Working in the Netherlands – 4 Things you need to know

During the summer school we see a lot of students who are working or are wanting to work in the Netherlands.

What is important for you if you want to work in the Netherlands?

In this blog I will tell you the 4  things you need to know before you work there and also when working in the Netherlands .

Let’s start with one very important aspect of working in the Netherlands. Because before you start looking for a job, you might need a visa or a permit

  1. What permit do I need for working in the Netherlands?

There isn’t one universal answer for this question. In most cases, if you want to work in the Netherlands, you need a residence permit, also called an MVV (Machtiging tot Voorlopig Verblijf, Authorization for Provisional Stay). 

An MVV is a provisional residence permit that allows you to enter the Netherlands as a potential resident instead of a tourist.

The Immigration and Naturalization Service, Immigratie en Naturalisatiedienst (IND), is the Dutch government agency that handles the admission of foreigners in the Netherlands. It is the organization that tells you what you have to do to get the MVV.

So if you want to know what specific permit you require for your situation, you should visit IND’s website.

There are a lot of exceptions in this matter. For example, if you work for a big company, or you are a highly skilled worker you can obtain a residence permit that authorizes you to work, without requiring a separate work permit.

Also rules for self-employed and freelance workers or graduates and students are different.

  1. Recruitment agencies

Now you have your permits, but what about a job?                 

There are a lot of recruitment agencies. And, especially in the big cities, there are quite a few that focus on English speaking people. For the last few of years the Dutch economy has been doing well and jobs are easier to find these days.

One advantage for English speaking foreigners: there are many jobs in the Netherlands for educated English speakers. This is because big companies often use English as the working language .

But don’t forget. Although the work communication is mostly in English, it’s very important to learn Dutch. Not only for socializing with colleagues or clients but it also makes a good impression.

What can you expect financially when you work in the Netherlands?

  1. Salaries

Salaries in the Netherlands are average if you compare it to the rest of Europe. They are higher than in Italy and France, but lower than in England and Germany.

The way the Dutch tax system (De Belastingdienst) works is that the more you earn, the more taxes you pay. Filing taxes can be a difficult task, even for Dutch people. As a foreigner this might be a long and frustrating process, also because they are not always allowed to speak English with you.

  1. Flexible working hours and locations

The Dutch are amongst the most flexible workers in Europe. This means that it’s pretty common not to have set time schedules and hours.  Also, it is common for Dutch employees to work four days a week. And they still call it full-time…

Besides the fact that it’s getting more and more uncommon to clock in and out at the same time every day, the place where you work varies more. People are working more from home or from an open office.

Job interview

Preparing for a job in the Netherlands, and a job interview is essential here. I designed a lesson for this. This lesson does not give you the vocabulary to do the whole job interview in Dutch. Nevertheless, it is recommended to learn the words well.

Working culture?

So you’re about to start? But you don’t know what working in the Netherlands is like? In my next blog I will tell you everything you need to know about the working culture in the Netherlands.

Bart de Pau
online Dutch teacher & founder of the Dutch Summer School & Dutch Winter School