leave the Netherlands, and give back your residence permit to the IND. IND The Immigratie-en Naturalisatiedienst (IND) implements immigration policy including applications for residence permits, Dutch citizenship, visas, and asylum requests. The official policy line is ‘strict but fair’ and efforts have been made to speed up the processes involved. The website has extensive information in English, a Residence Wizard for 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. To collect a permit you also 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 ( or call +31 (0)88 043 0430 (call charges apply). In 2014 the IND launched @IND_NL for general questions.




A residence permit is related to the purpose of your stay. WHAT KIND OF RESIDENCE PERMIT? Your country of origin, purpose for coming to the Netherlands (work, study, joining a spouse or relative), income, age, and period of residency are some key factors in determining what kind of residence permit (verblijfsvergunning) you need or are eligible for. There are many variations, with individual prices, so reuniting family can add up. Other requirements include proof of sufficient financial support and no criminal record or pending cases. The system was largely reformed in 2013 under the ‘Modern Migration Act’, with streamlined processes, lower family prices, and extended permit lengths. A temporary residence permit is issued initially for a set period up to a maximum of five years, and can be renewed. Residence permits are usually valid for the same length as your purpose of stay (for example, the length of your study programme or work contract, or that of your partner), otherwise one year is common. After five years of legal, continuous

residence in the Netherlands, you can apply for a permanent residence permit or consider citizenship. EU/EEA/SWISS NATIONALS AND RELATIVES For stays longer than four months, EU/EEA/Swiss nationals previously needed to register with the IND to get a sticker in their passport, but this was abolished in January 2014. Your passport or ID is now evidence enough of your right to live and work in the Netherlands but you will need to register at your local municipality, get a social number (BSN), and take out Dutch health insurance. Any of your non-EU/EEA/Swiss family members, however, must apply for a certificate of lawful residence and show proof of their relationship to you (eg. birth or marriage certificate). Croats can also apply for this certificate if needed – but it is not compulsory. After five years of residency, all EU/EEA/Swiss nationals and family members (who have lived with them) are eligible to apply for ‘permanent residence for EU citizens’, which costs around EUR 50.

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NON-EU/EEA/SWISS ‘Third country’ nationals need a residence permit to stay for more than three months, and may also require a temporary permit to enter the Netherlands (MVV, see below). As of June 2013, both the MVV and residence permit can be applied for in a single application, known as the Entry and Residence Procedure (TEV). Sponsors in the Netherlands, such as an employee or family member, can apply for the permit on your behalf before you arrive. 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), and can only be applied for while you are outside the Netherlands. An examination covering Dutch language and society (Civic Integration Examination Abroad, EUR 350) is part of the procedure but is not generally required for those coming for employment or studies (see below). See for more details on the test. The MVV is a sticker (valid for six months) placed in your passport and its costs vary according to the purpose of your stay. WHO DOESN’T NEED AN MVV? When applying for a residence permit, there is no MVV requirement for nationals from EU/EEA/ Switzerland (and their family members), Australia, Canada, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, South Korea, US and Vatican City. Citizens with a ‘long-term residence permit EC’ issued by another European Community (EC) state are also exempt, as are those who have held a Blue Card for 18 months in another EC state plus their relatives. More exemptions are listed in the application form. CIVIC INTEGRATION ACT Foreigners requiring an MVV are obliged to take an integration exam before applying for their permit. There are, however, many exemptions listed on Knowledge migrants and those coming for work, study, or exchange are exempt while on temporary permits, as are under-18s and those who have reached pension age. Official self-study packs are sold by The IND links to an online registration form to book your exam. The exam is undertaken at a Dutch embassy or consulate in your country (if none, at the nearest Dutch mission).


The inburgering (civic integration) legislation also obliges foreigners who wish to apply for a continued or permanent residency permit to speak the language by passing an integration exam in the Netherlands (EUR 250). Knowledge of the Dutch language, culture and society is required. The main exemption is for EU/EEA/Swiss citizens and their families. For information, check HIGHLY SKILLED MIGRANT SCHEME (KENNISMIGRANTEN) This scheme is initiated by an employer authorised to admit highly skilled migrant applicants — the IND has a list of companies on their site — and it applies to jobs with a gross salary of over EUR 4,372 per month, or EUR 3,205 for under 30s. These salary bands don’t apply to medical specialist training, teaching and academic positions, which are also included under this scheme. Sponsors of highly skilled migrants apply for a residence permit (and MVV if necessary) on the worker’s behalf before they arrive. The employee can begin work once they pick up their residence permit on arrival, or if it’s not ready, have obtained the ‘residence endorsement sticker’ (verblijfsaantekening) from the IND. GRADUATES/HIGHLY EDUCATED Foreign students who have completed a HBO/ WO (higher education), Master’s or PhD in the Netherlands can file an application with the IND to remain for one year to look for a job. This also applies to Master’s and PhD students from abroad who obtained a degree in the last three years from a university listed in the top 200 of the most recent Times Higher Education World University Rankings, QS World University Rankings, or Academic Ranking of World Universities. During this year graduates do not need a separate work permit for employment. This visa is non-extendable, so the graduate must apply for a new residency permit if they find appropriate work, or register as self-employed in order to stay. INDEPENDENT PERMITS 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 (continued residence permit) after five years of holding a Dutch permit, or less in certain situations on which the IND can advise.



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CHANGING PERMITS Most residence permits can be extended, although some are restricted, for example, working holiday, au pair and graduates’ orientation permits. If you switch permits (eg. residency based on a study/work permit to residency as a highly skilled migrant), you must apply for a new permit with the IND, with supporting documentation. Workers can change jobs without requiring a new residency permit, however, the IND must be notified and a new work permit obtained. IDENTIFICATION All residents over the age of 14 must carry an ID that shows their residence status (for EU/EEA nationals, a passport). CUSTOMS On there is 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, you can download an application form from the website for exemptions on ‘removable goods’.

t +31 (0)297 272784 e i

RELOCATION SERVICE PROVIDERS LAWYERS AND NOTARIES Buma Algera Notariaat Prins Hendriklaan 27-29 | 1075 AZ Amsterdam +31 (0)20-3058922 | | Noordam Advocatuur Oranje Nassaulaan 5, 1075 AH Amsterdam +31 (0)20 689 8123 | Everaert Immigration Lawyers IJDok 23, 1013 MM Amsterdam +31 (0)20 752 3200 | | Smeets Gijbels • Amsterdam | Jacob Obrechtstraat 70 | +31 (0)20 574 7722 • Rotterdam | Westersingel 84 | +31 (0)10 266 6666 | Mr MJ Meijer Notairssen Keizersgracht 695–699, 1017 DW Amsterdam +31 (0)20 531 7070 | RELOCATION SERVICES De Haan Relocation Edisonweg 18, 2952 AD Alblasserdam +31 (0)78 692 0333 | | Eurohome Relocation Services Wolga 12, 2491 BJ The Hague + 31 (0)70 301 1366 | Hello World Holanda +31 (0)61 978 0664 | Skype: hwhelloworld |

Interdean Relocation Services A Einsteinweg 12, 2408 AR Alphen aan den Rijn +31 (0)17 244 7979 | Map Relocations Brusselsesteenweg 321, 3090 Overijse, Belgium +32 (0)2 658 8080 | Mie-Lan Kok Estate Agency JH Weissenbruchweg 19, 2102 AE Heemstede +31 (0)23 547 5941 | | New2nl Amsterdam, the Netherlands | +31 (0)62 909 3933 | Noble Mobility A. van Leeuwenhoekweg 50, 2408 AN Alphen aan den Rijn +31 (0)17 274 5454 | Nova Relocation Het Kleine Loo 414T, 2592 CK The Hague + 31 (0)70 324 2524 | | PASBMS Relocation Services Schoutenlaan 62, 2215 ME Voorhout +31 (0)25 234 7876 | | RelocAid: Relocation and immigration Rendementsweg 12A, 3641 SK Mijdrecht +31 (0)29 727 2784 | | Tulip Expats Services Malakkastraat 88–90, 2585 SR The Hague +31 (0)70 220 8156 |




EXPAT CENTRES Expatcenter Amsterdam area World Trade Center Amsterdam | F Tower, 2nd floor Strawinskylaan 39, 1077 XW Amsterdam | +31 (0)20 254 7999 Expat Centre Leiden Stationsweg 41, 2312 AT Leiden | +31 (0)71 516 6005 | | Expat Center for the Netherlands Startbaan 8, 1185 XR Amstelveen | +31 (0)900 9811 | Expatdesk Rotterdam Coolsingel 195–197, 3012 AG Rotterdam | +31 (0)10 790 0190 | Rotterdam Investment Agency (same location) +31 (0)10 790 0140 | Expatdesk Utrecht Keizerstraat 3, 3512 EA Utrecht | +31 (0)30 246 8536 | The Hague International Centre City Hall (Atrium) | Spui 70, 2511 BT The Hague +31 (0)70 353 5043 |


Holland Expat Center South (Noord-Brabant and Limburg provinces) Vestdijk 27A, 5611 CA Eindhoven | +31 (0)40 238 6777 Mosae Forum 10, 6211 DW Maastricht | +31 (0)43 350 5010 Stadhuisplein 128, 5038 TC Tilburg | +31 (0)40 238 6777 | Nijmegen Expatdesk Stadswinkel | Marienburg 75, 6511 PS Nijmegen +31 (0)24 329 2408 | Twente Expat Center World Trade Center Twente | Spoorstraat 114, 8th floor, 7551 CA Hengelo +31 (0)74 291 5604 | INFORMATION CENTRES Maastricht Region Branding Foundation Stationsplein 18E, 6221 BT Maastricht | +31 43 328 2565 | Twente Branding Hengelosestraat 500, 7521 AN Enschede | Gebouw The Gallery +31 (0)53 483 6839 | |




A wide array of organisations assists 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 encourages 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, Ieder(in) or MEE) can point you in the right direction.

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 disability’ is an expert centre (www.

Experienced expats can also provide invaluable advice and support; start a thread on a forum such as Expatica Community, if existing threads don’t cover your query.

FUNDING Many services (such as transport) are supported by government funding but there is also financial support for individual families, such as additional child benefit, healthcare and carer allowances, and adaptations to home or transport. Search the government welfare site to see if you qualify for a carer’s allowance (TOG) or a personal budget (PGB) to cover support costs.

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 railways (, and there’s a bureau for disabled travellers (call 030 235 7822 or register online) to request journey assistance. Your gemeente site will give local information, often in English, for the location of disabled parking places and other access issues, or look up zorg en welzijn and gehandicapten. EDUCATION Wherever possible, children are encouraged to attend mainstream primary schools under the ‘Going to school together’ policy. A new Inclusive Education Act (Wet Passend Onderwijs) came into effect in 2014, which requires all schools to provide equal learning opportunities for every child. The school of their choice – special or mainstream – will receive funding to cater for their needs, and the school will arrange assistance as required. Parents can also opt for a special school, whether a speciaal basisonderwijs (SBO) for learning and behavourial support or a speciaal onderwijs (so) for specific special needs.

GOING OUT A combination of wheelchair accessible activities and accommodation can be found at, and restaurants from several sites (for example, Good sources for sporty types include Stichting Resa ( or Amsterdam has a dedicated site detailing accessible buildings: HOLIDAY De Zeeland ( offers adapted sailing trips for wheelchair users and families, and some campsites such as De Ruimte ( cater especially for children with special needs. Find out about accessible nature reserves and recreation areas at Staatsbosbeheer ( For farther travels, organised group trips are available at




ASSISTANCE ORGANISATIONS (links mostly in dutch)


Valys: Regional assisted transport +31 (0)900 9630 |

ANGO: General Dutch Disability Organisation +31 (0)33 465 4343 |

NCTT: Dutch centre informing on public accessibility +31 (0)23 574 8357 |

MEE: Support and help for living with a disability +31 (0)900 999 88 88 |

Handilinks: A useful portal with lots of related links

Ieder(in): Network for the chronically ill and disabled (Formally known as CG-RaaD) +31 (0)30 720 0000 |

Dutch Autism Network:

Accessibility Foundation: Accessible internet for all +31 (0)30 239 82 70 |

Deaf/blind support:

Down Syndrome Foundation (SDS): Children/teenagers support:;




Ranked first in the world for children’s well-being by UNICEF, the Netherlands is great for families. Immigration policies have been reformed in recent years, making it easier and cheaper for family reunification in the Netherlands. Many policies were updated in 2013 under the ‘Modern Migration Act’. Now partners or relatives in the Netherlands can apply for permits on behalf of family member(s) who live abroad. The applications for both the entry visa (MVV) and residence permit were streamlined into one Entry and Residence Procedure (TEV), which can be lodged before family members arrive. Partners also no longer need to be married to receive residency, cancelling a rule adopted in October 2012, although other conditions apply. Fees have also been reduced for family members’ permit applications, including children’s permits. Now higher fees are focused on labour and highly skilled migrant permits, with fees for additional

family members being significantly lower. If you need an MVV permit to enter the Netherlands, you may need to follow an integration programme, although many exemptions apply. It is important to visit the IND website (www.ind. nl) for the most up-to-date information and prices, as changes occur regularly. Search the ‘Residence Wizard’ and news sections. EU/EEA/SWISS NATIONALS AND FAMILY MEMBERS You need to first register in the Municipal Personal Records Database (BRP), after which you will get your mandatory social number (BSN). 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 for your country) and translated into Dutch, English, French or German. You will need valid passports for all family members.

A new generation of Childcare. Crèche (0-4 yrs) and out-of-school-care (4-12 yrs) Oya’s in Amsterdam Zuid offers children a supportive environment that fosters individual development, creativity and social interaction. Oya’s was created to meet an increasing need for fully flexible childcare of the highest quality, coupled with an exceptional range of services to make parents’ lives just that bit easier. Our nannies are qualified, experienced and trained to be sensitive to the individual needs of a child. Please call or email us to make an appointment to have a look around.

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EU/EEA/Swiss nationals do not need a work permit, and no further registration is required to live in the Netherlands. Exceptions include Croatian citizens, and family members who are not EU/EEA/Swiss nationals themselves. Instead, after four months, an application for ‘verification against EU law’ must be submitted to the IND to request a certificate of lawful residency. This application is compulsory and costs EUR 53 for a five-year period. This registration still requires Croats to be covered by work permits for their first working year, after which no work permit is required. Non-EU family members have no restrictions on working. Visit for conditions. NON-EU/EEA/SWISS NATIONALS All other non-EU/EEA/Swiss nationals must have their own residence permit. The application fee depends on your personal situation and permit type. Employees and highly skilled migrants pay EUR 861 and EUR 228 per adult family member. These rates are subject to frequent change, so it is best to refer to Partners and family members generally receive the same conditions as the relative they are joining in the Netherlands. So family members of highly skilled migrants or labour workers do not need a work permit once their residency application is approved. SIGNIFICANT CONDITIONS If you want to bring a family member to the Netherlands, you will become their ‘sponsor’. A sponsor must sign a declaration and meet certain obligations, for example, you must prove you can support your spouse or relative. The IND publishes a table of required income levels. If you, along with your family, come to the Netherlands as a highly skilled worker, 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 previously worked for your family abroad. Only a recognised au pair agency can submit a permit application on behalf of au pair. An au pair can stay in the Netherlands for one year for the purpose of cultural exchange and is not allowed to work outside the agreed au pair duties. The IND website ( has a section for au pairs who wish to come to the Netherlands, as well as conditions for what an au pair is allowed to do.


Below are some general conditions. • Au

pair: Must be over 18 and under 31; only light domestic duties to assist the host family in exchange for bed and board; maximum work 8 hours per day, 30 hours per week; two days off weekly; TB test, if necessary; no previous Dutch residence permit for exchange purposes.

