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Living in the Netherlands: a guide to moving to the Netherlands as an expat



Living in the Netherlands: a guide to moving to the Netherlands as an expat. Are you considering moving to the Netherlands as an expat? If so, you might be wondering what life is like in this small but vibrant country in the heart of Europe.


The Netherlands is known for its liberal and progressive values, its picturesque canals and tulip fields, its innovative and creative industries, and its friendly and welcoming people.

However, moving to a new country also comes with its challenges and surprises, and you need to be prepared for the practical and cultural aspects of living in the Netherlands as an expat.


In this blog post, we will give you an overview of some of the most important things you need to know before moving to the Netherlands as an expat, such as:


- How to get a visa and a residence permit

- How to find a place to live and how much it costs

- How to get health insurance and access health care

- How to open a bank account and manage your finances

- How to get around by bike, public transport, or car

- How to find a job and deal with taxes

- How to learn the language and integrate into the society

- How to enjoy the culture and the lifestyle


Visa and residence permit

The first thing you need to know before moving to the Netherlands as an expat is what kind of visa and residence permit you need. This depends on your nationality, your purpose of stay, and your duration of stay. If you are from the EU/EEA or Switzerland, you can enter and stay in the Netherlands without a visa, but you need to register with the local municipality if you stay longer than four months. You also need to have a valid passport or ID card, a proof of sufficient income, and a health insurance.


If you are from outside the EU/EEA or Switzerland, you may need a short-stay visa (up to 90 days) or a long-stay visa (more than 90 days) to enter the Netherlands, depending on your country of origin. You also need a residence permit to stay in the Netherlands, which you can apply for at the Dutch embassy or consulate in your home country, or at the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) in the Netherlands. There are different types of residence permits, depending on your situation, such as:


- Highly skilled migrant permit: for expats who have a job offer from a recognised sponsor and meet certain income and education criteria


- Work permit: for expats who have a job offer from a Dutch employer and need the employer to apply for the permit on their behalf


- Family permit: for expats who have a spouse, partner, or child who is a Dutch citizen or a resident


- Study permit: for expats who have been admitted to a Dutch educational institution and have sufficient funds and health insurance


- Entrepreneur permit: for expats who want to start or run a business in the Netherlands and have a viable business plan and sufficient capital



Finding a place to live and the cost of living

The second thing you need to know before moving to the Netherlands as an expat is how to find a place to live and how much it costs. The Netherlands is a densely populated country, and the housing market is very competitive, especially in the major cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, and Utrecht. The demand for housing is high, while the supply is low, which drives up the prices and the waiting lists. You can choose to rent or buy a house or an apartment, depending on your budget and preference. You can also choose to live in a shared accommodation, such as a student dorm, a flatshare, or a co-living space, which can be cheaper and more social.


The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the Netherlands is around €1,000 per month, but it can vary significantly depending on the location, size, and quality of the property. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Amsterdam is around €1,500 per month, while in Groningen it is around €700 per month. The average price for buying a house in the Netherlands is around €350,000, but again, it can vary widely depending on the location, size, and quality of the property. The average price for buying a house in Amsterdam is around €550,000, while in Nijmegen it is around €250,000.


The cost of living in the Netherlands is relatively high compared to other European countries, but it also comes with a high standard of living and a range of benefits and services. The main expenses for expats living in the Netherlands are:


- Housing: rent or mortgage, utilities, internet, TV, and phone

- Food: groceries, eating out, and delivery

- Transport: bike, public transport, car, or taxi

- Health: health insurance, medical fees, and prescriptions

- Education: tuition fees, books, and supplies

- Leisure: entertainment, culture, sports, and travel


The average monthly cost of living for a single person in the Netherlands is around €1,500, excluding rent. The average monthly cost of living for a family of four in the Netherlands is around €4,000, excluding rent. You can find more information about the cost of living in the Netherlands


Getting health insurance and accessing health care

The third thing you need to know before moving to the Netherlands as an expat is how to get health insurance and access health care. Health insurance is mandatory for everyone who lives or works in the Netherlands, and you need to register with a Dutch health insurance provider within four months of arriving in the country, or you may face a fine. The basic health insurance covers most of the essential medical services, such as GP visits, hospital care, prescriptions, and maternity care. However, you may also want to purchase additional insurance for dental care, physiotherapy, alternative medicine, or other services that are not covered by the basic insurance.


The health care system in the Netherlands is of high quality and efficiency, and you can access it by making an appointment with your GP, who will refer you to a specialist or a hospital if needed. You can also visit a pharmacy, a dentist, or an emergency department, depending on your situation. You usually need to pay a deductible (eigen risico) of €385 per year for the basic health insurance, which means you pay the first €385 of your medical expenses yourself, and the rest is covered by your insurance. You may also need to pay a co-payment (eigen bijdrage) for some services that are partially covered by your insurance, such as glasses, hearing aids, or ambulance transport.


