Unemployment benefit in the Netherlands: what you need to know [2021]

We’ve previously discussed what happens if you lose your job in the Netherlands, but what about the unemployment benefit front?

We all need cash when we lose our jobs; it’s a stressful time. 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 Uitvoeringsinstituut Werknemersverzekeringen (UWV) — try saying that 10 times fast!

Don’t sweat it if you’re an expat, you aren’t going to be left behind either. Read on to learn all there is to know about WW-uitkering. But first, are you eligible? Let’s see.

What does coronavirus change here?

  • If you lose your job as a result of coronavirus, you’re still eligible for the same unemployment benefits that you would be under any other circumstances (you can read more about those below).
  • If you’re self-employed (ZZP) and aren’t getting as much work as usual as a result of coronavirus, then you might be eligible for government aid. If what you earn falls below the social assistance level, you can apply for a TOZO (temporary bridging scheme for independent entrepreneurs) until March 31, 2021 (and possibly for longer, as the crisis continues).
  • Businesses that are affected by the coronavirus crisis will receive money from NOW for the purpose of paying employee salaries. The company is not allowed to let people go while they are receiving this aid — its purpose is to prevent unemployment. A company is eligible for this if they expect a 20% decrease in revenue (or more) over the months of October 2020 to March 2021. NOW covers 90% of the loss of turnover: if a business loses 50% of its turnover, NOW covers 45% of wages.

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

  • Expats can!! (legal residents, subject to some visa restrictions)
  • If you lost your job, you must have worked 26 weeks out of the 36 — you are then eligible for basic benefits of three months of salary (de wekeneis, and not the full paycheck — more on that later on)
  • To extend past three months, this is dependent on how many years you’ve worked before
  • 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 six 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 two months. After this period it will go down to 70%. Your payment is every four weeks. 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 three months (if you have 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 four years out of five 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 and apply to get a job four times per month.
  • Make sure you have a valid ID, residency
  • Complete the tasks given in werkmap (more on this below)
  • 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 six 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?

As 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. 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! 

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in March 2018 and was fully updated for your reading pleasure in January 2021.
Feature Image: Nathan Cowley/Pexels

Emma Brown
A familiar face at DutchRevew. Emma arrived in Holland in 2016 for a few weeks, fell in love with the place and never left. Here she rekindled her love of writing and travelling. Now you'll find her eating stroopwafels in the DutchReview office since 2017.


  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.

    • Depending on your employement history; the duration and the salary is calculated and you will see the Gross amount per month.

      When you apply to the unemployement benefit, there is a form asking you to select the option:
      – To do your taxes by yourself
      – Deducted by UWV (recommended, so you will be paid on Net amount)

      You can also check the UWV’s website or call them. Cheers.

  6. Hi,

    I am entitled to get unemployement benefit for 3 months when i lose my job due to Corona.
    Then it is extended to 8 months considering the documents i shared that proves i have 8 years experience in total with my employement history in a Non-EU country before i work in The Netherlands. (1 month for each year)
    For now even though i search for a job, it looks like it will take longer.
    If i find a job before the benefit ends, is my unemployement benefit months being kept as a right? In any later unemployement scenario?

  7. No. You can apply if you are unemployed after minimum duration of employement* in The Netherlands.

    If you dont know any Dutch these are the things you may deal with:
    1) Documents, forms and letters sent to you are Dutch. You can use translation carefully.
    2) When you call UWV, the employee can speak Dutch, but mostly they intend to help in English.
    3) Depending on your major, possible job opportunities offered by UWV or Werk.nl may be mostly for Dutch Speaking candidates.

    (*Conditions can change. To qualify for a Dutch unemployment benefit, you must meet the following conditions: you must have worked at least 26 weeks in the 36 weeks before your dismissal, and – due to your dismissal, you work at least 5 hours less per week.)

  8. If I have been working outside of the EU (Asia) and return to the Netherlands, having paid tax and insurance for 11 years in NL, would I be eligible to claim for unemployment benefit?


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