If you are a newcomer to the Netherlands or you are about to relocate, there are many things that you need to consider and manage: from ploughing through the Dutch bureaucracy to finding a suitable place to live. Some things may be similar to your home country, but some may be vastly different. To help you along your way we have prepared a list of useful websites to assist you with navigating your way through expat life in the Netherlands.
Registration in the city hall
One of the first steps that you should take when you move to the Netherlands, is to register in the city hall. Below you can find links for the official websites of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht municipality. If you do not live near these cities, you should search for the official website of the nearest city hall.
Once you register, you’ll receive a Burgerservicenummer (BSN), the Citizen Service Number. Having a BSN is mandatory for every citizen in the Netherlands. It facilitates interactions not only with government institutions but also banks and health insurance companies.
Another important task is to make your DigiD account. You will use the username and password for this account to log in on websites of many Dutch administrative institutions, such as the Dutch tax authorities.
Other government institutions
If you are a non-EU citizen, a mandatory stop-shop for you is the Immigratie en Naturalisatiedienst (IND) or Immigration and Naturalisation Service. Everything regarding your visa, work and residence permit will be handled by the IND.
You can also make an account with the UWV, the Dutch Employment Agency. You can check out open vacancies, information on unemployment benefits, sick leave and more.
The final government institution that you should be aware of and contact is the Dutch tax authorities. This is the official website of the Belastingdienst.
One of the biggest concerns for every expat is finding accommodation. It is important to be aware that there is enormous competition for accommodation in ‘the Randstad’ area which includes the biggest Dutch cities. There is a lack of supply of affordable housing and demand is high. If you arrive from abroad and do not know the housing market it can be quite challenging to find a suitable place to live. International workers transferred to the Netherlands by their employer may receive assistance, but if you do not have this luxury you will need to find your own accommodation. You can take a look at these online platforms connect landlords and tenants:
Housing Anywhere: https://housinganywhere.com/
Bear in mind that some of these platforms do request users to pay a fee.
You can also look for a rental agency that can provide you with a personalized service to meet your housing needs.
Amsterdam Housing: https://www.amsterdamhousing.com/en/home
Perfect Housing: https://www.perfecthousing.com
27 House Makelaars: https://www.27huis.nl/en-gb
Koops Makelaardij: https://koopsmakelaardij.nl/tenant/expats.html
AT Home Vastgoed https://www.athomevastgoed.nl/en/rental-listing
Sonar Apartments: https://www.sonarappartementen.nl/en
Lutz Real Estate: https://www.lutzrealestate.nl/en/home
VGW Housing: https://www.vgwhousing.nl/32-e456/woonruimte-huren
Note that housing agencies will also charge a fee. This can vary from a couple of hundred euros to one month’s rent or, in some cases, even more.
As an expat, you probably have many questions on how to arrange your life in the Netherlands. Luckily, there are organizations and media platforms dedicated to helping the expat community. The links below lead to lots more information about expat news, and cultural and professional events for expats.
Although Dutch people cycle a lot, and you might too, it is important to get to know your way around public transportation. Here you can find useful information about public transportation schedules and purchasing tickets.
In a case you, your partner or children want to study in the Netherlands, check these websites of recognized higher educational institutions:
The Dutch organisation for internationalisation in education https://www.nuffic.nl/en/
Erasmus University Rotterdam https://www.eur.nl/en
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam https://www.vu.nl/en/
University of Amsterdam http://www.uva.nl/en/home
Utrecht University https://www.uu.nl/en
Expat groups on Facebook
Facebook groups can be an excellent place to get information from fellow expats about specific questions you may have, whether it be a recommendation for the best internet provider or legal advice:
Expat Republic Amsterdam: https://www.facebook.com/groups/expatrepublic/about/
Expats in The Hague (Den Haag): https://www.facebook.com/groups/2406969948/
Expats Utrecht: https://www.facebook.com/groups/expatsutrecht/
Amsterdam Expats Online Market: https://www.facebook.com/groups/537891686266921/about/
Once you have worked through all the paperwork, found a place to live and are feeling a little more settled you will have more time to really enjoy and appreciate the Netherlands. If you are looking for a job in the Netherlands and would like some assistance to find the right position for you then check out our vacancies, and feel free to apply.