Opening a bank account and managing your finances

The fourth thing you need to know before moving to the Netherlands as an expat is how to open a bank account and manage your finances. Banking is easy and convenient in the Netherlands, as long as you have a valid residence permit and a proof of address. You can open a bank account with any of the major banks in the Netherlands, such as ABN AMRO, ING, Rabobank, or SNS Bank. You can also use online banking, mobile banking, or ATMs to manage your money and transactions.


The currency in the Netherlands is the euro (€), and the exchange rate is around €1 = £0.86 or $1.18 as of April 2024. The Netherlands has a progressive tax system, which means that the more you earn, the more you pay. The income tax rates range from 9.45% to 49.5%, depending on your income bracket. You also need to pay social security contributions, which cover your pension, unemployment, disability, and health care.


Getting around by bike, public transport, or car

The fifth thing you need to know before moving to the Netherlands as an expat is how to get around by bike, public transport, or car. The Netherlands is a cycling nation, and biking is the most popular and common mode of transport in the country. The Netherlands has a bike-friendly culture and infrastructure, with dedicated bike lanes, traffic lights, parking facilities, and rental services. You can buy or rent a bike, or use a bike-sharing service, to explore the city and the countryside. You can find out more about cycling in the Netherlands [here].

Public transport is also efficient and reliable in the Netherlands, and you have many options to travel within and between cities. You can use trains, buses, trams, and metros, which are operated by different companies, but use a unified payment system. You can buy a public transport card, called OV-chipkaart, to pay for your fares. You can also use taxis, car-sharing, or car-rental services, if you prefer more convenience and flexibility.


If you want to drive in the Netherlands, you need to have a valid driving licence, a car insurance, and a vehicle registration. You can use your foreign driving licence for up to six months after arriving in the country, but after that you may need to exchange it for a Dutch one, depending on your country of origin.

Finding a job and dealing with taxes

The Netherlands has a strong and diverse economy, with sectors such as agriculture, trade, technology, finance, and tourism. The Netherlands also has a competitive and innovative business environment, with many multinational companies and startups. The Netherlands also has a flexible and balanced work culture, with an average of 36 hours per week, generous leave policies, and a focus on work-life balance. As an expat working in the Netherlands, you need to pay income tax and social security contributions, as mentioned above. However, you may also be eligible for a tax benefit called the 30% ruling, which allows you to receive 30% of your salary tax-free, if you meet certain criteria, such as having a specific skill or expertise, earning above a minimum threshold, and living more than 150 km away from the Dutch border before moving to the Netherlands. Learning the language and integrating into the society The official language of the Netherlands is Dutch, which is spoken by most of the population. However, many people also speak English, as well as other languages, such as German, French, or Turkish. Learning Dutch can help you integrate better into the society, communicate more effectively, and access more opportunities. You can learn Dutch by taking classes, using online resources, or practicing with native speakers. The Dutch society is tolerant and outward-looking, but also pragmatic and direct. The Dutch value honesty, equality, and individuality, but also respect, cooperation, and consensus. The Dutch are generally friendly and helpful, but also reserved and private. The Dutch have a strong sense of humour, but also a sense of irony and sarcasm. The Dutch enjoy a high quality of life, but also a simple and modest lifestyle.


Enjoying the culture and the lifestyle

The Netherlands has a rich and varied culture, which is reflected in its architecture, art, literature, and music. The Netherlands has a rich and varied culture, which is reflected in its architecture, art, literature, and music. The Netherlands has a long and fascinating history, which has influenced its cultural heritage and identity. The Netherlands is also home to many famous artists, writers, musicians, and thinkers, such as Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Anne Frank, Erasmus, and Spinoza. You can explore and enjoy the culture of the Netherlands by visiting its museums, galleries, libraries, and monuments. You can also attend its festivals, events, and performances, which celebrate its diversity and creativity.


The Netherlands also has a vibrant and lively lifestyle, which offers many opportunities for fun and relaxation. The Netherlands is known for its social and recreational activities, such as cycling, boating, camping, and skating. The Netherlands is also known for its nightlife, which ranges from cosy pubs and cafes to trendy clubs and bars. The Netherlands is also known for its cuisine, which is influenced by its international and multicultural influences. You can taste and enjoy the food and drinks of the Netherlands by visiting its markets, restaurants, and coffee shops. You can also try some of its specialties, such as cheese, stroopwafels, herring, and bitterballen.


Conclusion

We hope this blog post has given you a brief but comprehensive overview of living in the Netherlands as an expat. The Netherlands is a wonderful country to live in, with its high quality of life, diverse culture, innovation and creativity, and international connections. However, moving to a new country also requires some preparation and adaptation, and you need to be aware of the practical and cultural aspects of living in the Netherlands as an expat.


If you have any questions or need any help with your relocation process, please feel free to contact us. We are a professional and reliable website that provides information and support for expats moving to the Netherlands.


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