• Sponsor: Sufficient income to support family and au

pair; daily schedule for au pair agreed upon in writing; au pair must be registered at same address. CHILDCARE (KINDEROPVANG) It is never too early to register your child for daycare, for instance, when you are pregnant. Government policy (in Dutch) can be found on OPTIONS • Kinderdagverblijf: Public daycare for children aged

six weeks to four years old. Centres are generally open from 8am to 6–8pm. Find a local one at Urban areas have a shortage so expect long waiting lists. • Private daycare: In large cities, there are private facil-

ities offering flexible options up to 24-hour care, which are more expensive, plus international nurseries and pre-school establishments. • Pre-school/playgroups (peuterspeelzalen): Activities

and play for two to four year olds. This is often more social rather than proper daycare but — if you can get a place — it can be sufficient if you intend to work part-time. • Employers: Some employers have their own daycare

arrangements or local daycare places, which can be cheaper. • After-school

care: Some daycare centres provide this for children up to 12, but it is also provided by naschoolse opvang and buitenschoolse opvang (BSO) establishments (see

CHILD BENEFIT Parents living or working in the Netherlands with children under 18 are entitled to the kinderbijslag, a quarterly contribution to the cost of raising children from the Sociale Verzerkerings Bank (SVB). The amount depends on age, special needs etc. but is not income-related. It can be paid into a bank account in some foreign countries (but this will take longer). Find information in seven languages and a list of local offices at



CHILDCARE ALLOWANCE Parents working (or studying) in the Netherlands are entitled to the childcare allowance (kinderopvangtoeslag) for children under 12. 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 up to a maximum of 90 percent, depending on income and number of children. Contact the tax office for details. Many changes in recent years have affected the amount and granting of childcare allowance. Since 2013, the allowance amount has been dependent on a household’s (joint) income, after the Government repealed the 33.3 percent employer’s contribution rate (werkgeversbijdrage). Increased budget allocation for childcare in 2014 has seen a reinstatement of childcare allowance for high-income households, capped at 18 percent of costs for households with incomes over EUR 103,574. Childcare allowance is also capped to a set of maximum hourly rates, ranging up to EUR 6.70 per hour depending on the type of care.

Changes to the Dutch Childcare Act in 2010 included a reduction in childcare allowance for private childminders and no allowance for live-in childminders. Private childminders need to be registered, show proof of formal training, and first-aid training is mandatory. As of 2012, parents must also be in regular employment to claim allowances. Parents cannot claim allowances if they look after each other’s children or relatives provide care, and parents cannot claim more than 230 hours maximum per child, per month for all types of care. There is a cap on the maximum hours parents can declare, which is linked to the number of hours worked by the parent who works the lowest contracted number of hours.In the event of sickness, holiday, parental leave, extra training or part-time unemployment benefit, the number or hours ‘worked’ remains unchanged, as does the number of hours of childcare allowance granted. The same rules apply for both independent entrepreneurs and those employed by an organisation. If a parent amends the number of childcare hours they receive, however, they must pass the information to the Tax Office (belastingdienst) within four weeks, or incur a fine.




TOP TIPS FOR FAMILIES There are many playgrounds scattered about but the Dutch transport system makes it easy to explore farther, and children travel free on certain passes (see our transport section). There are also abundant cycling facilities for family outings, or you might consider a bakfiet, the Dutch cargo bike. For ideas, Dutch publisher J/M ( covers a range of activities and age groups. You can search for ‘kids gids’ (kids guides) covering your area, or find children’s activities on (choose jeugd from the genres) and ‘out with children’ (

GET OUT AND ABOUT: Fun for free – visit a children’s farm or kinderboerderij. These city farms often have educational and recreational activities during the week.

Cultural fun – Dutch museums often have audio guides for kids available in several languages.

Hit the beach – the Netherlands has 451 kilometres of (windy!) coastline accessible by car, bike, boat and public transport.

Dutch theme parks – 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.

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Finding the perfect home is not easy in the densely populated Netherlands. The Dutch housing market is characterised by the biggest social housing sector in Europe, which makes up 75 percent of the rental market. This narrows the supply of private rental properties for expats, who generally do not qualify for social housing due to strict, income-based allocation. However, more houses have become available in the private rental sector in recent years, mainly because homeowners have rented their properties waiting for a better sellers’ market and social housing restrictions have changed. Still, competition for attractive housing in popular areas is fierce, so house hunters need to be ready to sign quickly if they find the right home. More than half of the houses in the Netherlands are owner-occupied, more in rural areas than cities. In the past, governments have promoted house ownership with some success using financial incentives, such as tax-deductible mortgage interest and reduced transfer tax from 6 percent to 2

percent. However, the economic crisis and stricter mortgage regulations stalled the housing market in recent years, and prices decreased around 20 percent over the same period. In wake of the crisis previous incentives are being phased out, although in 2014 the buying market showed signs of recovery, especially in the lower price ranges. As the rental supply further decreases, prices on the rental market continue to go up. RENT OR BUY? The usual advice is that if you are here for more than five years and are paying a significant rent (say EUR 1,700 a month or more), you are better off buying a house in the Netherlands. Buyers who may wish to retain the property and rent it out in the future should make sure there is a scenario whereby – given the restrictive verordening (regulation) in Amsterdam – the legal rent that they are permitted to charge can cover costs.


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In the past, the main incentive for potential buyers was that mortgage interest payments were tax deductible if the house was a main residence, however, the economic crisis has influenced stricter control of the mortgage market. Since 2013, only interest payments for full-repayment mortgages over 30 years are tax deductible, and the maximum tax rate for deductibility will be reduced by 0.5 percent per annum until 2040. Expats are advised to buy only if they will be in the Netherlands for five years minimum, mainly due to the recovery of start-up costs involved in buying property (in total, around six percent of the purchase price). If you are only here for a couple of years, renting is likely your best option, despite high rents in desirable places. At least contract costs are fixed, repairs and maintenance are the landlord’s headache and contracts can be ended if you need to return home. FINDING A HOME Properties to rent (te huur) and to buy (te koop) can be found in newspapers, and on online property portals and agency websites, including www.funda. nl, the national database of the Nederlandse

Vereniging van Makelaars (NVM), or the Dutch Association of Estate agents. There are many agencies specialising in expats (be wary of those that 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 21 percent tax) is the going rate. On the other hand, using a reputable agent can help you to avoid renting an illegal apartment, being removed by a handhavings action, not recovering your deposit, being bound by an unreasonable contract, or paying too much. If you’re baffled by real estate terminology, you can search for English language postings on housing., or try with searches in six languages. It should be noted that not all properties on intermediary real estate portals may have been screened by the listing agent. Rental properties that have less than EUR 699.48 base rent will fall under social housing restrictions, and most people will not qualify for these properties as they either earn too much or have no required link to the area. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Amsterdam House Hunting Your Personal Real Estate Specialist







Tel: +31 (0) 653 108 884




USING AN AGENT A good agent should be able to tell you about the market, city, price, quality of housing and restrictions that apply to expats, as well as arrange visits for you, negotiate with landlords, and provide a contract in English. Check their portfolio to ensure they have a range of properties to suit you. THREE HOUSING SECTORS The dominant distribution sector has rent-controlled social housing, and income status plays its part in allocation. These restrictions are applied by the local authority, of which all intermediaries should be aware of and apply in practice. Social housing is split into two sectors, depending on whether the property is privately owned, or owned by a housing corporation (woningcooperaties).

However, the reality is that there are too few rental properties, which puts upwards pressure on some types of accommodation. You can find more on the points system by searching ‘huurwoning’ on or check what your property’s rent should be at • The

government regulates base-rents up to EUR 699.48 a month (2014) and anything over this price is in the ‘liberalised’ sector (assuming it has the correct points/price ratio), where rent prices are not restricted.

• Signed the contract but now think you are paying

too much? Contact a local huurteam or initiate a rental review on within six months of signing the lease. • Some landlords expect your employer to act as a

guarantor. • Generally

income conditions apply for cheaper


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 of up to 10 years or more are not uncommon. Only those with a total income of less than EUR 34,085 and valid residency will be eligible.

• Be cautious of sub-lets when searching solo. You

• Private distribution sector: You can only rent in this

empty? There may be an inventory and/or photos.

• Housing

sector when your total taxable household income (ie. combined income of all occupants) is EUR 43,602 or less. This includes holiday allowance and bonuses. Landlords are free to find their own tenants, and as such, residency status does not apply. • Liberalised

sector: Most expats end up renting accommodation in this sector because there are fewer restrictions and housing is easier to rent. Owners with low-priced rental properties usually rent easily through their own networks.


may have problems registering with the BRP and be evicted with little notice. COSTS AND CONTRACTS Your rental contract should cover: • Status: is the property furnished, semi-furnished or

• Duration of lease (eg. one year). • Notice period and stipulations about how notice

should be provided. • Service charges (check ‘all-inclusive’. What portion

is rent?). • Utilities

(apportioned how?). If you agree to a monthly fee, including an advance for utilities, then make sure that utility use is metered for your property. Your landlord should show you an account (eindafrekening) of payments and real costs at least once a year.

• The Dutch rental system for housing, tenants and

• A diplomatic clause if you have to leave because

agents is intensely regulated but not necessarily reflective of current market conditions. Base rents (kale huur) are controlled by a ‘points’ system, woningwaarderingsstelsel, which scores everything from the floor space and heating system to location and property type to determine a rental value, and whether a property falls under the regulated or liberalised sector.

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 of rent as deposit, a month’s rent in advance to the landlord, and a month’s rent plus 21 percent tax as commission if you use an agent.




TIPS FROM PERFECT HOUSING AGENCY • Discuss your needs explicitly with your agent. • 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 mess of the current tenant strewn randomly throughout every room.” • Don’t be pressured, but you must be ready to move

quickly. • Make your mind up. You like the place. You agree

terms in writing. You take it. OTHER HOUSE HUNTING 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 the monthly rental price won’t 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 still be available. Every avenue is worth exploring. Post a notice in the housing section of expat forums or 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 quickly to adverts 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 – you might get away with no commission but you will still have to pay a deposit etc. There may be room for negotiation. Always check that you can register with the BRP and check the contract details. The standard NVM (Dutch estate agent association) contract has an English version for comparison.


STUDENTS Universities try their best to help students with housing but there are serious 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 or dienst wonen, zorg en samenleven for more information about low-priced housing. You can also find useful internet sites for renting a room (kamer) or student accommodation. SHORT-TERM HOUSING Many cities in the Netherlands have aparthotels for corporate clients, which can sometimes be less anonymous and cheaper than hotels. If you are looking for a private apartment for a couple of months, the websites aimed at tourists are also worth scouring as they have a wide choice of accommodation, including properties in the choicest of locations, which are priced accordingly. Short-stay regulations in Amsterdam make it ‘illegal’ to rent the majority of properties for less than six months. The only exceptions are where a property has been explicitly exempted or the landlord has a short-stay permit, and when a property was built after 1 January 2008. Despite this, there are many properties listed for less than six-month stays that 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). Updated in cooperation with Perfect Housing.


HOW TO BUY A HOUSE IN THE NETHERLANDS? ASK SUSAN. Welcome to ABN AMRO. Expert in expats. Buying a house may be a smart move for expats. At our International Client Desks we are more than happy to give you personal and tailor-made advice. In English, or in 25 other languages. Watch Susan’s personal video answer on Or schedule a free orientation meeting with one of our consultants. So you can feel at home in the Netherlands! Feel free to contact us anytime, we are here for you 24/7.


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 do not have permission (woonvergunning) to live in it. Another benefit might be that a makelaar knows which property will come on the market shortly. As with renting, find a makelaar who understands your needs and let them get on with it. The agent’s commission will be 1–2 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 property value (WOZ), evaluated by the local municipality each year. See www. for useful information in English. ARRANGING A MORTGAGE (HYPOTHEEK) There are many different types of mortgage and the tax issues are complex. The general conditions for a mortgage up to four or five times your salary are: • You have a permanent residence permit (depending

on nationality and employment contract, this may not be applicable). • You have a permanent employment contract or 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.

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 you are intending to sub-let, 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 of the house, although conditions apply. • 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

(WOZ) determined by the local authority. • Expenses in financing the purchase of a house are

tax-deductible. Pre-sale agreement (koopovereenkomst): prepared by vendor’s agent or lawyer (notaris) with a 72-hour ‘cooling off’ period. It will include details of when the 10 percent deposit should be paid, or when the bank guarantee has to be arranged.

• Maximum mortgage obtainable was reduced to 104

Valuation (taxatierapport): designed for mortgage purposes; not a survey.

percent of the purchase price in 2014, and will be lowered further by 1 percent per annum until it reaches 100 percent in 2018.

Transfer or conveyancing tax (overdrachtsbelasting): 2 percent of the purchase price (reduced from the former 6 percent by the government).

COSTS The buyer generally pays costs (kk – kosten koper) but some costs are tax-deductible. Allow for around 6 percent on top of the purchase price. Once your offer has been accepted, a written agreement is mandatory, and a 10 percent deposit should be paid. Make sure your finances are in place first (ie. that a mortgage 24

lender will lend the required amount). On completion, both parties sign a transfer contract (akte van levering) and a notaris must register the property at the Land Registry ( Notary fees can range from EUR 1,000–3,000, so it pays to look around. An accredited translator must also be hired if one or more of the parties is not a Dutch citizen. The whole process can take just two to three months.

Deed of transfer: transportakte. Mortgage deed: hypotheekakte. Agent commission (makelaarscourtage): generally 1–2 percent, if applicable. A full structural survey is sensible; possibly fees for translation, plus 21 percent VAT on the total. Updated in cooperation with Finsens.



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The Dutch capital is a highly prized location with a diverse international population. With some 165 canals and more bicycles than residents, Amsterdam’s scenic and quirky centre offers a diverse living experience for its dynamic population. More than 170 nationalities make up around 50 percent of the city’s residents. There are many distinct neighbourhoods densely packed together and competition for housing is fierce. Rental agency Pararius estimated an average rental price in 2014 of around EUR 19 per sqm. Amsterdam is expected to have a population of 850,000 by 2025. This growth will be possible by new residential areas: IJburg and Zeeburgereiland in Oost, and Bongerd and Overhoeks in Noord. CENTRE AND CANALS In the centre, apartments veer towards snug rather than spacious and stairs are steep. Prices on the canal ring (grachtengordel) lined with 17th- and 18th-century houses are vertiginous, although many expats enjoy the ‘typically Dutch’ experience in grandeur surrounds. JORDAAN This district just west of the grachtengordel and north of Amsterdam’s shopping district is an exceptionally desirable neighbourhood. Its beautiful canals and quirky, narrow streets are occupied by a bohemian mixture of artists, yuppies and expats, with a core of working-class locals. Prices have exploded in recent years and in terms of price per square metre, it offers poor value and accommodation is often cramped. In the bordering district of Westerpark, housing developments on former industrial sites have filled the need for affordable three to four bedroom houses, with the benefit of a huge park nearby. DE PIJP Directly south of the centre lies the regenerated ‘Pijp’, or so-called Latin Quarter, which is a vibrant, funky neighbourhood that has benefited from government regeneration and initiatives to increase private-home ownership opportunities, to the benefit of many expats. Rising prices reflect its newfound status as a desired neighbourhood. 26

SOUTH (OUD-ZUID) Oud-Zuid is a popular upmarket location for expats with easy access to international schools, the Vondelpark and spacious, privately-owned housing. There’s a leafy, gracious-living feel with cafes and shopping streets to match. Duivelseiland is particularly desirable with apartment accommodation, numerous cafes and upmarket shops. WEST (OUD-WEST) Across the park, housing is cheaper (and smaller) yet Oud-West is another area very popular with expats, particularly districts such as Helmersbuurt, which is a little more urban and edgy than Oud-Zuid and not as expensive for buyers. ZEEBURG, KNSM AND DOCKLANDS Behind Centraal Station lies a very different Amsterdam. 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. It’s a little less family friendly, but a growing area. Further west and growing in popularity are KNSM Island and the Eastern Docklands. This former working port established on four artificial island peninsulas is becoming home to locals and expats who enjoy their modern accommodation options with a twist of traditional Dutch streetscapes and buildings. The area offers more space for your housing budget, while remaining easily accessible to central Amsterdam.

Population: 811,185 ( International residents: 50.6 percent International schools: Amsterdam International Community School: • Annexe du Lycée Français Vincent van Gogh: • British School of Amsterdam: • International School Amsterdam (in Amstelveen): •The Japanese School of Amsterdam: Links: • (English site)



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Prices are slightly cheaper than in Amsterdam and there’s more family-style housing with gardens.

The extra space means parking is not a problem and many homes have garages, with some 80 percent of housing built after 1960. Amstelveen has many green areas, and excellent shopping and local amenities, particularly for sporty types. Amstelveen’s population is booming, expected to reach almost 86,000 citizens by 2020. Some 3,000 houses are estimated to be built by 2023, with more than half on the edge of the Westwijk area.

WESTWIJK Westwijk is a relatively new area of Amstelveen, which is more modern and spacious and lined with small canals. The one central shopping zone in the centre of the neighbourhood preserves the feeling of a residential area. Larger detached family homes and villas are available here, in green and tranquil settings that offer a lot of individual privacy. These are premium properties, so expect to pay premium prices.

Close proximity to both Schipol airport and Amsterdam make Amstelveen attractive for international companies, and high living standards appeal to a growing expat community. The International School of Amsterdam is based here with more than 1,000 students from over 50 countries, but pupils attending 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 of a dash of culture.

