We’ve previously discussed what happens if you lose your job in the Netherlands, but what about the unemployment benefit front? We all need the cash when we lose our jobs, it’s a stressful time. So what is out there out for us? The good news is that you can apply for unemployment benefit in the Netherlands AKA the WW-uitkering (sponsored by the good bureaucrats at the UWV).

Don’t sweat it if you’re an expat, you aren’t going to be left behind either. Some benefits are also completely accessible to you, including unemployment benefit. Read on to know all there is to know about WW-uitkering (UWV). However, are you eligible? Let’s see.

Am I eligible to claim the unemployment benefits in the Netherlands?

  • Expats can!! (legal residents)
  • If you lost your job, you must have worked 26 weeks out of the 36 – you are then eligible for basic benefits of 3 months of salary (de wekeneis, and not the full paycheck -more on that later on)
  • To extend past 3 months, this is dependent on how many years you’ve worked before
  • If your loss of job was not your fault. So you can’t quit your job and collect unemployment allowance in the Netherlands, however if your contract isn’t extended you CAN collect unemployment benefits here.
  • If you are immediately available for another paid employment (so no taking a 6 months trip to Thailand first)

How much money is the unemployment benefit in the Netherlands?

Your benefit will be 75% of your daily wage, only for the first 2 months. After this period it will go down to 70%. Your payment is every 4 weeks. So stop panicking! 😉 And you even get vacation money! If nothing else it’s enough so that anyone supporting you from overseas won’t have to send money to the Netherlands anymore.

How long can you have the unemployment benefit for?

As stated above, your benefit can be as little as 3 months (if worked 26/36 weeks) and as much as 24 months – all dependent on how long you’ve been in the employment and your personal circumstances. However, collecting unemployment benefits is of course a bureaucratic minefield, and the Dutch government is regularly changing up conditions and rules. They’ve been cutting down the number of months in recent years.

De jareneis – this is when you’ve worked 4 years out of 5, before you lost your job. Your unemployment can be extended because of this and means that the benefit will last as long as you were in that employment for. This also counts if you were working in another EU country, as long as you can provide evidence. This is a lengthy process because you need to wait for the country to get back to the UWV – bug the hell out of them.

What are the conditions of having unemployment benefit in the Netherlands?

You must:

  • Subscribe as a job seeker at UWV (need a DigiD) and stay subscribed
  • Apply for jobs – obviously, you need to make an effort (not the same as applying for a job) to get a job 4 times per month.
  • Make sure you have valid ID, residency
  • Complete the tasks given in werkmap 
  • File for your unemployment benefit correctly
  • Update them of any changes promptly – including if you are ill or want to take a short holiday (yes, there are also ‘vacation-days’ in the ‘WW’)
  • Attend any appointments given to you
  • After 6 months accept any job, regardless of role or level

Any transportation costs for this are reimbursed to you!

unemployed in Holland
Silver lining and all that 😉

It’s also possible to become a freelancer while enjoying unemployment benefits in the Netherlands by the way!

What is werk (map)?

Like stated earlier, werk is what is used to job search while on your benefits. It also includes options to request other benefits. Werkmap is where your CV will be uploaded and demonstrates your job hunt and tasks you’ve completed to the UWV. Training programs are also found on this, to help you become more employable. Per month of unemployment, you need to have completed at least 4 job applications or job-related tasks on this site, in order to get your benefit. It’s also thoroughly hated by anyone involved and it might be the worst IT-experience ever.

Yet again, good luck on your job search and don’t forget to check out our other articles for more helpful information. Or for something funny, cos we’re funny people at DutchReview. Don’t forget to join our Facebook group for more either! Chop, chop!

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on 15 March 2018 but was updated for your reading pleasure on 5 February 2020.

Feature image: Marco Verch Professional/Flickr 


  1. Hi, great article. Thank you. I have some questions:
    -If my contract is not renovated due to pregnancy (obviously not what the company will give as an excuse), will I still be able to collect Unemployment benefit?
    -According to the article, I would be eligible for it, except for the “If you are immediately available for another paid employment” If I am in maternity leave, how does it work?
    -While getting unemployment benefit, will I still get day care help for my other children? (2 under 4 years old).
    Thank you!!

  2. Hi, this article is really helpful ! A question please. We will move to Netherlands by summer as my husband got a job there. Unfortunately, I’m at the moment unemployed and receiving the unemployment benefit in the country we are leaving. Are there any benefits for cases like mine to receive, until we settle down and I find a job? Thank you

  3. Hi all, I need your knowledge,
    If I quit a job in the Netherlands (working for 3years) and I move abroad (EU country) to get a new job, what if I lose that new job within a month?
    Can I still get the unemployment benefit from Netherlands?
    Thank you

  4. Hi, thank for your article, it is super helpful! I have one question, is UWV (the platform) accepts foreign bank account? Indeed, I am living in the Netherlands but I don’t have a Dutch bank account.

    Thanks in advance for your reply.

  5. Could we have some information regarding taxation of the unemployment payments? There is no available information about this important detail.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.