A guide to finding a job in Amsterdam might just be what you need. It doesn’t matter if you are considering moving to Amsterdam, or you already live here and are desperately searching for a job.
This guide to finding work in Amsterdam will put things into perspective for you. Just be warned that it might not be what you want to hear! 🙉 Get ready to face the cold reality of job hunting in Amsterdam (or in the Netherlands, for that matter).
What’s the job market in Amsterdam like in 2022?
When it comes to finding a job in the Netherlands, Amsterdam is probably your best shot. The capital is booming with life and many international companies have established their headquarters here.
If you’re looking for a vacancy in the field of hospitality, you have pretty good chances. Amsterdam is (well, pre-pandemic 🙄) overflowing with tourists. So, hotels, shops, cafes, bars, and restaurants are usually looking for extra people to work in customer service.
However, if you have a degree and want to find a job within your field, you might have it a little harder. It doesn’t matter how qualified you are, and often expectations are unrealistic, but we’ll get into that later. So now, without further ado, here is our guide to finding a job in Amsterdam.
Finding a low qualified job in Amsterdam
Don’t have a higher-education degree (yet) or a CV overflowing with past work experience? Don’t worry! There are still some options out there for you. Even in the obstacle-ridden job market that is Amsterdam.
Can you get a low qualified job in Amsterdam without speaking Dutch?
The short answer is, yes. It is possible to find a low-qualified job in Amsterdam without speaking Dutch. Amsterdam is so packed with tourists, that employers are willing to hire a non-Dutch speaker if they like you. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy!
If an employer had to choose between you, and a Dutchie they would probably go with the latter. That’s because the Dutch are just so damn good at speaking English!
But if you want to have a better chance of finding a job in Amsterdam without speaking Dutch, then aim for businesses in the city centre. That part of Amsterdam is so overrun by tourists that Dutch people seldomly go near the place. This is where the odds may be in your favour!
Can you find student jobs in Amsterdam?
As I’ve mentioned time and time again, Amsterdam is busy-busy because of all the tourists. Therefore, businesses within hospitality are constantly looking for workers, be it part-timers or full-timers.
So, if you’re a student looking for a way to make a few extra euros, there should be plenty of options. Just keep in mind that employers may not always care that you have deadlines or classes, and schedule you in whenever is most convenient for them.
Where can you find jobs in Amsterdam?
Everywhere! You probably have the best chances at places that already have signs outside saying they’re looking for people. Other than that you can always hand in your CV at any shop, bar, or cafe that you think looks cool.
However, from my personal experience, I’ve noticed that employers here can get annoyed if you give them your resume when they haven’t posted anywhere that they are looking for people.
Can I get a job at a coffee shop in Amsterdam?
This might sound like the wet dream of any American stoner kid. Lucky for them (and you) it is definitely possible to find a job at a coffee shop in Amsterdam. Especially big chains, such as The Bulldog, are more likely to have open positions than more independent coffee shops.
But it’s not all gold that glitters. You’ll have to deal with high-drunk tourists who don’t know how to smoke a joint without overdoing it and then panicking, for example. Uncultured swines, with zero knowledge in the art of smoking weed!
Will you at least be able to smoke on your shifts? Well, it’s not explicitly stated anywhere but some coffee shop employees seem veeeery chill. 👀
Finding a highly qualified job in Amsterdam
So, you’ve struggled your way through higher education, maybe even at a Dutch university, or you’re trying to climb the ladder of the corporate world in Amsterdam? Whatever the case, here are some things to keep in mind!
Can you get a highly qualified job in Amsterdam without speaking Dutch?
Now, this is where our guide to finding a job in Amsterdam gets a little depressing. First of all, many companies in Amsterdam (and the Netherlands for that matter) require you to speak Dutch for more high-profile jobs.
On the other hand, the Netherlands is one of the most international-friendly countries in Europe so you’re probably more likely to find employment as a non-native than anywhere else in the Union.
Can you find a highly qualified job in the Netherlands without speaking Dutch? Only native English speakers
That’s it! You’ve found it! You’ve found a job that only requires English! And then you scroll down to requirements to find the following four words: ONLY. NATIVE. ENGLISH. SPEAKERS.
And sadly that is true. Many job openings that do not require Dutch, tend to require native English speakers.