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.

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.


PATRIMONIUM Running along the Amsterdamse Bos, there’s a mix of housing, shops and businesses in a variety of styles and periods. The Prinsessenbuurt in the north west of Patrimonium is known for large open spaces and detached houses, set among some of the oldest small parks in the area. Population: 85,045 ( International residents: 14 percent International schools: International School of Amsterdam: • Gifted Minds International School: Links: •




The city’s tranquil lifestyle is just a short hop from major cities in Belgium, France and Germany. Maastricht can feel a world away in its southeast corner of the Netherlands, complete with a local dialect, Limburgish, and a green, hilly terrain. Yet nearby airports and good rail links make this postcard city well connected. High-speed trains stop in Maastricht en route to Amsterdam, Brussels, Cologne, Frankfurt, London and Paris. Slightly lower rents compared to the Randstad region enhance the appeal for expats, as does the city’s impressive historic centre and location across the Meuse river. Maastricht University, with its huge range of English-language courses, attracts a large student population, livening the nightlife scene. CITY CENTRE Historic buildings jostle with shops, cafes and restaurants. Encompassing the city walls, university buildings and the Stadspark, the Jekerkwartier has an artistic slant that entices creative types and students.

RIGHT BANK Across the river, Wyck has an old-town feel, while the new Ceramique district, a renovated industrial ceramic area, offers modern accommodation favoured by expats who like inner-city living with full amenities and services. BASSIN AND BELVEDERE The inner-city harbour ‘t Bassin, on the northwest side, has grown into a residential and commercial village since redevelopment started in 1999. SINT PIETER AND SURROUNDINGS A green residential area along Jeker valley and St Petersberg Hill, yet within walking distance to the centre or Belgium. Population: 121,448 ( International residents: 29 percent. International School: United World College, Links: •

Innovation is our second nature.





Den Haag is a multicultural hub with four centuries of international integration. The city is a mixture of modern skylines with a historic city centre, and the scenery and activities are as diverse as its mix of residents. Den Haag is the third most populated city in the Netherlands, the capital of South Holland, the seat of government, and home to the Dutch royal family. It is also 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. It’s known as ‘s-Gravenhage (literally, the counts’ hedge), dating back to the 13th century when the Count of Holland’s hunting lodge was founded here. History, ritual and tradition play their part in this city, with terrific museums and cultural events. Smart areas nearby such as Rijswijk and Voorburg have a sprinkling of Michelin-starred restaurants, though Den Haag itself is most famous for Indonesian cuisine. Building development has been active in past years (, and newly built residential neighbourhoods on the city’s outskirts, such as Leidschenveen-Ypenburg and Wateringse Veld, are expected to be in demand as the city approaches some 520,000 residents in 2020. WASSENAAR The gated villas of Wassenaar house diplomats and upmarket expats, as well as members of the House of Orange. This district is known by some as the Beverly Hills of the Netherlands, and it remains a favourite among expat families with large budgets for housing, situated in close proximity to several of the area’s international schools. ARCHIPELBUURT/ WILLEMSPARK A city centre area of beautiful 19th-century houses and apartments full of character, with broad streets and big town houses and villas. This is embassy land and a top location where prices are premium and parking space problematic.


STATEN QUARTIER/ DUINOORD A similar feel to Archipel, with charming, spacious and elegant homes. Close to shops and cafes, it is a popular area. Typically smaller housing can be found in Duinoord, which also has a slightly bohemian ambiance. BENOORDENHOUT A green, quiet location but still close to motorway and other transport links with woodlands to the north and east. There are traditional, beautiful 1930s villas inhabited by wealthy older residents, and some single-family homes. Considering the space and environs, it is a good option for young families with children. Also in this area is Mariahoeve, which has the benefit of being on the train line and close to the British primary school. SCHEVENINGEN If you want something less genteel, head for the seaside town of Scheveningen with its casino and long, sandy beach.

Population: 509,682 ( International residents: 51.3 percent International schools: The American School of The Hague: • The British School in the Netherlands (BSN): • Deutsche Internationale Schule: • The European School of The Hague: • Haagsche Schoolvereeniging (Dutch international primary school): • The International School of the Hague: • Le Lycée Français Vincent van Gogh: • The Indonesian Embassy School in the Netherlands: Links: • •






Well connected and close to many hi-tech multinationals, Eindhoven has a thriving expat community. Philips and Eindhoven go hand-in-hand but the city and surrounds have a lot more to offer, as many expats have already discovered. In 2011, Eindhoven was dubbed the smartest city in the world by the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) in New York, meaning the region makes best use of ICT and broadband internet, and Forbes named it the world’s most inventive city in 2013 (based on patents). The region accounts for around half of the country’s R&D (research and development) investment and is officially known as ‘Brainport’. Aimed to be among the top 10 regions by 2020 in terms of technology and economy, this southeast area is a hub for start-up companies and employment opportunities. The creation of the collaborative Brainport Talent Centre ( helps place skilled workers in international companies. Until the arrival of Dr Philips in 1891, Eindhoven was not much more than a collection of villages. Because of 19th-century urban planning decisions, there are no canals, and pre-1940 architecture was destroyed by wartime bombing. But over the years things have changed immensely and for the better. Eindhoven has a world-class Technical University and the Design Academy Eindhoven. There’s vibrant nightlife along Stratumseind – the Netherland’s longest café and bar strip – but also strong links to the nearby countryside and extensive sporting facilities. The renovation of the former Philips terrain, Strijp-S, is adding an extra dimension of cultural, residential and commercial facilities to the city. Eindhoven is well connected with the railway station close to the centre and the airport about 3km away with good international access. CENTRE Accommodation is mainly in new, pricey apartments, which are popular with single expats and couples without children. People living in the centre have plenty of facilities, including a shopping mall and scores of international restaurants. International schools (attended by children from Den Bosch and Tilburg) and the PSV football stadium are also located here.


NORTH (WOENSEL) The area north of the centre is divided by wide, treelined boulevards, and is mainly residential in nature. Housing is mostly newbuild, with apartments and terraced houses for all budgets. Woensel South is cheaper and there’s a great market for ethnic shopping. EAST Situated around the Karpendonkse Lake and Eckart Forest, the area has a range of housing including some exclusive detached properties. SOUTH The Philips High-Tech Campus is situated at Gestel plus the local international school, the Open-air Museum and the Tongelreep International Swimming Complex. Expats also gravitate towards Stratum, with its wide range of modestly priced to exclusive housing. VILLAGES The villages closely surrounding Eindhoven’s centre are popular with expat families. International schools are still within cycling distance and the sense of community is greater. Nuenen was home to Vincent van Gogh (1883–1885) and the older centre stretches around a leafy village green. There’s some detached housing; outer areas are newer and mid-priced. Veldhoven is virtually a southwest suburb (the other side of the A2 from Eindhoven). Housing is modern and in a range of price bands. Best is a contemporary, wellplanned village with good access, while more rural retreats can be found in Waalre, which is surrounded by large areas of forest. The twin towns of Son and Breugel are usually mentioned in a single breath, and popular with expats. Son has a pleasant old centre but the majority of housing is located in newer, greener (and more expensive) districts. Population: 220,932 ( (The region has some 745,000 inhabitants.) International residents: 31.1 percent International school: International School Eindhoven, Links: •




Must-see city 2014 according to New York Times & Rough Guides

Rotterdam, Netherlands’ second city, is a friendly and welcoming city. People from all over the world have chosen Rotterdam as their home. You will be pleased to discover that the city’s flair and its multicultural society make Rotterdam an exciting and accessible place to settle in. City of Architecture Rotterdam is acclaimed nationally and internationally for its modern and experimental architecture. The city offers a complete overview of architectural styles from the 20th and 21st centuries within a few square kilometres. The latest additions to the city are the hypermodern high-rises De Rotterdam by OMA/Rem Koolhaas and the Market Hall by MVRDV. World Port World City As the biggest port in Europe, Rotterdam’s maritime flavour is intensified by the Maas River that flows through the city towards the sea. On and around the river, as

well as in the city’s many inner harbours, there’s much to see and do. Former port areas like the Kop van Zuid peninsula, Lloydkwartier and Katendrecht have been transformed into lively residential districts. Dynamic City Rotterdam is vibrant and dynamic all year round. The internationally acclaimed Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen and Kunsthal Rotterdam always host provocative and fascinating exhibitions. The year-round festivals range from small and intimate to city-wide and international, such as International Film Festival Rotterdam and the North Sea Jazz Festival.



What is your favourite thing to do in Rotterdam? “In the weekends, we cycle a lot and almost always discover something new. De Kralingse Plas lake and the parks are my favourite spots. In the evening, we like to go have dinner in the city. It’s nice that restaurants here make me feel that I can simply take my child along with me. For example, the three of us ate at La Pizza last weekend, where I ate the tastiest pizzas in town. Yes, we really hope to be able to stay here for a while.”

Het Park (nearby the Euromast)

Still happy with your choice? “Yes, we love Rotterdam. The first time I visited the downtown area, I wasn’t all that impressed; I doubted if I wanted to move here. A day later, my son and I went for a walk through the city. Just like that, without a map at all. We spontaneously stumbled across all sorts of fun places and wandered through green parks. It changed my opinion. It’s nice that everyone here speaks English, too, even in the bus.”

Kralingse Plas lake

Why Rotterdam? “My husband worked for Unilever in Hamburg. When his work moved to Rotterdam, we decided to live in Rotterdam too. The Netherlands has lots of fun cities, but we wanted to be able to cycle to work.”

How did you end up in Hillegersberg? “My husband and I were looking for a child-friendly neighbourhood with lots of outdoor space and playgrounds. We found that in Hillegersberg: a lovely green neighbourhood with two large lakes, which I enjoy jogging around. It’s almost a village within the big city; that’s how quiet it is. Everything we need is close by, and I’m downtown in no time if I take the bicycle. Our son also goes to a very fun, good daycare centre here. Not an international one, a Dutch one. We’re expats, but we find it important to get to know Dutch people here, learn the language and life like the Dutch do.”



Terrace at the Binnenrotte

German national Susanne Dous (35) works for Hajok Design BV in Rotterdam. She and her husband Philipp (45) - also an expat - and young son Henri (2) have been living in the Hillegersberg area of Rotterdam since 2013. This quiet, green district in the north of the city is known for its classical appearance, detached single-family dwellings and the Bergse Plassen lakes.

Market Hall



RotteRdam INFo eXPatdeSK

Rotterdam Info expatdesk is the one stop shop for expats in Rotterdam. We offer you tailor-made information and service that is important for living and working in Rotterdam, such as education, health care, housing, taxes and careers. We can also help with the immigration procedure with the INd (after approval) and the registration process on your behalf. By using our expatdesk – free of charge – you can greatly simplify your relocation to Rotterdam. our services include: — Registering in the municipal Personal Records database and arranging a citizen service number — opening bank accounts and applying for insurance — Finding a GP, dentist and other medical services — Finding a home, school or childcare facility — Helping arrange connections for gas, light, water, internet and telephone — Finding language courses and/or other courses

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Utrecht attracts expats and foreign companies with high living standards and an educated workforce. Arriving in Utrecht by train, you emerge into the country’s largest shopping mall, but don’t let that put you off. Utrecht’s medieval centre is a delightful place to live, with its unusual sunken canals and cellar bars. “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 (70,500) student population. Utrecht is undergoing the fastest development rate in its history, focused on transforming into a regional capital of European importance, complete with a bursting cultural agenda. It attracts international companies and expats alike, having the Netherland’s most highly educated workforce and second-best standard of living. The municipality offers expats information in English ( 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, which will form a natural extension of the central district. Transport links are excellent, particularly by train, as Utrecht is HQ for NS (Dutch National Railways) and Utrecht Centraal is the biggest and busiest train station in the Netherlands. It is an easy commute to Amsterdam (25 minutes by train) and the service is regular (five trains an hour). The centre is prime territory for housing, particularly the museum quarter and Wilhelminapark with its well-maintained 1930s houses. 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 green heart of the Netherlands with bike trails through scenic countryside and along the river Lek. New housing was completed in 2012, and zoning has been approved for more. The centre is expected to get new retail and housing stock by 2016.


LEIDSCHE RIJN Officially part of the city of Utrecht, Leidsche Rijn consists of the two small villages of Vleuten and Meern and includes the entire agricultural area between those villages and Utrecht itself. Considered the largest new development in the Netherlands, 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 100,000 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 7km south of Utrecht, Nieuwegein was a new town created in 1971 to cope with the expanding population of Utrecht. There is a variety of housing styles from classic Dutch brick homes to modern highrises, 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 some third of its population is under 20. DE VECHSTREEK This beautiful area is north west of Utrecht and close to the Loosdrechtse Plassen lakes. Popular with young families and retirees, Breukelen and Maarssen are connected to Utrecht by local rail and bus services. Older villages include Oud-Zuilen (built around a castle) and Maarssen-Dorp. Maarssenbroek contains newer housing estates with local amenities and services in place.

Population: 328,276 ( (1.25 million in the whole region.) International residents: 32.3 percent International school: IS Utrecht, Links: • •



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Money matters can be complex, and 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 18 Eurozone countries (Britain is not one of them). If you want to exchange cash, services can be found at the Post Office (postkantoor) or a GWK exchange office. If you shop around, you may find good rates in banks and exchange bureaus but check if they have higher commissions. 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 7, 21 – but will be rounded up to the nearest 5 eurocents for giving change. On bank statements, the exact figure will appear. 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, but the most common method of payment is pinnen, using a debit card with a PIN code. In some cases, a magnetic swipe card might not work, for example, some train ticket booths only accept chip-and-pin cards or cash. OPENING A DUTCH BANK ACCOUNT The main Dutch banks are: • ABN-AMRO:

clients • ING Bank: (Postbank merged with ING

in 2009) • Rabobank:

ABN-AMRO, which was nationalised, has the most 38

information in English online and a special expat package but you should generally have no problem conducting business in English at any of them. SNS Reaal ( was also nationalised in early 2013. You will also find financial providers aimed specifically at expat clients, with extensive English-language services. Documents generally required: • valid ID, plus residence permit if applicable; • BSN burgerservicenummer, which you’ll get when

you register with the BRP 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 may 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 can pick up the card personally with ID. A four-digit PIN code (pincode) will either be posted separately or given to you on pick up, but it can be changed 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. 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 online 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 from the bank.



HOW TO BANK IN THE NETHERLANDS? ASK OUR EXPERTS. Welcome to ABN AMRO. Expert in expats. Welcome to the Netherlands! At our International Client Desks we are more than happy to answer all your banking questions, in English or in 25 other languages. Our experts offer you full service and support. At our offices, on the phone, on our website or Mobile Banking App. Have a look at their personal video answers on banking, housing, payments and insurances at Feel free to contact us anytime, we are here for you 24/7.




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, usually in a low tax jurisdiction, and offers certain financial benefits for those who 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. Previously renowned for a high degree of confidentiality, offshore banking is changing with the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), which requires foreign banks to share account information of US citizens with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). For expats based in the Netherlands, the tax situation can be complex. Dutch residents pay tax on their worldwide income and there are wealth, inheritance and gift taxes. Non-residents however, generally pay tax on Dutchsourced income, but if you are a US citizen or green


card holder and have the 30 percent ruling, you can be considered as a non-resident or partial non-resident taxpayer. In such a case only offshore banking might offer extra advantages. 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. Before settling on a bank, expats would be wise to ask themselves the following basic questions: Which bank is my money in, who owns it, what is its credit worthiness, and which jurisdiction does it fall under?


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CHIPKNIP Chipknip was intended as an easy way of paying small transactions since, unlike with pinnen payments, you don’t need a PIN. However, the e-purse system will be phased out by 2015, as pinpas is increasingly being 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. IBAN 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.

Dutch Tax Advisor For Corporate clients & Individuals

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From 2014, these are only acceptable with IBANs (International Bank Account Numbers).

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resident taxpayer you are taxed on your assets worldwide.

