Frequently Asked Questions
According to the World Happiness Report, the Netherlands are the 5th best country in the world to live and work in. This is due, for example, to our general prosperity, education, public transport https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_transport_in_the_Netherlands, care system, best pension system and our very well maintained (number 3 in the world) road network. Besides all this, it is of course a great bonus that the Dutch generally speak very good English. That makes it easy to feel at home here really quickly.
Compared to most countries, the workload in the Netherlands is not very high. We think your time is rightly yours. Which means that, especially in IT, there’s little overtime. And if you do overtime it’s never paid. If your employer often asks you to do overtime, you can object. In the Netherlands we like to be direct and rarely beat around the bush. Working hours are 8 hours a day plus 30 minutes of unpaid break. Most employers want you to work in the office, but they usually allow you to work from home one day a week. In most companies in the Netherlands there’s not a lot of hierarchy, so we generally address everyone by their first name.
First of all, it is important to register with the municipality, so as to get a BSN number. With this BSN number, you can then arrange health insurance, open a bank account, and you also need it to get paid your salary.
Yes and no. In the Netherlands, rich and poor are not far apart, we are a very social country. The tax scales are progressive, so the more you earn, the higher the percentage of income tax you have to pay. As an expat in the Netherlands you can use the 30% scheme, where the last 30% of the income can be paid untaxed. This saves €600.00 net per month! That makes your salary a lot higher than that of a Dutch colleague. And your income is likely to be above average. You can find more information about the 30% scheme on the website of the Tax Office.
Anyone who will earn more than €60,000 gross and works at a company that can sponsor them (Recognized Sponsor) is eligible for the Highly Skilled Migrant status. This also ensures a visa for each family member and allows your partner to work anywhere without restrictions. The process is quite simple and takes about 3 weeks from the date of application. Find more information here.
There are several things to take into account, i.e. rent, gas, water & electricity, internet+TV, local taxes and insurance. Roughly speaking, rent for a furnished apartment for one person is €1,400 for a studio, for 2 people €1,550 for a 1-bedroom apartment, or € 1,650 for a 2-bedroom apartment. Gas, water & electricity are about €120 and Internet+TV about €50. Groceries from the supermarket aren’t expensive, calculate €50 – €75 per person per week, but there are families in the Netherlands who have to shop for 4 people for €50 per week. Insurance (health insurance + liability insurance) costs around €110 per month.
There’s one site that’s the best for searching for houses and apartments: Pararius, where only legitimate real estate agents can put up houses and apartments to rent. This ensures that you won’t be ripped off. The deposit is generally twice the monthly rent and you’ll get it back when you leave. Don’t try to rent the cheapest apartments, it usually means that there’s something dodgy going on. When you’re sure that you want to stay here for a longer period of time, the best option is to buy a house. This will save a lot in the costs and you’ll build up an extra savings pot, because of the compulsory mortgage repayments in the Netherlands.
Everyone has mandatory basic insurance with a private health insurer. This costs around €105 per month and there is a compulsory excess of €385 per year. The excess does not apply to visits to your regular GP.
For food you basically go to the supermarket. You’ll find several large supermarkets in each town or village. The best-known supermarkets are Albert Heijn, Jumbo, Plus Supermarket, Dirk van den Broek, but we also have many discount supermarkets like Lidl and Aldi. These are almost always within walking distance. In addition, the Netherlands has a very prolific nightlife with a wide variety of restaurants and bars of every price level. Menus practically everywhere are also in English.
The Netherlands is not a car-friendly country, because of the high road tax and compulsory liability insurance. Petrol prices are mostly made up of excise duties and therefore quite high. Public transport on the other hand is very good and easy. We have a general public transport chip card, which you can use for any kind of public transport. www.9292.nl is the website where you can check all public transport routes!
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