But I’ve spent years perfecting my English! ONLY NATIVE ENGLISH SPEAKERS!
But I’ve spent most of my life living in an English-speaking country. ONLY NATIVE ENGLISH SPEAKERS!
But I know the difference between your, you’re, their, there, and they’re. Most native English speakers don’t even know that! ONLY ✨ NATIVE ✨ ENGLISH ✨ SPEAKERS✨.
So yes, this is the sad reality of finding English-speaking jobs in Amsterdam and the Netherlands in general. Unless you’re a native, most companies won’t even call you back to see how good your English actually is!
What about being a student looking for a job in Amsterdam?
If you have just graduated from a Dutch university and are super excited about entering your field, I have more bad news for you. Barely any company offers positions for fresh university graduates. Furthermore, since it’s already so hard to find a job in Amsterdam, you compete with people who have a lot of experience but are applying for positions way below their qualifications because they’re just as desperate.
On top of that, you also compete with Dutch students. So, of course, the companies give preference to a student who at least knows both Dutch and English. Not to mention that it is also hard to find a job if you only have a Bachelor’s degree. While some companies may not require a Master’s, they will most probably go for the person with a higher degree.
What are the requirements for finding a job in Amsterdam? Years of experience for an entry level job
One thing that absolutely blows my mind about job hunting in Amsterdam is how entry-level positions require years of experience. Most times you are required to have more than two years of work experience in an international company. That’s impossible people, wake up!
But how am I supposed to get my foot in the door, if no one is willing to hire me in the first place?
Yeah, I wish a knew the answer to that too, buddy.
Can I find a job in the Netherlands if I’m not a European citizen?
If you’re not an EU citizen, then you might have an even harder time finding a job. People from outside of the European Union are required to have a work permit before they start a job in the Netherlands.
If you are undocumented, you are not allowed to work in Holland. This applies for both low qualified and highly qualified jobs in the Netherlands. Unfortunately, most companies don’t want to request a work permit for a non-EU citizen, which makes it even harder to find a job in Amsterdam.
Do you at least receive feedback on why you weren’t hired?
Another bummer about applying for jobs in Amsterdam is that you rarely receive feedback on why the company decided not to hire you. And if you do receive feedback, it is often very trivial. This is unfortunate, since such comments are important, in order for you to improve professionally.
Alas, it is all in vain when applying for jobs in the Netherlands. So, if you’re sending out a ton of CVs every week, just keep in mind that you might never hear back from any of the companies you’ve applied to.
Your CV might not even be read because of your name
Now I know that this guide to finding a job in Amsterdam so far hasn’t been the most cheerful nor uplifting, but here is the last piece of bad news. According to research, Dutch companies also discriminate based on the applicant’s name. This experiment consisted of sending the same job applications to 120 companies, but with different names.
The research concluded, that the applicant who had a ‘Dutch sounding’ name, got his CV opened 100% of the time and frequently got called in for an interview. On the other hand, the applicants with ‘foreign sounding’ names got their CVs viewed a lot less and received little to no callbacks. So, finding a job in Amsterdam may be even harder if you don’t have a Dutch-sounding name.
Finding employment in different fields in the Netherlands
Can I find a job in Amsterdam within the sphere of engineering?
Let me just put this out there from the very beginning: engineers have it the easiest! If you’re an engineer and you’re looking for a job in the Netherlands, chances are you won’t struggle as much.
Since Holland is the land of innovation, engineers allegedly have an array of choices in the job market. Working in the Netherlands can indeed be a piece of cake for some people! The rest of us peasants are unfortunately doomed to struggle.
Can I find an IT job in Amsterdam?
Well, if you know your way around anything remotely IT-related, your job prospects are looking pretty damn good! Heck, after a while you will be digitally slapping the recruiters of your LinkedIn profile.
A short Google search and you’ll find tons of companies and job agencies on the lookout to employ foreigners in the digital sector of the Dutch capital — have your pick!
Can I find a job in Amsterdam within the creative industry?
The Netherlands is also a very creative place. I mean, this is the homeland of Rembrandt and Van Gogh! So there are quite a few possibilities of finding employment within the creative field.