The Dutch tax system, especially for an expat, can have many variables. Tax rules also change regularly, so it is important to check the latest regulations regarding your individual situation. 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 or provide consultancy services, or you might find useful information using Expatica’s ‘Ask the Expert’ free service, where financial experts answer readers’ questions. The deadline for the tax return is 1 April, and 1 July for the M form (for residents in the Netherlands for part of the year only). If you are not able to file before 1 April, you can request an extension. Whether you have to pay Dutch taxes depends on your personal situation, but if you receive an invitation from the tax authorities then you certainly need to file a tax return. 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 five years. DIGID In general, tax returns are submitted digitally, except the M form, which must be filed on paper in the year of migration. To file a digital return, you will need a digital signature or DigiD (www.digid. nl) 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. RESIDENCY STATUS If you have demonstrable ties to the Netherlands (for instance, you live here, you work here, or your family is based here) you are generally regarded as a ‘resident taxpayer’ from day one. As a Dutch

If you live abroad but receive income that is taxable in the Netherlands you are generally a ‘non-resident 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 non-resident taxpayers covers those eligible for the so-called 30 percent ruling (see the next page). THE BOX SYSTEM Different categories of income are treated differently for tax purposes on the tax return. There are three types of taxable income. • Box

1: Income from profits, employment and home ownership. This includes wages, freelance income, pensions, social benefits, company car, and WOZ value of owner-occupied property (tax rate maximum 52 percent).

• Box

2: Income from substantial shareholding (5 percent minimum holding, tax rate 25 percent).

Box 3: Taxable income from savings and investments. For example, income from property owned but not lived in as a main residence is taxed here; not the actual income but the value of the asset on 1 January of each year (fictitious return of 4 percent taxed at 30 percent = 1.2 percent).

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 2,103 in 2014) and may be additionally entitled to other credits. The employed person’s tax credit is age and income-related (maximum EUR 2,097 in 2014). The single parent’s tax credit is EUR 947 plus a maximum EUR 1,319 under additional conditions, however, this tax credit will not apply as of 2015. 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 or allowance.




PARTNERS 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. Under certain conditions, unmarried couples may qualify as tax partners also, for example if they have a child or own a home together. Details are listed on 30 PERCENT TAX 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. Another benefit of the ruling is that the savings and investments in Box 3 do not have to be reported, except for a second (owned) property in the Netherlands. This is a consequence of the partial non-resident tax status. Applications (completed by both employer and employee) should be made to the tax authorities foreign department in Heerlen. The conditions for the 30 percent ruling were changed in 2012 to be more relevant to the intended focus group, with the biggest change being the introduction of a salary requirement to qualify. TAX REFUNDS Certain expenses can be deducted. You may be able to claim benefits from filing a tax return if: • you have not worked in the Netherlands the whole year;

you are a partner without income (whereby your partner has paid sufficient tax); • you have a child who is living with you; • you have a child who is not living with you but for whom you pay the costs of living (deduction possible for the last time in 2014); • you own a house which is your main residence and you pay interest on a mortgage for this property; • you paid alimony to your ex-partner; • you had education costs; • you paid premiums for an income annuity insurance or (specific) private pension; • you donated money to certain organisations; • you had specific medical expenses which were not reimbursed; • you travelled between home and work with public transport and these costs were not reimbursed; • you own a state monument/listed building; or • you were non-resident and had foreign workdays. •


INSURANCE You can arrange insurance through your employer or a private insurance company. Aside from obligatory medical insurance required by everyone (see the Healthcare section), self-employed persons are expected to arrange additional specific insurances, although in some cases welfare benefits are applicable. National insurance schemes available for all residents are explained at 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 damage from rainwater flooding (covered) and water damage due to a breakdown in the dykes, for example (not covered). Houseboat dwellers come under separate conditions. If you buy an apartment, the Association of Owners (VVE) takes out the house insurance. 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 need to be individually valued and insured separately. DRIVERS By law, you must have at least third-party insurance for your car. You might also want to insure against theft, fire and damage/injury to yourself or your vehicle. This is known as allriskverzekering. LIFE INSURANCE Known as levensverzekering, it is similar to schemes in most other countries. OTHER TYPES OF INSURANCE Third-party liability insurance (aansprakelijkheidverzekering) protects you if your cleaner drops your precious china, or your child spills grape juice on your neighbour’s oriental carpet. More than 95 percent of the Dutch population has this insurance, and it is often included in combination packages for either homeowners or tenants. Many Dutch households also have legal insurance (rechtsbijstandverzekering), guaranteeing (cheaper) access to legal advice. It insures against costs of lawsuits and personal and labour disputes. Although most insurances are similar to those offered elsewhere in the world, the Netherlands is distinctive in the high level of insurance taken out by the population. Many large insurers offer combination packages that can bring down costs.



MORE INFORMATION Tax office The tax office, or Belastingdienst (, has information in English for filing a tax return and downloadable forms. There are separate information lines for residents (0800 0543) and non-resident taxpayers (055 538 5385 or +31 555 385 385 from abroad). For financial policy, the Ministry of Finance has details:

National insurers Het Verbond van Verzekeraars is the national association of insurers (; call (070) 333 8500 if you need advice. Otherwise, speak to your bank or financial advisor. Tax section updated with the help of Arjan Enneman, Managing Director Expatax BV, and Expatica’s tax expert on our Ask The Expert online service.

FINANCIAL AND TAX ADVISORS ABBM Group | ABN AMRO 0900 8170 | +31 (0)10 241 1723 (abroad) | • Amsterdam +31 (0)20 343 4002 | • The Hague +31 (0)70 375 2050 | • Rotterdam +31 (0)10 402 5888 | • Eindhoven +31 (0)40 237 9000 | Affinity Global Wealth • Portugal: Av. Vilamoura XXI, Edifício Portal, Bloco B-1B, 8125-406

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The Netherlands is committed to choice in education. Compulsory education under Dutch law applies to children of all nationalities who are residing in the Netherlands. Children are leerplichtig (under a learning obligation or leerplicht) at five years old for 12 years full-time education, and one or two years part-time (until the attainment of a diploma). In the Pisa/OECD (2012) international rankings for 15-year-olds in 65 economies, the Netherlands was ‘above average’ for mathematics (10th), and ranked 15th for reading and science. The school system is, however, quite unusual. CHOOSING A SCHOOL The Netherlands is among the world’s top countries for equity in education opportunities. Schools following particular religious or pedagogic principles have had equal state funding as public schools since 1917 and the number of privately run schools more than doubles public ones, with one in five primary schools comprising less than 100 pupils. International education is available at both Dutch and private schools throughout the country, and up to 20 schools are expected to implement bilingual education by the end of 2015. 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 consider 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 attending a local school if you plan to stay for a while. 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. APPLYING FOR A SCHOOL Register your child as soon as possible at the school of your choice. Public schools technically are not allowed to refuse admission, unless full. 46

Popular schools have waiting lists and the municipality can assign catchment areas based on postcodes – you should register as young as the school allows. All schools have brochures and websites where they announce ‘open days’ when you can visit the school. Almost 90 percent of children attend early education at the age of three, and most children are enrolled by the age of four (when children are invited for orientation). Schools can arrange early childhood education programmes for children aged two to six whose first language is not Dutch. School inspection reports can be viewed online (this applies to state schools and Dutch international schools only) at under Zoek Scholen, enter the name of the school and/or town. The visual representation of green (good) and red (weak) will give some idea of performance. COSTS Primary and secondary state education is free, with parents being asked to contribute a ‘voluntary’ nominal amount, which varies from school to school. Additional payments include lengthier school trips, 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 sets quality standards, attainment targets and social objectives but individual schools ‘fill in the details’ of the curriculum and budget allocation. Education policy includes increasing bilingual opportunities, connecting education with the job market, and raising the quality of schools that do no meet the Education Inspectorate’s standard. As of 1 August 2015, the government will allow primary schools to teach 15 percent of courses in English, German or French. Not only will pupils learn a second language, such as English, they can also learn other subjects, such as biology or history, through one of these languages.



TYPES OF SCHOOL Source schools via your city’s website (onderwijs = education), or on’s Education channel. 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 contribution for things such as school trips. INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS 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 reasonable fees because of subsidies 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 offer 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 19 years). A new curriculum, IBCC, offers an alternative to the IB-DP in the final years (www.ibo. org/ibcc). PRIVATE INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS These schools teach either an international curriculum (as above) or a specific country’s national curriculum (eg. American, British, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Indonesian, Polish), sometimes in the native language. Facilities (swimming pools, football pitches) are often spectacular compared to the Dutch schools. IPAD SCHOOLS Since 2014, some 22 so-called ‘Steve Jobs schools’ have opened in the Netherlands, pioneered by Dutch entrepreneur Maurice de Hond. These government-funded schools provide children with iPads and educational apps, which replace everything from books to blackboards. Teachers act as ‘coaches’ to help students direct their own learning.

International School Utrecht provides a high quality and accessible international learning environment to students from diverse international backgrounds. ISUtrecht is a candidate International Baccalaureate World School, currently teaching the Primary Years Programme (PYP) and the Middle Years Programme (MYP). From 2016 the school will offer the Diploma Programme (DP).




SPECIAL SCHOOLS In 2014, all schools were required to cater to any child’s needs under the ‘All inclusive Act’, although participation in mainstream schools has been encouraged through other policies for several years. Additionally, there are schools for children with special needs, plus special needs teachers at Dutch schools. Lighthouse Special Education caters to the international community with special needs children providing extensive assistance in English. Entry is by referral. 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, look up schoolvakanties on DUTCH PRIMARY EDUCATION (PRIMAIR ONDERWIJS OR BASISONDERWIJS) There are eight years of primary schooling. Children are placed in group one upon entry, and move up a group every year; different age groups may therefore be in the same class depending on when each child started. In their last year, ‘Group 8’ children in 85 percent of primary schools (basisscholen) sit the CITO test ( in February, which advises their next level of education. As of spring 2015, all children in Group 8 will be required to sit a test to assess numeracy

and language skills. The government sets attainment targets in six curriculum areas: Dutch, English, arithmetic and mathematics, social and environmental studies, creative expression and sports and movement. CHILDCARE Baby Sensory Nederland Straat van Gibraltar 41, 1183 GV Amstelveen +31 (0)64 181 1260 | | Kinderopvang Bimbola Eendrachtsstraat 151, 3012 XK Rotterdam +31 (0)10 213 2027 | | Hestia Early Learning Centre Amsterdam, Amstelveen | +31 (0)20 661 8710 | Kinderopvang Het Steigertje Hoogstraat 66a, 3011 PT Rotterdam +31 (0)10 206 0711 | | Oya’s Childcare IJsbaanpad 8, 1076 CV Amsterdam +31 (0)20 705 8040 | | The Windmill Preschool Adriaan Vlackstraat 3, 2515 XT Den Haag Elzendreef 6–8, 2272 EB Voorburg +31 (0)70 327 2088 | | The Little Gym Henkenshage 4, 1083 BX Amsterdam | +31 (0)20 404 0798 Koningin Julianalaan 343, Den Haag | +31 (0)70 300 0992 |

They always leave a little taller At The Little Gym®, we take a non-competitive, progressive approach to motor skill development. Children aged 4 months to 12 years, learn at an age appropriate pace, building upon past achievements as they advance week to week and semester to semester. Take the first step, and enroll your child today. And see how one success leads to another.

Book your introductory visit NOW! The Little Gym Amsterdam • Henkenshage 4 • Amsterdam 1083 BX 020 - 404 07 98 • • The Little Gym Den Haag • Koningin Julianalaan 343 • Voorburg 2273 JJ 070 - 300 09 92 • •

Parent/Child Classes


Preschool/Kindergarten Gymnastics

Primary School Gymnastics


Holiday Camps

Birthday Parties


To be a community where learning is at the heart of everything we do.

International Community School

We are a Primary and Secondary school offering international education in English. We cater for students aged 4-19 and offer a highly reputable school programme called the International Baccalaureate (IB). Our school strongly believes in high quality and accessible education and we are able to offer our programmes at a highly competitive rate. We are located in Amsterdam and -as a community school- make good use of its educational opportunities. • The International Primary Curriculum (IPC) for children aged 4 - 10 years • The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) for children aged 16 - 19 years Prinses Irenestraat 59 1077 WV Amsterdam T: 020 - 57 71 240 E:

• The International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (IBMYP) for children aged 11 - 15 years • Dutch language lessons

fully accredited by

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

Education for International Understanding

For over 50 years, the International School of Amsterdam (ISA) has been a global leader in the international education community fostering curiosity, creativity and a passion for learning. Serving 1200 students from over 50 countries, ISA combines a rich cultural heritage with world-class faculty and staff, inspiring students to look beyond simple answers and facts and to pursue a genuine understanding of the world. We have built a tradition of excellence by pursuing innovative, research-based approaches to teaching and learning, such as our long-standing partnership with Harvard University's Project Zero. At ISA, we develop students' thinking skills and help them learn how to learn.


DUTCH SECONDARY EDUCATION (VOORTGEZET ONDERWIJS) From 12 years, pupils choose from vocational or pre-university diplomas based on their ability. In the first years all pupils study the same subjects (to different academic levels), known as the basisvorming, followed by a second stage (tweede fase) in which students choose a specialist profile. VMBO (a further four years of school): Prep school for vocational secondary education; those who achieve the highest level (theoretische leerweg) can enter HAVO studies. VMBO graduates must continue studying until age 18 or until they obtain a basic qualification (minimum MBO level 2). MBO: Secondary vocational education. MBO programmes vary from one to four years depending on the level (1–4). If a student has successfully completed the Dutch VMBO or the international middle school programmes IGCSE or IB-MYP, but is not admitted to the IB-Diploma Programme, the MBO can prepare pupils for work or, if level 4 is achieved, professional studies (HBO). A number of English-language programmes are offered.

HAVO (five years): Senior general secondary education. Provides entrance to higher professional education (HBO) at ‘vocational universities’. VWO (six years): Pre-university education. Prepares students for academic studies at a research university (WO). VWO schools can be athenaeum, gymnasium or lyceum (a combination of the first two), a difference being that Greek and Latin are core subjects in gymnasium programmes. Just under a third of the 659 secondary schools are run by the public authority. English is a compulsory subject. VMBO pupils study one modern language and HAVO/ VWO pupils at least two. Other core areas include mathematics, history, humanities, arts and sciences. BILINGUAL EDUCATION (TWEETALIG ONDERWIJS TTO) There are 117 schools with a VWO bilingual stream, plus 45 HAVO and 24 VMBO schools have bilingual departments. Only students that master the Dutch language at an appropriate level will be admitted (www.


windmill toddlers

0 to 4 years old Every Friday 09:30 to 11:30

The Windmill Preschool is an English speaking preschool for International children aged 2 to 5 years old, located in The Hague and Voorburg. We use a carefully planned curriculum giving all children an opportunity to succeed in an atmosphere of care and of feeling valued. Each session is designed to develop your child’s creative, physical and social skills. In addition to our educational services we also provide an after-school and holiday program

✆ 070 3272088

providing a solid foundation for your child’s education since 2000



Inspiring & Flexible

Childcare in Rotterdam The International School Hilversum is an internationally oriented school with over three decades of experience in international and bi-lingual education. We are a small, friendly yet professional international community of 700 students and 80 staff members.