Just be warned, that there are not as many, as in the engineering and IT fields. While Amsterdam certainly boasts a ton of creative hubs, working spaces, and international marketing brands, finding a job within the field of media, advertising, design, or art is still pretty tough (at least in my humble opinion).
But if you do find a creative job in Amsterdam, at least there are plenty of museums and exhibitions to get inspired by.
Can I work as a freelancer in Amsterdam?
Yes, you can! Here’s our guide to working as a freelancer in the Netherlands (it’s called ‘ZZP’). And once you’re ready for actual work then we also have this sweet guide to co-working spaces in Amsterdam so you’re not stuck at home all day long.
Be warned though, it’s not only hip and trendy coffee-drinking as a freelancer in Amsterdam — many food-delivery companies and such are now just hiring people on a freelance basis (for low fees) to bike-deliver their food.
Extra tips on finding a job in Amsterdam
Job hunting in Amsterdam might take a while, but you should never give up!
Here are some extra tips on finding a job in Amsterdam provided to us by Monica Nemcova:
- Go beyond Indeed and Linkedin. Check out websites of companies you like and you might find vacancies that are not listed elsewhere. For example, a lot of startups list their vacancies on Angel List.
- Set your preferences well on Linkedin. Then there is more chance that you will receive relevant vacancies straight into your inbox.
- Get referrals. Maybe a friend of a friend works in that company you’re interested in. Try to get them to refer you to the job.
- Look at what your non-Dutch friends are doing. Maybe their company is hiring! Exploit your network. If you don’t have one, start building one.
- Take your time answering questions. A lot of companies like to ask questions to their applicants. Open the application form, look at the questions and think for a bit about what you’d answer. And then answer.
- Look closely at the requirements for the position and highlight those skills/competencies in your resume and cover letter.
- Make sure your CV stands out. Employers in Amsterdam have to look at hundreds of CV’s each time their company has a job opening. So go beyond the black and white CV. Make it colorful, weird, and eye catching. This will make your CV stand out above all the other applicants.
More tips on finding work in Amsterdam
Wow, that was one long guide to finding a job in Amsterdam! But if you still want to know more about finding employment in the Dutch capital, we’ve got you covered! We can tell you the things expats complain about when job hunting in Amsterdam. Or even why finding an English-speaking job in Amsterdam is so hard in the first place.
Maybe you want to know what your chances are of finding a job in English as a student. Or just some general suggestions about handing out resumes, working in hospitality, or finding a job through an agency in Amsterdam. Many have gone through this struggle, so you are not alone!
What is your experience with job hunting in Amsterdam? Do you have any helpful tips? Let us know in the comments below!
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on 31 July 2018, but was updated for your reading pleasure in February 2022.
Feature Image: Tim Gouw/Pexels
This is such a depressing article that gives a very partial view of job hunting in Amsterdam.
Can the writer imagine reading this as a young and enthusiastic person who would like to create a life and career for themselves in Amsterdam? How demotivating and depressing it would be to read it?
It is obviously not easy for anybody, but with hardworking and perseverance it is more possible than many other countries in the world to start and advance a career in the Netherlands.
I am living and working in the Netherlands for 5 years now as a non-eu citizen who started his professional life in the Netherlands right after graduation. Today, I am having great opportunities in my career and in my field. Did i hit at brick walls? yes many times! but it is possible to find your niche, discover your talents, work hard and have a good life with great prospect here in the Netherlands.
The way the topic is handled in the article emphasizes only the difficulties and bumps without showing a way out or a way to overcome those, which is irresponsible in terms of the glass barrier it will create in the minds of young foreigners in the Netherlands.
I have just graduated and am looking to work in Amsterdam. I am non-EU but a native english speaker, could you explain a bit about your experience getting a job in Amsterdam?
What article says about low qualified jobs is true. Amsterdam is great for hospitality and other work opportunities (stores, etc.), even if you’re not speaking dutch. However, I don’t find it true what the article says about highly qualified jobs. It may be harder if you don’t speak dutch, but if you have at least a Bachelor/Master degree, you shouldn’t be worried. The market is massive for (young) professionals, not giving up and keep on applying is the key!