• English daycare • Daycare • After school care

• 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

T +31 (0) 35 672 99 31 F +31 (0) 35 672 99 39 E

Learning through diversity

Secondary School

BENTINCKLAAN 294, 3039 KK ROTTERDAM +31(0) 890 7744


INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS LISTING ALKMAAR AREA The European School Molenweidtje 5, 1862 BC Bergen NH +31 (0)72 589 0109 | ALMERE Letterland International Primary School Roland Holststraat 58, 1321 RX Almere + 31(0)36 536 0566 | Secondary Dept. at International School Almere Heliumweg 61, 1362 JA Almere-Poort +31 (0)36 760 0750 | AMSTERDAM AREA 21st Century Global School Korte Verspronckweg 7–9, 2023 BS Haarlem +31 (0)63 948 2827 | Amsterdam International Community School Prinses Irenestraat 59–61, 1077 WV Amsterdam +31 (0)20 577 1240 | Annexe du Lycée Français Vincent van Gogh Rustenburgerstraat 246, 1073 GK Amsterdam +31 (0)20 644 6507 | British School of Amsterdam • Anthonie van Dijckstraat 1, 1077 ME Amsterdam • Jan van Eijckstraat 21, 1077 LG Amsterdam • Fred. Roeskestraat 94A, 1076 ED Amsterdam +31 (0)20 679 7840 |


Gifted Minds International School Landtong 18, 1186 GP Amstelveen |+31 (0)20 822 1365 International School Amsterdam Sportlaan 45, 1185 TB Amstelveen +31 (0)20 347 1111 | The Japanese School of Amsterdam Karel Klinkenbergstraat 137, 1061 AL Amsterdam +31 (0)20 611 8136 | ARNHEM / NIJMEGEN Arnhem International School Primary dept. at Dr. Aletta Jacobsschool Slochterenweg 27, 6835 CD Arnhem | +31 (0)26 323 0729 Secondary dept. at Lorentz Groningensingel 1245, 6835 HZ Arnhem | +31 (0)26 320 2840 BREDA (including Zeeland and West Brabant) International School Breda Mozartlaan 27, 4837 EH Breda +31 (0)76 560 7870 | BRUNSSUM (Limburg) Afnorth International School Ferdinand Bolstraat 1, 6445 EE Brunssum +31 (0)45 527 8220 | DELFT International School Delft Nassaulaan 2B, 2628 GH Delft | +31 (0)15 285 0038 |


European School of Mol

• • • • • • • • • • •

Nursery, Primary & Secondary School from 3-18 Open to all students Education in French, German, English and Dutch Multilingual: Mother tongue tuition and up to 5 different languages Many subjects taught in 2nd language Multi-cultural: More than 50 nationalities Internationally recognised European Baccalaureate Curriculum validated by 28 Member States Individualised approach and educational support Many study trips and sports activities Green and large facilities

European by nature Contact: Phone: 0032 (0)14 56 31 01 Europawijk 100, 2400 Mol (Antwerp)

“I love coming to school. Everyone’s friendly and the lessons are fun.” From expats to locals seeking an international education, the British School of Amsterdam provides top-class British schooling for children of all nationalities aged 3 to 18. Our curriculum leads to the respected British A-Level qualification accepted by universities worldwide. Every day is an open day at the British School of Amsterdam. Contact:, +31 (0) 20 67 97 840, or see

Onyinye Age 9 English / Nigerian



EERDE (near Zwolle) International School Eerde Kasteellaan 1, 7731 PJ Ommen | +31 (0)52 945 1452 | EINDHOVEN International School Eindhoven Oirschotsedijk 14B, 5651 GC Eindhoven • Primary dept. | +31 (0)40 251 9437 • Secondary dept. |+31 (0)40 242 6835 European School of Mol Europawijk 100, 2400 Mol, Belgium +32 (0)1 456 3111 | ENSCHEDE International School Twente Tiemeister 20, 7541 WG Enschede | • Primary dept. | +31 (0)40 251 9437 • Secondary Dept. |+31 (0)40 251 9437 GRONINGEN Primary dept. at Groningse Schoolvereniging Sweelincklaan 4, 9722 JV Groningen | +31 (0)50 527 0818 | Secondary dept. at International School Groningen Rijksstraatweg 24, 9752 AE Haren +31 (0)50 534 0084 |

THE HAGUE AREA (Den Haag) Deutsche Internationale Schule (German School) Van Bleiswijkstraat 125, 2582 LB Den Haag +31 (0)70 354 9454 | Haagsche Schoolvereeniging (HSV) Admissions: + 31 (0)70 318 4965 | International primary department • Nassaulaan 26, 2514 JT Den Haag | +31 (0)70 318 4950 • Koningin Sophiestraat 24A, 2595 TG Den Haag | +31 (0)70 324 3453 • Van Nijenrodestraat 16, 2597 RM Den Haag | +31 (0)70 328 1441 Lighthouse Special Education Curriculum: Individual SEN-program taught in English Amalia van Solmstraat 155, 2595 TA Den Haag +31 (0)70 335 5698 | Le Lycée Français Vincent van Gogh Scheveningseweg 237, 2584 AA Den Haag +31 (0)70 306 6920 | The American School of The Hague (also IBDP and IBCC) Rijksstraatweg 200, 2241 BX Wassenaar +31 (0)70 512 1060 | The British School in the Netherlands (BSN) Jan van Hooflaan 3, 2252 BG Voorschoten | +31 (0)71 560 2222 Admissions/enquiries: +31 (0)70 315 4077 | • Primary schools: - Vlaskamp 19, 2592 AA Den Haag | +31 (0)70 333 8111 - Diamanthorst 16, 2592 GH Den Haag | +31 (0)70 315 7620 - Vrouw Avenweg 640, 2493 WZ Leidschenveen | +31 (0)70 315 4040 • Secondary school (also IBDP and IBCC): Jan van Hooflaan 3, 2252 BG Voorschoten | +31 (0)71 560 2222

The International School of The Hague

Innovative International Education





Telephone: +31(0)70 328 1450


The European School of The Hague Houtrustweg 2, 2566 HA Den Haag • Nursery dept. | French, Dutch, English, Spanish and German • Primary dept. | French, Dutch, English and Spanish • Secondary dept. | French, Dutch and English +31 (0)70 700 1600 | The Indonesian Embassy School in the Netherlands Rijksstraatweg 679, 2245 CB Wassenaar +31 (0)70 517 8875 | The International School of The Hague Wijndaelerduin 1, 2554 BX Den Haag | • Primary dept. | +31 (0)70 338 4567 • Secondary dept. | +31 (0)70 328 1450 HILVERSUM International Primary School Hilversum Rembrandtlaan 30, 1213 BH Hilversum Frans Halslaan 57A, 1213 BK Hilversum +31 (0)35 621 6053 | International School Hilversum Alberdingk Thijm (Secondary dept.) | Emmastraat 56, 1213 AL Hilversum +31 (0)35 672 9931 | LEIDEN AREA | LEIDERDORP Leiden International Primary School at Elckerlyc Montessori Klimopzoom 41, 2353 RE Leiderdorp +31 (0)71 589 6861 |

OEGSTGEEST International secondary dept. Het Rijlands Lyceum Apollolaan 1, 2341 BA Oegstgeest | +31 (0)71 519 3555 | MAASTRICHT United World College Maastricht Discusworp 65, 6225 XP Maastricht NL +31 (0)43 241 0410 | ROTTERDAM American International School of Rotterdam Verhulstlaan 21, 3055 WJ Rotterdam +31 (0)10 422 5351 | De Blijberg international primary dept. Graaf Florisstraat 56, 3021 CJ Rotterdam +31 (0)10 448 2266 | Rotterdam International Secondary School Bentincklaan 294, 3039 KK Rotterdam +31 (0)10 890 7744 | The Japanese School of Rotterdam Verhulstlaan 19, 3055 WJ Rotterdam +31 (0)10 422 1211 | UTRECHT International School Utrecht* Notebomenlaan 400, 3582 CN Utrecht +31 (0)30 870 0400 | *In the spring of 2015 ISUtrecht will move to: Van Bijnkershoeklaan 8, 3527XL Utrecht

The Amsterdam MBA Master in International Finance Executive Programme in Management Studies Fully accredited programmes, full-time and part-time In the heart of Amsterdam, one of Europe's main business centers Small class sizes, with a genuine personal approach Internationally oriented, emphasising diversity in backgrounds and experience

Plantage Muidergracht 12 | 1018 TV Amsterdam |








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+ 31 76 560 7870


+ 31 76 560 7871




12-week courses Different levels of CEFR Native-speaker teachers Stiftung Sprachkurse Deutsche Schule

t ar er : St m 015 ry m 2 a Su rm nu Te 7 Ja 2


All courses take place at Deutsche Internationale Schule Den Haag (DISDH) Van Bleiswijkstraat 125 • 2582 LB The Hague


EU Barcelona Ganduxer, 70 08021 Barcelona, Spain T: +34 93 201 81 71



HIGHER EDUCATION Third-level education, as it is known in the Netherlands, is offered at a vocational level (HBO, a ‘university of applied sciences’ or hogeschool) and at an academic level (WO, at a universiteit). Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees are available at both HBO and WO institutions, but only universities (WO) offer PhD programs. There are around 2,000 courses taught in English. You can see what’s available on Nuffic (Netherlands organisation for international cooperation in higher education;, which includes extensive information about the Dutch higher education system. There is a small, third branch of higher education offering international education (IE), comprising advanced courses suited to international students. Institutions are either government funded or government approved. There are also privately financed institutions that are not recognised. NVAO is the organistion that accredits institutions ( HBO Around 416,000 students are enrolled at 42 ‘universities of applied sciences’ or hogescholen, which provide practical-based programs lasting four years. Students can prepare for particular professions 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 www. WO There are 18 research universities offering international degrees and short courses, with some 240,000 students involved in intensive, academic studies. For more information, visit COSTS Fees depend on your nationality and age. There’s a fee for EU/EEA nationals, which is set by the Dutch government, and tuition fee loans are available. Otherwise you pay the institutional fee (up to 10 times more). The fees at private institutions can be substantially higher. HOW TO APPLY There are more than 90,000 international students studying in the Netherlands — Germany tops 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 a lottery. At you can apply online for third-level courses that 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. Many Dutch universities have partner institutions in other countries, so 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, the IDW Internationale Diplomawaardering ( offers this service for a fee. Non-native English speakers are required to pass an English language test at a specified level, most commonly the TOEFL, IELTS or Cambridge Test. EDUCATION LINKS Information on the Dutch education system • Ministry of Education, Culture and Science • Government policy | • Eurydice | INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS Educaide: The Professional Helpdesk for International Education in the Netherlands PO Box 96911, 2059 JH Den Haag T: +31 (0)65 598 8998 | | Foundation for International Education in the Netherlands Higher education in the Netherlands | Information on studying and funding | Portals for vocational training | Masters / PhDs | Online applications Non-Dutch diploma evaluation




BUSINESS EDUCATION Amsterdam Business School University of Amsterdam Plantage Muidergracht 12, 1018 TV Amsterdam MBA: +31 (0)20 525 5655 | MIF: + 31 (0)20 525 4056 | European University Business School • EU Barcelona | Ganduxer 70, 08021 Barcelona, Spain +34 (0)93 201 8171 | • EU Geneva | Quai du Sujet 30, 1 201 Geneva, Switzerland +41 (0)22 779 2671 | • EU Montreux | Le Forum, Grand Rue 3, 1820 Montreux 2, Switzerland +41 (0)21 964 8464 | • EU Munich | Theresienhohe 28, 80339 Munich, Germany +49 (0)89 5502 9595 | • EU Online Campus: | | Kellogg-WHU Executive MBA Program WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management Campus Vallendar, Burgplatz 2, 56179 Vallendar, Germany +49 (0)261 6509-184 | | Maastricht School of Management Endepolsdomein 150, 6229 EP Maastricht +31 (0)43 387 0808 | | Maastricht University School of Business and Economics Minderbroedersberg 4–6, 6211 LK Maastricht + 31 (0)43 388 2222 |

flexible business and management studies with several specializations

Nyenrode Business Universiteit Straatweg 25, 3621 BG Breukelen +31 (0)34 629 1211 | Rotterdam Business School MBA Rotterdam University Kralingse Zoom 91, 3063 ND Rotterdam +31 (0)10 794 6229 | M: +31 (0)62 150 2419 | Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University Burgemeester Oudlaan 50, 3062 PA Rotterdam +31 (0)10 408 2222 | | The Hague University of Applied Sciences Johanna Westerdijkplein 75, 2521 EN The Hague +31 (0)70 445 8888 | United International Business School Amsterdam satellite campus | Spaces Business Center Herengracht 124–128, 1015 BT Amsterdam +31 20 5219423 | | Vlerick Business School Bolwerklaan 21, 1210 Brussel, Belgium +32 (0)2 225 4111 | | Webster University Boommarkt 1, 2311 EA Leiden +31 (0)71 516 8000 | |

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CAMPUS AMSTERDAM Herengracht 124-128 also in Antwerp, Barcelona, Brussels, Lausanne, Madrid, Tokyo, Zurich & Online



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Understanding the Dutch Working and living abroad as an expat is exciting and challenging for you as a professional as well as for your family. Learning the Dutch language and getting to know the customs of the country will help you understand the Dutch and integrate smoothly. At Regina Coeli, we offer top quality tailor-made language courses which include a touch of culture. Our intensive individual training courses at our institute in Vught are well known because they offer the ideal combination of personal trainers, methods that work and a perfect environment. Visit our website for information not only on our Dutch language courses but also on our English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish courses. More information at or call us at +31 (0)73 684 87 90.


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Expats are an essential component of the Dutch workforce, and office life has its cultural quirks. The Dutch workforce (7.86 million people) is internationally oriented, highly educated and multilingual. Workers’ rights are strongly protected, although recent economic recession has influenced a rise in flexible contracts and pushed unemployment figures upwards to 8.5 percent (July 2014). However, 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 a fast-track immigration programme for highly skilled migrants, including no requirement for a separate work permit. To comply with EU conditions, the Netherlands introduced a single permit in April 2014 that combines the employee residence and work permit into one, known as the GVVA (gecombineerde vergunning voor verblijf en arbeid). As such, employers no longer need to apply for a separate work permit for labour migrants. A number of beneficial policies were also implemented under the ‘Modern Migration Policy Act’ in June 2013. For example, if a worker needs a Dutch entry visa (MVV) and/or residence permit, their employer in the Netherlands can apply for the necessary papers on the employee’s behalf while they are still abroad. Applications can also be fast-tracked to two to seven weeks for companies that are ‘recognised’ by the IND ( has a list). WORK PERMIT CONDITIONS If you are a non-EU/EEA/Swiss national and want to work in the Netherlands, unless you are a highly skilled migrant or qualify for the single employee residence and work permit (GVVA), your employer will likely need to apply for a separate work permit (tewerkstellingsvergunning or TWV). Exceptions are listed below. The TWV permit is specific to the job and employer, and is issued for a specified period (up to three years), although extensions can be applied for. The IND site ( has detailed information on coming to work in the Netherlands, as well as the financial and other conditions that need to be met. 62

You can start work once your employer has been issued a work permit and applied for a residence permit, if needed. You do not need to wait for the IND to approve your residence application, but you must get a ‘residence endorsement’ passport sticker from the IND while you wait. If the residence permit application is rejected though, the work permit is no longer valid. The consequences of illegally working can be severe for both employer and employee. After three years of employment on a Dutch work permit, the employee is free on the labour market. Employers can then hire you without needing a separate work permit. When you renew your residence document, your new labour market position will be mentioned as ‘Arbeid is vrij toegestaan. TWV niet vereist’ (free to work, no work permit required). WHO DOESN’T NEED A WORK PERMIT? The main exceptions are: • EU/EEA/Swiss

nationals (except Croatians, who need a work permit for their first working year and the ‘proof of lawful residence’ permit at least until 1 July 2015, and potentially until 2020).

• 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 is vrij toegestaan. TWV niet vereist’ (free to work, no permit required). PARTNERS: WHO CAN WORK? If your spouse, partner or relative has permission to work in the Netherlands, then generally you can work without needing an additional work permit. Your employment status (arbeidsmarktaantekening) will be stated on your residence permit. You generally need to have received your residence permit before you can start work. It is advisable to file the residency applications for you and your partner at the same time.


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APPLYING FOR A WORK PERMIT If you qualify for the single GVVA residence and work permit, you or your employer must apply to the IND ( Otherwise, work permits are initiated by employers who apply to the UWV WERKbedrijf ( In both cases, your employer has to submit supporting evidence to show that EU/EEA/ Swiss nationals cannot occupy the position, which can include copies of advertisements, postings on the internet, or statements from agencies. This supporting evidence may not be required in the cases of in-company transfers, internships and some scientific jobs. For a company to apply for a work permit, the candidate must be aged between 18 and 45. If a visa and residency permit is required, your employer can initiate your Entry and Residence Procedure (TEV) on your behalf, before you arrive. They will request information from you for the application, such as copies of your passport/ID and education qualifications. HIGHLY SKILLED MIGRANTS To employ expats under the highly skilled migrant scheme, employers must sign an IND statement to become a ‘recognised sponsor’. Your employer must apply for your residence permit for you, which will be issued for the same period as the work contract, or up to a maximum five years for indefinite contracts. With the highly skilled migrant residency, your employer does not need a separate work permit (TWV) to hire you. If your residency permit is not ready when you arrive, you are allowed to work in the interim period if you visit an IND desk and get a passport sticker (verblijfsaantekening) that proves your application is being processed. Partners of highly skilled migrants can work without a work permit, though they do require a residence permit before commencing work. SELF-EMPLOYED/ENTREPRENEURS To be granted residency based on self-employment (for non-EU/EEA/Swiss), your business activities must ‘serve an essential Dutch interest’. A point system is used to assess this. Your personal experience, business plan and what you plan to offer to the Netherlands (innovation, job creation, investment etc.) are taken into account. You will also need to prove you have the appropriate qualifications for carrying out your business. With the self-employment residence permit, you can still work as an employee provided the UWV WERKbedrijf has issued a work permit to your employer. Freelancers can also apply for this permit, but proof of assignments in the Netherlands is required. 64

DUTCH AMERICAN FRIENDSHIP TREATY Since 1956, American citizens who wish to start a business in the Netherlands can apply under this scheme. They don’t need to satisfy the Dutch economic interest conditions as above, but they do need to register at the Chamber of Commerce (Kamer van Koophandel,, have financial accounts verified by a qualified accountant, have a business plan and substantial capital, and they cannot apply for social welfare. The same conditions apply to Japanese citizens under the Treaty of Trade and Navigation. STUDENTS There are no work restrictions 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, and working hours are limited. Students can opt to work part-time throughout the year for a maximum of 10 hours per week, or undertake seasonal work in June, July and August. The employer or agency must obtain a work permit from the UWV WERKbedrijf, which will be valid for the same period as the university registration. Students do not need a work permit to undertake a compulsory internship as part of their course. WORKING HOLIDAY SCHEMES Those aged 18 to 30 from Australia, Canada, and New Zealand can apply under these schemes to live and work in the Netherlands for one year. Conditions include proof of a return ticket or funds to buy one. Candidates can apply in their home country, or once they arrive in the Netherlands. A restricted quota of South Koreans can also apply under this permit as of 1 June 2014. CHANGING JOBS Any changes in your work or partnership status must be reported to the IND within four weeks. You or your ‘sponsor’ (such as an employer) can be penalised by the IND if changes aren’t reported, including contributions to repatriation costs. If you change jobs you don’t necessarily need a new residence permit, but the same rules will 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, too. If you worked as a highly skilled migrant, your new employer needs to be eligible to apply under the highly skilled migrant scheme, and will need to prove to the IND that you still meet the requirements of the highly skilled migrant scheme, for example, sending in your contract to show you earn the required salary.



If you are applying to extend a residence or work permit, your circumstances will be assessed again in reference to the original application. The main exception is that after three years working on any given residence permit that allowed you to work (such as partners’ permits or employee single permit), you no longer need a separate work permit. Highly skilled migrants can also change their purpose of stay into ‘labour’ after three years, which allows them to work without a work permit and without meeting the requirements for the highly skilled migrants scheme. It is essential to apply for a new residence permit before the old one expires; the IND will notify you in advance. Letting your permit expire can create a ‘residence gap’, which may affect your eligibility for permanent residency, where five years of continuous stay is required. 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); and

• 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. For the first two months you get 75 percent of your last earned salary, and thereafter 70 percent (there’s a maximum monthly rate of EUR 2,939 gross). You must have worked 26 out of the previous 36 weeks before the first day of unemployment (or less for those 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.

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COLLECTIVE LABOUR AGREEMENT (CAO) This is a written agreement covering working conditions and benefits, which 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 – all must be registered – you will need to negotiate your own terms and conditions. The largest trade union federation in the Netherlands is the FNV ( 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 Den Haag (

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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 employees: 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.szw. nl) 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), try It is standard practice in the Netherlands to get extra wages (usually 8 percent of your yearly salary) as a ‘holiday allowance’ (normally paid in May) plus 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 • The court and labour offices assess whether and often fully applicable to your employment, there are grounds for a valid termination. If an even if the law of another country is declared employer gives notice of termination without applicable in your contract. obtaining prior approval, the employee could • The number of succeeding employment connullify the termination. This rule is not applicable tracts for a fixed term is limited to three. The in the case of summary dismissal (such as fraud total duration of fixed term contracts is limited to or theft by the employee). Courts are however three years. As of 1 July 2015, this will be limited very reluctant about accepting summary disto two years. If the duration of the contracts or missals. It is therefore very important to contact the number of fixed contracts exceeds the legal an employment lawyer immediately if you are limit, the employment contract will automatically fired on the spot. become a contract for an unlimited term. • The legal minimum number of holidays per year is four times the weekly working time. • If the contract is for less than two years, the trial period cannot be longer than one month. This means 20 holidays in the case of a fulltime The maximum duration of a trial period is two employee working a five-day week. However, months. Trial periods in contracts for less than it is common practice in the Netherlands for six months are invalid. During the trial period, a fulltime employee to be entitled to approxboth employer and employee are allowed to imately 25 holiday days per year in addition to terminate the employment contract with immeDutch public holidays. diate effect. • By law, there is an expiration date of six months • The notice period for the employee is usually one for taking the legal minimum number of holidays. month. If the notice period for the employee is Employees must take all their holidays within six extended, the notice period for the employer months after the year in which the holidays were should be double the notice period of the accrued. Should the employee not take the holemployee. idays on time, the holidays will lapse without any • Employment contracts for an unlimited term compensation or payment. The expiration date can only be terminated by the employer with of six months is not applicable to the holidays consent of the employee, the labour office (UWV employees are entitled to on top of the legal WERKbedrijf) or the Court. minimum number of holidays. These extra holidays will not lapse until after a period of five years. Labour law updated in cooperation of Sanne van Ruitenbeek, Pallas Advocaten.



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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 take the recruitment agency route for speed and convenience, as well as for the valuable contacts that established agencies can tap into, but there are many job hunting streams that foreigners can use.

• 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. CULTURAL COMPETENCY

JOB HUNTING Recruitment agencies are big in the Netherlands and several specialise in recruiting non-Dutch nationals. It’s worth exploring every avenue including internet job engines, such as, (search by language) or the popular, or even sector-specific sites (architecture, biotechnology, finance etc.). Consider a wider range of areas or industries when job-hunting, so you can get onto the working ladder.

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, such as 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, mature, and show respect for, and interest in different cultures.

The UWV WERKbedrijf portal ( also has a useful list, as does EURES, the European job mobility portal ( Expat community sites, such as Expatica, have extensive employment listings for foreigners ( 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 at a branch of an agency or uitzendbureau.

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 will help you navigate your way to various websites. But how do you find an agency that is both tuned into the local market and to your needs?

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 (

Here are some golden rules:

SKILLS IN DEMAND Expats with French, German, Flemish, and Scandinavian language skills are always in demand, according to expat job agency Undutchables. The job market is also strong for experienced professionals in finance and IT, sales and (online) marketing, and customer service. Experience and personality are the most important aspects employers look at, so highlight this on your CV. 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,” advises UWV WERKbedrijf. One or two pages maximum in this order: • Personal details (address etc.); 70

• Education (courses, not results);

• Maintain an up-to-date curriculum vitae (CV) in English

that fully reflects your skills, education, work experience and personal profile, and try to keep it as succinct as possible. To really stand out, have a version translated into Dutch, which some companies will appreciate. • Always support any application with a clear overview or motivation letter setting out your primary work requirements, personal qualities 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 while your agent scours the market for the right opportunity. • Keep your agent informed of any personal developments that might affect the work they are doing on your behalf.



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THE INTERVIEW PROCESS Once you’ve set yourself up with your preferred agencies and the enquiries are starting to flow in, 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 at 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, and while most good agencies will prepare you in the best possible way based on their intimate knowledge of the company, self-preparation is equally important. Always attend an interview armed with a list of relevant questions. When you receive a job offer that 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 some, 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. WORKING CULTURE Work life and home life are kept separate, and office hours are 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). 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, however senior executive women are still some distance from the boardroom. In terms of gender diversity at the top, “the Netherlands lags sorely behind other countries,” says cultural consultant Mary van der Boon. In 2012 The Netherlands implemented an EU initiative target of 30 percent of executive positions to be held by each gender by 2016, although it’s not mandatory and applicable only to large or listed companies. Text on finding a job courtesy of Madison Parker International – Professional Resource Solutions.

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Medical care in the Netherlands is of a high standard but non-interventionist in nature. The Dutch healthcare system has undergone radical change in past years. It is now mandatory for everyone to purchase at least a basic level of insurance (basisverzekering) or run the risk of fines. However, you are free to choose your own health insurer (zorgverzekeraar) or change companies annually. Health-care plans are renewed yearly on 1 January. You must take out health insurance (zorgverzekeringen) with a Dutch insurer within four months of arrival, or once you have registered with the IND (family members of EU/EEA/Swiss nationals) or obtained your residence permit (non-EU/EEA/Swiss nationals), even if you already have an existing policy that gives you cover in the Netherlands. Certain students, employees and work arrangements can be exempt from this requirement, but you should check carefully whether your situation qualifies. In the Dutch healthcare scheme, children under 18 are included in their parents’ insurance at no additional cost, unless they begin


working. You can get free advice from the independent organisation, run by the Dutch health insurance ombudsman. On their website click ‘Coming from abroad’ for English information, or call 0800 64 64 644 (+31 88 900 6960 from abroad). A Dutch insurance company cannot refuse to cover you for the basic package, regardless of your age or state of health. The standard basic coverage is set by the government, although providers can vary in cost and how they deliver these requirements. If your income is under a fixed minimum level, you can apply for a healthcare allowance (zorgtoeslag) from the tax authorities (belastingdienst). Visit (in Dutch) for details and application forms. You can find a list of insurers (zorgverzekeraars) at, or compare insurance policy costs at www. (‘choose better’),, or Some websites are only in Dutch.






For general details, the Health Insurance Information Centre ( has information in English, as does the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport ( BASIC INSURANCE The basic insurance covers general medical care (visits to the doctor, for example), hospital stays, ambulance services, IVF and maternity care, dental care for children up to age 18, most prescription medicine, and various appliances. The government tweaks this package on a yearly basis. You will need extra coverage for dental care, physiotherapy or anything else the government considers your responsibility, and it is in these additional areas that companies compete. You can amend your policy each year, effective 1 January, so inform your provider before then if you wish to select or change any extra coverage. Always check that the healthcare supplier (such as a physiotherapist) is registered with your particular insurer before starting treatment. Some insurance companies have policy documents in English. It is possible to purchase additional coverage (aanvullende packet) from a different provider than your basic insurer. This may make things more complicated when processing bills, but it can sometimes lower your overall costs or allow you to purchase additional coverage tailored to the needs of foreigners residing in the Netherlands. Basic coverage is around EUR 100 a month. If you work at a company, it is worth checking whether there is a collective scheme that provides health insurance at a discount. Some employers cover (some) costs. If you are self-employed, you may want to take out extra cover. MANDATORY EXCESS The standard insurance package includes a mandatory excess or deductible that you must pay towards your insurance claims. This deductible is generally raised each year; in 2014, the excess amount was EUR 360 per adult. This means you will pay the first EUR 360 of bills each year, in addition to your health insurance premiums. Exemptions apply to family doctor visits, obstetric and postnatal care, national screening programmes, flu vaccinations and some chronic illness treatments, so the insurer ordinarily pays those expenses in full. You can choose to increase your excess contribution in order to reduce the monthly cost of your standard package.


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. An annual check-up for adults may be included in the basic insurance package (but not the hygienist fees, for instance). You can pay for additional cover. Dental care for those under 18 is covered in basic insurance, as are dental surgery and dentures. Just as with the family doctor, it is important to register early with a dentist to ensure you can be seen if an urgent dental problem arises. Dentists are in short supply in the Netherlands, so many practices are full and not taking new patients. Expats may find anesthesia is less forthcoming than in their own country, although this varies between dentists. ORTHODONTICS Extra health insurance is usually necessary if you want this to be covered by your insurer. If you or a family member is arriving in the Netherlands with orthodontic appliances already in place, some research will be necessary to determine which orthodontist can continue the care here, as there are various types of orthodontic systems and equipment, and not all practitioners use all of them.


“Driven by passion for dental care”

• Highly trained professionals • All dental treatments, including dental implants, periodontology and surgery • Children’s dentistry • Dental hygiene • Also opened evenings and weekends • Practices in central locations in Amsterdam, Krommenie, Utrecht, The Haque, etc.

Visit a practice near you! w w w . i v o r y - i v o r y . n l



DOCTOR A huisarts is a family doctor and you need to register with one convenient for you. House calls are rarely done these days, so some people choose a huisarts close to work, or travel farther to a family doctor they feel comfortable with. Most doctors speak English. Visit for doctors (with ratings) in your area. Some doctors will turn you away because their practices are already full, or will place you on a waiting list. As such, it is important to register with a huisarts when you arrive in the Netherlands, even if you are not ill and rarely use a doctor. If you are not registered with a clinic and become ill, you may have difficulty finding a nearby doctor who is taking patients, which can delay your treatment. Your insurance company can provide a list of practitioners, or check the local gemeentegids (a guide to everything in your area). Ask friends and colleagues for recommendations. Dutch healthcare is generally non-interventionist, so Dutch doctors tend not to hand out prescriptions lightly. You might also see a doctor’s assistant (for blood pressure readings, urine testing, injections etc.) or a practice nurse (for monitoring chronic conditions like asthma or diabetes). You’ll need a referral from a huisarts to receive non-urgent medical treatment from a hospital or other specialist health provider (like a cardiologist), if you would like to have those costs covered by your Dutch medical insurance. Many practices have a spreekuur (or consultation hour) where you can consult your doctor without an appointment. At weekends or during holidays you’ll hear a recorded message on their telephone telling you how to contact on-call medical services. These are often only recorded in Dutch, so if you do not speak Dutch it is best to have a Dutch speaker call for you. In case of urgent matters, your huisarts can alert the hospital (for instance, if you’ve broken your ankle while skating, they can call ahead to organise someone to take an X-ray). Don’t expect a lot of medication, as Dutch doctors are generally reluctant to hand out antibiotics. HOSPITALS Accident and emergency is SEH (spoedeisende hulp) at the hospital, or for first aid, EHBO (eerste hulp bij ongelukken). The emergency services line is 112. In some cases, there is a huisartsenpost (HAP, family doctor post) that you must visit before being admitted to the emergency department, in case the matter is

something a doctor can handle without involving hospital care. If you need an ambulance, your doctor or the emergencies services must call one for you, otherwise it might not be covered by your insurance. 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 usually personally make the appointment with the specialist at the hospital. PHARMACIES Pharmacists 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, or you can call 020 694 8709. Drogists supply over-the-counter remedies, while apotheek handle prescription drugs. Once you have located a huisarts, you need to locate a nearby pharmacy (apotheek) where you will pick up prescriptions. If this pharmacy deals with your particular insurance scheme, you won’t have to pay bills directly. Pharmacy services vary, so look for one that has the services you need. For example, many can deliver medications to your home free of charge, and some also offer services such as secured pickup boxes accessible with a key, so that you can retrieve prescriptions after hours. Pharmacies in the Netherlands expect patients to register with them, meaning that they take your contact and insurance information and then consider you a long-term client (although it is possible to fill prescriptions elsewhere, if needed). If you have been treated at a hospital, you can sometimes fill your prescription at an onsite pharmacy. This will often save time and hassle, especially after business hours. You can also order prescriptions online ( and are just two examples), or find your nearest pharmacy at (click on ‘zoek een apotheek’ and enter your postcode). HAVING A BABY The Netherlands has a strong tradition in prenatal care and natural childbirths. Your insurance company will automatically send you a special package for giving birth at home. Around one fifth of babies are born at home, which means some 80 percent are born in a healthcare setting for those who prefer a hospital. A midwife, an independent medical practitioner, will generally be your sole care provider during your pregnancy and delivery. There are also increasingly more doulas available these days, an experienced woman who can give support and continuity of care, complementary to the midwife or obstetrician.