[…] you woke up Monday morning still hungover from a weekend long bender in Amsterdam. You arrive at work half an hour late, wearing the darkest sunglasses you could find, hair a mess […]
[…] If you’re looking for a job within retail or customer service, then just going out and looking for places with vacancy signs on their windows is also possible. Or if you want to know more about finding a job in Holland, just read our epic guide on finding work in Amsterdam. […]
This article is not accurate. In Amsterdam most of the jobs at international companies do not require dutch at all. Advices like making the cv “colorful” are just non-sense. Dont believe in this!
Thanks for this awesome guide, this will help in finding Cafe jobs.
I have been in Amsterdam for almost one year now. Have applied to hundreds of jobs from hotel receptionist to financial analyst. Hardly ever hear back and if I do it’s never to do an interview. Unfortunately everything I read in this article has been very true to my personal experience. I can’t speak for others. It’s becoming very difficult to see myself here for much longer.
Yes but what’s your experience?
Very informative article and helpful guide for finding work in Amsterdam. And I must say all the points are actually very effective and worth to consider.
Great article. Gives me lots to think about as an expat.
Can i get a job easily in Amsterdam?I have completed my Medical graduation. And i am not a native English speaker. But my english skill are good. From childhood i have studied in English only. Also i am multiply lingual. I knew 4 language.
Great article. I am considering the possibility of working in Europe, including the Netherlands. It was interesting to read.
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Awesome blog !! Thnq so much for this information and This is really helful to me.
I’ve read that one way to immigrate to Canada is by obtaining a job offer prior to moving to Canada. My question is – is this possible in the Netherlands? My question is actually – could I for example browse some online job portals, like https://jobviate.com/?s=software+developer+in+amsterdam&location=netherlands&post_type=noo_job, and apply for jobs as a foreign software developer, and thus obtain the necessary documentation to move to Netherlands? Thanks!
Go to IND.nl & government.nl for information on residency and work permits in the Netherlands. You need a fixed address here to get a bank account or apply for a residence permit. Since taxes and benefits are based on the number of people in the home, you can’t just borrow someone else’s address (or the address of a sub-let), you’ll need your own rental agreement- and housing in Amsterdam is very tight, unless you’re loaded. Look at the different work and residency permits available & see if any suit your situation. Having a job waiting sounds great, & employers can sponsor your permit, if they’re willing. It’s all do-able, as residents from over 180 different countries attests, but it can be a challenge. The system here works efficiently. That’s a weird adjustment if you’re American: all your employment, tax, residence & benefit information is automatically updated by different departments, using one centralized government databank. You can’t work the system, but the system works, so you don’t need to. It’s disorienting at times 😀
Hi you have any vaccines please let me know if you know any vaccines please reply me I want to do work any Europ country
This should be finding work in AMSTERDAM not the Netherlands, the Netherlands might be a small country but there is more to the country then just one city.
I would like to get a chef job in Amsterdam through my experience in MacDonald in KSA
Being a native tongue of any language is not a requirement of any job, using the word native is completely discriminatory and if the laws in this country were actually applied and used then these companies wouldn’t dare put that on an advertisement
Why is everybody looking for a job in “Amsterdam” . Can you not try in Den Haag, Groningen, Rotterdam, Haarlem…..
I’m looking a job I am from India but I’m living in Dubai and working in super market so if you have any vaccines any where pleace let me know
This article for my opinion is 100% no realist .
I know many people found a good quality job wideout know the Dutch and Is not true you can’t find a job .
And is not true you can’t find a quality job If you aren’t a native English .
I don’t thinks this country is really close and exclusive and the maximum aspiration for the emigrations’ people is work in the coffe shop , or like a cleaner , sales assistent etc etc .. something people build a background and they must to have the same possibility .
I don’t believe in this article sorry
Hi im a line chef in UAE since 2013 i want work in Amsterdam but i cannot speak Dutch
I am a staff nurse, in oman, and i have 25 years experience in my field, so i wish to work anywhere in neatherland, as a care assistant, or nuse, and sorry i don’t know dutch, but i have good English knowledge. Thankyou
Hey. love your blog post. though i must disagree with dutchies being so good at speaking English. In the hospitality industry dutchies are struggling and unwilling to speak English, their service level is subpar, and generally the work ethic is not quite there. So even if I have to make a phone call extra to be able to get to the hiring supervisor, I am more likely to get the job than a local who might not even show up, let alone bother to call to announce that, on a particular sunny day. Shocking, I know. 😉