Doulas are (not yet) covered by insurance though. You can find one at Expectant mothers with certain sorts of medical conditions or complications will be handled by an obstetrician (gynaecologist), which will automatically take place in the hospital. Should you prefer a hospital birth, let your midwife know within the first few months of your pregnancy. However, you should check that your insurer will cover a poliklinische hospital birth if you do not have a medical reason. Supplementary insurances are available to cover any extra costs. 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 primary caregiver (midwife or obstetrician). Prenatal testing and genetic screening are not routine for women under 35 unless there is some medical history that puts her or the baby into a higher risk category. If you need further tests according to Dutch practice, your caregiver will arrange that. The routine prenatal testing recommended in the Netherlands is different from the guidelines in some other countries. If you are not comfortable with skipping some of the testing, then discuss this with you caregiver. It may be possible to arrange the testing, although you might be required to pay for it yourself. There are many types of birth preparation classes, some of which are offered through local homecare (thuiszorg) organisations. ACCESS runs a number of popular ones, from childbirth preparation to postnatal classes. Pregnancy yoga is extremely popular, offering a variety of approaches, from gentle breathing and relaxation exercises to more energetic stretching. One of the best things about taking a class is meeting other parents-to-be and sharing experiences, information and concerns. FINDING A MIDWIFE OR OBSTETRICIAN/ GYNAECOLOGIST The majority of women giving birth in Netherlands are cared for by a midwife (verloskundige or vroedvrouw) during pregnancy and childbirth. Gynaecologists/obstetricians are part of the care process for women who have (or are expected to have) complications or multiple pregnancies. If your caregiver is a midwife, you can choose to have your baby at home (thuisbevalling) or at a hospital (poliklinische bevalling) with an assisting midwife. If your caregiver is an obstetrician then the delivery will take place in the hospital, although the specific arrangements within the hospital vary from hospital to hospital. You should register with a midwife early in your first trimester. When locating a midwife, word of mouth is best but your huisarts might be able to make a recommendation. 80

You can also visit the website of the Royal Dutch Association of Midwives ( If the supervision of an obstetrician/gynaecologist is needed, your huisarts or midwife can assist you in locating one. Few hospitals in the Netherlands have newborn intensive care units, so if complications are anticipated with the baby, it is often preferable to select a healthcare provider already located at one of those hospitals. This minimises the risk that you and your baby will end up in two different hospitals after the delivery, as well as eliminating the risks of transporting a fragile newborn to a different hospital. It is important to let your caregiver know your feelings about pain relief, as it is infrequently offered in the Netherlands but can be arranged for hospital births. While some women complain that the Dutch childbirth system is becoming too medicalised, and others that it is not medicalised enough, most are positive about 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 a week, to full-time care) and a representative will come round to discuss what is appropriate just before birth. The insurance generally covers the costs but you should confirm this. It is important to register for kraamzorg early in your pregnancy, as the nurses are sometimes in short supply. You can register online at MATERNITY LEAVE New mothers are entitled to 16 weeks paid leave in the Netherlands and fathers can take two (paid) days after the birth, after one year working in a company. During leave, mothers are entitled to 100 percent of their earnings up to a cap of EUR 198.28 per day, paid out by their employers or the Uitvoeringsinstituut Werknemers Verzekeringen (UWV). Pregnant women must take pregnancy leave (zwangerschapsverlof) from four to six weeks before their due date. After the birth, women are entitled to 10 to 12 weeks of maternity leave (bevallingsverlof), even if the child is born later than expected. Self-employed mothers are equally entitled to paid leave, but the amount depends on the hours worked in the last 12 months. Parents are also allowed to take increments of unpaid parenting leave (ouderschapsverlof) totalling six months, until a child is eight years old. As part of this, fathers are increasingly taking one day a week for child care, known as papadag. HEALTHCARE FOR CHILDREN All aspects of children’s growth and development up to 19 years old is covered by the GGD GHOR municipal health service and regional medical assistance (Gemeentelijke Gezondheidsdienst and Geneeskundige



Hulpverlening Organisatie in de Regio). On their website ( you can search for your local centre, but if you have young children, they’ll probably find you first via your registration at your local municipality. 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. Childhood immunisations in the Dutch scheme have changed often in the past 10 years. You may wish to check whether the Dutch immunisation scheme is the same as the one from your home country, especially if you expect to return while your children are still school age. Immunisations different from those on the standard plan can be arranged, although that must sometimes be done via the family doctor rather than the consultatiebureau. HEALTH CONTACTS • ACCESS: – ACCESS publishes several online information guides. • Doulas: • Homecare (thuiszorg): • Midwives: • The Royal Dutch Medical Association (KNMG): MEDICAL The emergency number for fire, police and ambulance is 112. HOSPITAL A hospital is a ziekenhuis and a complete list of hospitals and medical centres for the Netherlands can be found at

HEALTH SERVICES DENTAL PRACTICES Ivory & Ivory Dentistry | • Reguliersgracht 142, 1017 LZ Amsterdam | +31 (0)20 626 0289 • Laan van Wateringseveld 120, 2548 CC Den Haag +31 (0)70 359 9774 | wateringsevel • Heiligeweg 175, 1561 DJ Krommenie | +31 (0)75 621 4224 • Krijtwal 15, 3432 ZT Nieuwegein | +31 (0)30 605 7000 • Maliebaan 44, 3581 CS Utrecht | +31 (0)30 231 0003 Lassus Tandartsen Amsterdam • Lassusstraat 9, 1075 GV Amsterdam | +31 (0)20 471 3137 • Keizersgracht 132, 1015 CW Amsterdam | +31 (0)20 422 1912 | Tandartspraktijk Hans de Liefde • Rietwijkerstraat 52 (corner Woestduinstraat 156), 1059 XB Amsterdam | +31 (0)20 614 0053 |

PHARMACY To locate an apotheek, visit DOCTOR Don’t wait for an emergency before registering with a family doctor. Find one at EMERGENCY DOCTORS SERVICES (CENTRALE HUISARTSENPOST) • Amsterdam region (SHDA): 088 003 0600 • The Hague (SMASH): 070 346 9669 • Rotterdam: 010 290 9888 • Utrecht: 0900 450 1450 • Eindhoven: 0900 8861 National line for information on all medical services: 0900 1515 (24/7) DENTAL EMERGENCIES You can call one of the helplines below to find an out-of-hours dentist, or call your own dentist and a recorded message will inform you what to do. Many dentists provide their own emergency services. Find a dentist at • Amsterdam: 0900 821 2230 • The Hague: 070 311 0305 • Rotterdam: 010 455 2155

INSURANCE For more information about your specific situation, you can contact the following: • College for Health Insurances: 020 797 8555. • Sociale Verzekeringsbank: Under contact, type your postcode and get the phone number for your area and specific situation (for questions regarding social security).

EXPAT COACHING & THERAPY Protea Expat Therapy, Valeria Pierdominici • Amsterdam | Amstelveen | Den Haag | • De Wittenkade 192 I, 1051 AP Amsterdam | +31 (0)64 196 9497 | PsyQ International Mental Health Services | +31 (0)900 235 7797 | • Overschiestraat 61, 1062 XD Amsterdam | +31 (0)88 357 4600 • Carel Reinierszkade 197, 2593 HR The Hague | +31 (0)88 357 3478 INSURANCE PROVIDERS ONVZ Zorgverzekeraar De Molen 66, 3995 AX Houten | +31 (0)30 639 6222 | IntegraGlobal 29/30 Fitzroy Square, London, UK | +44 (0)333 405 3003 Now Health | Suite G3/4, Coliseum Building | Watchmoor Park, GU15 3YL Surrey, UK | +44 (0)127 660 2100 |





Dutch regulations make it easy for residents to choose and change suppliers. UTILITIES Often, the utilities (gas, water and electricity) will already be connected and you just need to transfer them into your name. If you are paying an inclusive rent, check your contract carefully for what is covered in the monthly sum. You can connect all your utilities online at (in Dutch), or www. offers a free service to connect expats with the best deal (in English). WATER There are two elements of 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, maintenance, etc.). To see which water company covers your area, visit and enter your postcode in the box Uw drinkwaterbedrijf, or ask at your local gemeente.

Sustainable energy by Greenchoice

Amsterdam: Waternet 0900 9394 Den Haag/Leiden: Dunea 088 347 4747 • Rotterdam: Evides: 0900 0787 • Utrecht: Vitens 0900 0650 • North Holland: PWN Waterleidingbedrijf 0900 405 0700 • •

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 sun, wind, water and biomass. Regulatory authorities ensure fair practices and tariffs. The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets ( provides a list of gas and electricity suppliers on their website, or you can use their consuWijzer (in Dutch) to compare prices or seek advice.

Why choose energy from Greenchoice? We generate our energy from Dutch wind, water, sunlight and biomass. This is not only beneficial for you as an Expatica reader, but also for the environment. If you sign up right now, you will receive an additional discount and start reducing your carbon footprint. We provide: Power from Dutch sustainable sources Carbon offsets to compensate gas emissions An additional discount for Expatica readers For more information, visit our web page and sign up within just a few minutes.

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WWW.EXPATICA.COM | THE NETHERLANDS EXPAT SURVIVAL GUIDE 2015 14007_advertentie_expat7.indd 1

18-09-14 13:51


On, you can compare prices in English and connect your services online. MAIN SUPPLIERS: • Budget Energie: • Electrabel: • Eneco: • Energie Direct: • E.ON: • Essent: • Greenchoice: • Nederlandse Energie Maatschappij: • Nuon: • Oxxio: COMMUNICATIONS There is a huge range of options from many suppliers with combination deals for telephone (bellen), internet (surfen) and TV, charged under a single monthly fee. TELEPHONES KPN is the main supplier for landlines, while Ziggo and UPC offer phone connection via cable networks. Often the easiest way to connect a landline is to visit a KPN winkel (shop) with appropriate identification and they can set it up, while some cable networks allow you to sign up online. There are many additional services such as discounts for favourite numbers, or combination deals with internet and TV. For low cost international calls, you can have calls charged via a cheaper provider. For instance, you can rent a line from KPN but direct long-distance calls through Tele2 or OneTel, 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 a cheaper option. 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 is via a contract (abonnementen) with one of the main suppliers. You can compare the latest rates on www.bellen. com (in Dutch). You’ll need proof of identity, address, income and a bank account to sign a deal. A prepaid phone is more expensive but easier to get; 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. You can call 0800 numbers toll free; 0900 numbers are charged (per call or minute). INTERNET Connectivity in the Netherlands is among the highest and fastest in Europe. All kinds of dial-up, ISDN, ADSL, and cable options are available, and can be combined with telephone and TV deals. Fiber cable (glasvezel) is available, but you may need to get your building connected; carriers generally install it free. You can compare prices and packages at It is possible to opt for a TV option from one supplier and telephone/internet from another. It can take up to a couple of weeks to set up, and you need a cable connection. There are internet cafes dotted about and many more with WiFi. Dutch libraries also provide internet for a small fee; if you are in Amsterdam, the central library ( offers free internet for members (yearly fee EUR 20) and splendid views. TELEVISION Cable TV is cheap and accessed by more than 90 percent of the population. Main providers include Ziggo and 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, and 8. You’ll also receive Veronica and Net 5 (quality films and drama including popular US serials), plus National Geographic, the Discovery Channel and popular children’s channels. Local TV channels are another option. For Amsterdam, it is AT5. Subtitling, rather than dubbing, is used except for children’s TV. For more films, sport or other interests, you can select different options for extra payment. Check out for coverage in your area (by postcode) or compare combination packages at or at any of the suppliers. You get a media box and then pay for your chosen option. CanalDigitaal is a provider of satellite TV but you will need to be able to fix a dish facing east and check there are no restrictions on satellite placement with your gemeente.




INTERNET / PHONE / TV SUPPLIERS • CanalDigitaal: • Fiber Netherlands: • KPN: • • Stipte: (formally Scarlet) • Tele2: • Telfort: • T-mobile: • UPC: • Vodafone: • Xs4all: • Ziggo:

PostNL aims to deliver locally within 24 hours, otherwise spoedservice guarantees local delivery by 10am the next day and next day delivery to Europe. In 2014, PostNL started trialling evening and Sunday deliveries for certain online shopping, including the delivery of chilled foods. See for online postal services, or call 0900 0990 (45ct) for customer service.

POST OFFICES Post offices are marked with an orange sign that says postkantoor or PostNL and generally located inside shops, newsagents or tobacconists (postagentschap). Formerly TNT, the company changed its name in 2011.

USEFUL WEBSITES • Advice: • Film: • Government: • News, information, community: • Opera: • Restaurants: • Royal family: • Telephone directory/Yellow pages: • Tourism: • Weather: • Website links (by category):

Stamps (postzegels) can be bought in all of the above places and in some of the larger supermarkets, or printed online at Postboxes are orange and scattered throughout shopping areas and neighbourhoods. On the post-box there are two slots: the right (streekpost) is for ‘local’ delivery and you’ll see a list of postcodes that indicate the areas included; the left (overige bestemmingen) is for everywhere else, including international destinations.

FURNISHING YOUR HOME Hema ( is a Dutch institution for all household matters. Blokker is cheap ( and Ikea ( has many branches across the country.

SERVICE PROVIDERS ENERGY & GAS Greenchoice – the only 100 percent sustainable energy provider of the Netherlands, with most of its energy generated in the Netherlands. Pieter de Hoochweg 108, 3024BH Rotterdam +31 (0)10 478 2326 | |


COMMUNICATIONS Elbenk Com, IPTV & Satellietontvangst Verlaatweg 72 L, 8243 PS Lelystad | +31 (0)32 021 3130 Truphone Jan van Eijcklaan 2–4, 3723 BC Bilthoven | +31 (0)30 760 0556 |




Conditions apply to foreigners driving in the Netherlands, otherwise there’s an excellent public transport system. Once you are a resident of the Netherlands (registered in the municipality database) you cannot drive a car registered in another country. You must also have a valid licence recognised by Dutch law, be at least 18, and have third party insurance. EXCHANGING A DRIVING LICENCE To exchange (omwisselen) your existing national driving licence (rijbewijs) for a Dutch one, you must fit into one of the categories below. Otherwise you can use it for 185 days after becoming a resident, during which time you need to take the 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 considered non-residents and do not need a Dutch driving licence, although non-EU nationals should check with their Dutch embassy if an international licence is required (essentially a translation of your national licence). Dutch licences are generally issued for 10 years. Foreign licences from EU/EFTA countries can be used in the Netherlands for 10 years from the date of issue, or 15 years if issued after January 2013. You may like to exchange it anyway: it is a valid proof of identity in many cases. Licenses that can be exchanged: • Austria,

Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dutch Caribbean, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, (States of) Jersey, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Isle of Man, Monaco, Netherlands Antilles, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and UK.

• Specific

licenses from Taiwan, Israel, Japan, Singapore, Andorra, South Korea, Canadian Province of Quebec.

• Residents with the 30 percent ruling status (whatever

nationality). Expat employees may also be eligible to exchange their foreign licence if the Tax Office considers them to provide specific knowledge that is either una-

vailable or rare on the Dutch labour market. Apply at a municipal office for an ‘Aanvraag omwisseling voor Nederlands rijbewijs’ form (or download it prior from — you must be registered in the municipality database for at least 185 consecutive days, and non-EU/EFTA nationals must additionally present an ‘Eigen Verklaring’ (a CBR statement of health). If you are 75 years or over you’ll need a medical examination, which the CBR may request for non-EU/ETFA/Swiss nationals also. There are fees for this. If you are applying under the 30 percent ruling you will need a statement from the tax office’s international department in Heerlen. Check with all departments if additional documentation is required for your certain situation, and if any document requires translation or authentication. You will generally forfeit your original licence (unless applying under the 30 percent ruling). You need a special licence for a bromfiets (moped), snorfiets (light moped), or brommobiel (mobility car) (unless you have a licence of the A or B category) and you must be 16 or over to get one. For all information on driving licences and tests visit or 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 by customs ( There are many implications affecting car tax calculations: 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 – you will be considered as evading the import duty on the vehicle and road tax, and risk heavy fines. All cars must be registered with the RDW (Rijksdienst voor het Wegverkeer). If you bring your vehicle from abroad, it must first be reviewed at an RDW inspection station, after which registration is handled through the same office. This means getting Dutch registration plates, registration documents and paying the BPM.




To register ownership of a Dutch-registered car, you can go to any post office or RDW–TV (Tenaamstellen Voertuigen) certified company with all the usual identification documents and a certificate of ownership, vehicle registration documents, 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.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT The Netherlands has excellent public transport links, and the swipecard payment system OV-chipkaart is the official transport payment system for the metro, bus and tram throughout the Netherlands. Paper train tickets were abolished mid-2014, and infrequent train travellers can buy a single-use chipkaart at EUR 1 extra per trip. The card system has raised residents’ concerns, particularly the need to have EUR 20 credit on the card to travel, and the extra travel cost for infrequent users.

The vehicle’s registration card (kentekencard, or bewijs) 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 insurance, check the yellow pages or other sources for suppliers of autoverzekering.

There are two types of cards (EUR 7.50): anonymous, which you can buy from the OV-chipkaart machines or station, or personal, which you can apply for online.

TRAFFIC AND PARKING 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, 120, or 130 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, or Many 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 the car-sharing scheme Green Wheels is a popular option ( CONTACTS • The Department of Road Transport:, 0900 0739, or +31 (0)59 839 3330 (abroad) • Information • Theory

on driving licences:

and driving tests:, 0900 0210

• ‘Road

Traffic Signs and Regulations’ brochure: do a search on to download

• Common

traffic offences:

Driving section updated with the help of Michael Davidson of The International Driving School of The Netherlands (


Your pass can be loaded from one of the OV-chipkaart machines strategically placed at train and metro stations, or you can arrange for your personal card to ‘load’ automatically from a bank account. You pay for the distance travelled by swiping it upon entering and leaving your transport station. Personal products, such as season or discount tickets, can be loaded to your personal OV-chipkaart and you are automatically eligible for discounts. The OV-chipkaart website ( also has an English language section where you can find lines of action should you lose your card or forget to swipe out (you will automatically be charged the maximum travel price but refunds can be requested). Helpline: 0900 0980 (EUR 0.50/min) or @OVchipkaart. TRAIN The Nederlandse Spoorwegen ( is the national train company. NS offers season tickets and discounts for off-peak travel (dal voordeel abonnement), which include up to 40 percent discount off the price of your tickets and up to three people travelling with you. See a NS counter or online for more information. Tickets are checked regularly and fines are heavy. You need an OV-chipkaart to travel on the NS. Make sure you have a minimum EUR 20 uploaded on your card (EUR 10 if you have a discount pass), and that you swipe out on arrival or your travel costs could triple. If you forget to swipe out, you have up to six hours to go back and check out, otherwise you must claim back the added costs. Call 030 751 5155 for help with claims. For certain cities, you can organise the NS Zonetaxi when you buy your train ticket. This is a door-to-door taxi service at fixed prices, for up to four people (starting at EUR 6).



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The emergency number for police, ambulance or fire is 112. The pan-European 112 emergency operators will speak English. You will be asked for the address and city where you are calling from and the nature of the emergency. For information on emergency situations (noodsituaties) in the Netherlands, visit the government site Residents can also subscribe to the government mobile alert service (, which will send a text message regarding any emergencies in your area.

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; find yours at by typing your postcode in the box under Uw drinkwaterbedrijf. For other situations that are your responsibility, search the yellow pages (gouden gids) for a loodgieter (plumber).

POLICE The non-emergency number is 0900 8844. 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.). Visit for information.

SIREN For acute danger, a siren will sound in the affected area(s) and signals for people to head indoors. Information about the disaster or emergency will be published on However, it should be noted that each municipality tests their siren the first Monday of every month at 12pm.

FIRE You can find information on Dutch fire services at AMBULANCE In emergency medical situations you can call an ambulance. You can also visit A&E but if a doctor could have treated the situation, you may be charged for this or refused treatment without a referral. For non-threatening issues, you should first contact your local doctor or find your closest out-of-hours medical clinic (huisartsenpost). USEFUL PHRASES FOR EMERGENCIES Call an ambulance: Bel een ambulance Call the police: Bel de politie

ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS | National: 020 625 6057 ANIMAL EMERGENCIES Also provides a shelter for animals seeking new homes. National: 070 328 2828 GAY & LESBIAN SWITCHBOARD | National: 020 623 6565 HELPLINE FOR CHILDREN AND TEENAGERS | 0800 0432

Call the fire brigade: Bel de brandweer

SOS 24-HOUR HELPLINE Staffed by Dutch volunteers but many speak English.

Get/call a doctor: Haal/bel een dokter | 0900 0767 (5ct/min)

I am ill: Ik ben ziek

LOST AND STOLEN: • American Express: 020 504 8000 (national) • MasterCard: 0800 022 5821 • VISA: 0800 022 3110 • Schiphol lost property: 0900 0141 (40ct/min) • NS (rail) lost property: 0900 321 2100 (80ct/min) • GVB (bus and tram) lost property: 0900 8011 (2.76ct/min)

GAS AND ELECTRICAL EMERGENCIES If you suspect a gas leak (gaslucht) or have a power problem (stroomstoring) you can call the national line 0800 9009; for serious emergencies posing a public threat, call 112. See for details.


HELPLINES ACCESS: Invaluable resource for all international residents. 0900 222 2377 (20ct/min) | |




Many activities exist for the Netherlands’ thriving expat community. PUBLIC HOLIDAYS There are a few regional variations for Dutch public holidays, except for the orange madness of King’s Day, which takes over the whole country. Carnival is also celebrated in February and March in Catholic areas. Sinterklaas [Not an official holiday] Friday, 5 December 2014 (Sint arrives in the Netherlands on Saturday, 15 November.) Christmas Day (Eerste Kerstdag) Thursday, 25 December 2014

FESTIVALS • Rotterdam International Film Festival

This festival has built an international reputation over three decades for presenting quality independent films. Late January–early February | • Carnival (Mardi Gras), Maastricht

This historic Dutch town stages one of Europe’s biggest and most lively carnivals | February | • Opening of Keukenhof Gardens, near Lisse

The greatest flower show on earth blooms at this 32-hectare (80-acre) garden in the heart of the bulb country. March |

Boxing Day (Tweede Kerstdag) Friday, 26 December 2014

• Flower Parade (Bloemencorso), Noordwijk to Haarlem

New Year’s Day (Nieuwjaarsdag) Thursday, 1 January 2015 Good Friday (Goede Vrijdag) [Not an official holiday] Friday, 3 April 2015 Easter Sunday/Monday (Pasen) Sunday/Monday, 5/6 April 2015 King’s Day (Koningendag) Monday, 27 April 2015

A procession with giant floats made of flowers make their way in a 25-mile route, complete with music and performers. April–early May | • The Hague Festival

This is the umbrella name for several huge festive multidisciplinary art events, more than 200 in fact. May/June | • North Sea Jazz Festival, Rotterdam

National Remembrance Day (Dodenherdenking) [Not an official holiday] Monday, 4 May 2015 Liberation Day (Bevrijdingsdag) Tuesday, 5 May 2015 [Official holiday every 5 years. Next: 2020] Ascension (Hemelvaart) Thursday, 14 May 2015

The jazz festival began in 1976 and includes more than 1,000 local and international performers in one of the highlights of the jazz calendar | July | • Amsterdam Gay Pride

This festival attracts more than 150,000 people who turn up to watch the boat parade of 100 or so outrageously decorated boats on the canals | August | • Amsterdam Canal Festival (Grachtenfestival)

Whitsun (Pinksteren) Sunday, 24 May and Monday, 25 May 2015 School holidays > Wanneer zijn de schoolvakanties?

This classical music festival showcases concerts in unique architectural venues of historic and cultural value, plus there is a children’s festival (Kindergrachtenfestival). Mid–late August |




GROUPS AND CLUBS ADVICE AND INFORMATION ACCESS: Voorschoten: • Play sessions for toddlers:

• Helpdesk: 0900 222 2377 (20ct/min) |


Expatriate Archive Centre:

• Amsterdam American Business Club (AABC):


• Australian Business in Europe:

Passionate Parenting (information and seminars): Growing up bilingual: Almere • ABCDE – Almere Baby Club for Dutch and English: Amsterdam • Childbirth preparation courses: • International playgroup: • The Playgroup: • Amsterdam Mamas:

Brabant • Portal for expats and kids:

Delft • Delft Maternity and Motherhood Assistance:

• Connecting Women (The Hague): • European Professional Women’s Network (Amsterdam

chapter): • Junior Chamber International (Amsterdam): • Netherlands British Chamber of Commerce: • Rotary Club Utrecht International: • Society of English-Native-Speaking Editors: • Toastmasters of the Netherlands:

CULTURE & MEDIA • Anglo American Theatre Group (Den Haag): • InPlayers (Amsterdam): • STET – Stichting The English Theatre (Den Haag): • International Drama Group of English-Speaking Associates

(IDEA) (Dordrecht): • Reading Circle Eindhoven (RCE) (Eindhoven):

Den Haag

• Easylaughs (Amsterdam):

• Birth preparation/baby massage:


• International childcare centre:

Eindhoven • International play sessions:

Haarlem • English Speaking Haarlem contact group:

Leiden • Vogelwijk playgroup:

Rotterdam • English-speaking family contact group:

• COC Amsterdam: • Gay Amsterdam: • Gay Tourist Information Centre: • PinkPoint (gay information centre):

CLUBS BY NATIONALITY Australia: • Australians abroad in Holland: • Australian and New Zealand Club of the Netherlands:

Voorhout: • International parent and toddler group:




Expand your dating horizons. Register for FREE at:




• Alliance Francaise:

• American Women’s Club of Amsterdam:

• Amsterdam Accueil:

• American Netherlands Club of Rotterdam:

India: • India in Nederland:

Ireland: • Irish Club:

Latin America: • CLO Stichting – El Centro Latinoamericano de Orientacion: New Zealand: • New Zealand’s Global Network:

Singapore: • Singapore Netherlands Association: Spain: • La Asociacion Hispanica de La Haya:

South Africa: • The SA Club in the Netherlands:

UK: • British Society of Amsterdam: • British Club of The Hague: • St Andrew’s Society: • American Women’s Club of The Hague: • International Women’s Club Breda: • International Women’s Club Eindhoven: • International Women’s Club South Limburg: • International Women’s Contact Amsterdam: www. • International Women’s Contact Utrecht: • International Women’s Contact The Hague: • Mom2Mom and women’s church groups: • North American Women’s Club of Eindhoven: • Petroleum Wives Club of The Hague: • Pickwick Women’s Club of Rotterdam: • Women’s Business Initiative:

CHURCHES & RELIGIOUS SOCIETIES • Christ Church, Amsterdam (international Anglican

churches): | Locations: Amsterdam city centre, Amsterdam Zuid, Amsterdam Zuidoost. • Christ Church, North Holland:


• Crossroads International Church:

• Amnesty International:


• Democrats Abroad: • Republicans Abroad:

SOCIAL • Amsterdam Expat Meetup Group: • Eindhoven expat group: • English Speaking Haarlem (contact group): • Expatica Forum: • Expatica Date: • Expats in Amsterdam: • Legal Aliens:

• Serve the City Amsterdam: • Serve the city Netherlands: • Volunteer Centre Amsterdam:

EXPAT NEWS & PUBLICATIONS • | | • Mark Media & Art

Little Kingdom by the Sea | • Stuff Dutch People Like | • XPat Media

Van Boetzelaerlaan 153, 2581 AR The Hague +31 (0)70 306 3310 |

• Leiden Expats:






• ABC The American Book Center

• Easylaughs

Amsterdam | Spui 12 | +31 (0)20 625 5537 | The Hague | Lange Poten 23 | +31 (0)70 364 2742 | • Waterstones Booksellers

Kalverstraat 152,1012 XE Amsterdam | +31 (0)20 638 3821 | @watamsterdam FOOD & DRINK • Eating Amsterdam Tours

Prinsengracht 2, 1017 DV Amsterdam +31 (0)20 894 3068 | • Gardner Kookt

+31 (0)62 244 6985 | @GardnerKookt | • Hard Rock Café

• House of Bols: The cocktail and genever experience

Opposite Van Gogh Museum, Paulus Potterstraat 14, Amsterdam +31 (0)20 570 8575 | • Reypenaer Cheese Tasting Room

Singel 182, 1015 AJ Amsterdam | +31 (0)20 320 6333 |

• EYE Film

IJpromenade 1, 1031 KT Amsterdam | +31 (0)20 589 1400 | • North Sea Jazz Club

Westergasfabriek, Pazzanistraat 1, 1014 DB Amsterdam +31 (0)20 722 0980 | • Stadsschouwburg & Philharmonie Haarlem

Philharmonie Lange Begijnestraat 11, 2011 HH Haarlem Stadsschouwburg Wilsonsplein 23, 2011 VG Haarlem +31 (0)23 512 1212 | TOURISM & ACTIVITIES • Amsterdam Castle Muiderslot | Rijksmuseum Muiderslot

Max Euweplein 57–61, 1017 MA Amsterdam +31 (0)20 523 7611 |

• Taco Gallery, Mexican Cooking |

Herengracht 1, 1398 AA Muiden | +31 (0)29 425 6262 | • Bleekemolens Race Planet

Amsterdam | Delft | Mijdrecht | Zandvoort Herwijk 10, 1046 BC Amsterdam | +31 (0)20 611 1120 | WRITING • Amsterdam Writing Workshops

+31 (0) 62 502 0817 |





Stop by’s Employment section for information on work permits, management culture, applying for a job, and more. Check out our LISTINGS at:




ABN AMRO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23, 39

Maastricht Region . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29


Madison Parker International . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65

Amsterdam House Hunting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20

MarkMedia & Art . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58

Amsterdam International Community School . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49

MMS Worldwide Institute . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67


Mountbatten Institute

Amsterdam Beautiful Property Rental

Bimbola Childcare




Blacktower Financial Management Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41

Muiderslot Castle

Blue umbrella . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18,40



NOVA Relocation

Copernica Marketing Software . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66




. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9


Corporate Housing Company . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . back cover

ONVZ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74


Oya’s Childcare . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15

De Thijmse Berg. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37


Deutsche Internationale Schule den Haag . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56

Praktijk Hans de Liefde . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75


Projob . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67

DTS Duijn’s Tax Solutions





. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87,

inside back cover

Race Planet. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

easyNL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59

Regina Coeli Language Institute . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59

Eurohome Relocation Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . inside front cover

RelocAid Relocation and Immigration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

European Investment Bank . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66

Rotterdam International Secondary School . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51

European School of Mol. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53

Rotterdam School of Management – Erasmus University . . . . . . . 61

European University Business School. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55


. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5

Smeets Gijbels. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

Expatdesk Rotterdam . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33, 34, 35

Sonar Appartementen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31

Expatax . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69


Expatcenter Amsterdam

Expatica Share Your Experiences. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60

The British School of Amsterdam . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

Expatica Date . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91

The Holland Handbook

Expatica Job . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95

The Little Gym . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48

Expatica Live.Work.Love . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97,98

The Mobile Life . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71


TopTaal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59

Gifted Minds International School . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52

The Windmill Preschool . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50

Greenchoice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82

Twente Branding . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72





Havaa Apartments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37

Undutchables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63


United International Business Schools. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58

How to be Orange . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71

University of Amsterdam . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55



International School of Amsterdam . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49

V@AMSTERDAM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

International School Breda . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52


International School Utrecht . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47

Witlox International Tax Advice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42

International School of The Hague . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54




International School Hilversum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51

XPAT Journal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71

Ivory & Ivory. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76

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, cafe, bar, or restaurant frequented by expats, and would like to distribute the Expat Survival Guide, then please contact us at to order your free guides. Delivery is also free within the Netherlands.

K Kellogg WHU . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60

L Lassus Tandartsen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77, 78 LCO Partners. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7



MovingiN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19


Once the practical aspects are dealt with, life in your new country can really begin. Exploring and settling in brings its own set of joys and challenges, and provides you all the information you need to happily live, work and love in the Netherlands.













BELGIUM From Amsterdam (Noord-Holland) The Hague (South Holland) Eindhoven (North Brabant) Groningen (Groningen) Amsterdam Amsterdam

To Rotterdam (South Holland) Utrecht (Utrecht) Tilburg (North Brabant) Almere-Stad (Flevoland) Brussels (Belgium) Paris (France)

Distance (km) 57.74 56.3 29.64 131.06 207 500





The Dutch cliché rings true: Museums, tulips and windmills number in the thousands in the Netherlands, and that’s only the start of sights to see!’s Lifestyle section covers cultural sights, restaurants and activities in the Netherlands to get you out, about and active! Raw herring not to your taste? Dutch food offers an array of interesting and international cuisine, and you can never beat getting Gouda and Edam from the source. Check out the top Dutch foods on



The Ranstad and Eindhoven are hotspots for internationals but with the Netherlands’s advantage of short daily commutes and good connections, it’s not uncommon to live and work in different regions. Travel from Amsterdam to the Hague or Utrecht in just 30–40 minutes.



Wouldn’t it be great to find one centralised location for jobs relating to international workers in the Netherlands? See who’s hiring on Expatica’s job search portal: http://jobs.





Is staring incessantly flirty or freaky? Should you dress-up or dress-down? And will you be expected to ‘go Dutch’? Push your love life in the right direction with’s articles and surveys on expat dating etiquette. Finding love in a foreign country can be challenging when you don’t know the game rules. Meet like-minded singles on Expatica’s online dating site for expats: netherlandsdating.



This is generation easyJet.

The fastest and sharpest priced routes ‘back home’. flights from Schiphol

€32 from

* Flight prices one way per person based on 2 or 4 people travelling on the same booking. Includes admin fee, airport and credit card payment taxes. Additional charges for baggage. Available to book now. See for details.

Serviced Apartments the easy way!

corporate housing factory properties available across the Netherlands +31 (0)88 11 69 500

bookings @

Corporate housing factory is the serviced apartment provider nationwide in the Netherlands. We help you find a comfortable home for short, medium or longer stays. High quality corporate housing We want you to experience corporate housing the way we think it should be, with our experience, professional staff, services and partners. With a variety of flavors we can make your or your employee’s stay an unforgettable one. Serviced Apartments Our serviced apartments are fully furnished, energy and internet included and combined with services and facilities providing you comfort, sport and relaxation. Ideal for a temporary stay in the Netherlands without the usual worries or hassle. We offer our serviced apartments from one week onwards. Comfortably located as a ‘hub’ for frequently doing business and still being able to enjoy life in the vibrant cities of the Netherlands!

Please do not hesitate to explore your wishes with our team and line up for a care free experience. Check our website:

NL Survival Guide 2015  

The Expat Survival Guide assists your first essential steps: finding a home and job, organising permits, setting up finances and healthcare,...