8 tips to save you money when moving to the Netherlands

A Euro saved is a Euro earned 💸

Want to make the move to the Netherlands without having to splash all your cash? Here’s how to do that in true Dutch fashion (A.K.A. saving money like a pro). 

Not only is your to-do list for moving a mile long (finding a new place to live, setting up bank accounts, getting health insurance, and more) — but moving can also be ridiculously expensive. 

So how can you save money when moving to the Netherlands? Here are eight expert tips! 💡

Moving to the Netherlands? There’s A LOT for you to arrange. Why not get an expert to take some of the stress off your shoulders?

Utility Direct is like a one-stop shop for all your most important services and utilities in the Netherlands. Just tell their experts what you need to set up, and they’ll take care of it for you! Dutch bank account? They’ve got it covered. Internet and TV? Geen problem. Phone providers? Sure thing. ⚡️

1. Negotiate a relocation package with your new employer

If you’re moving to the Netherlands for a sparkling new job, why not ask your employer for a relocation package? 

Many employers will happily pay for your moving fees and occasionally even arrange temporary accommodation while you look for a permanent residence. Wat leuk! (How nice!)

READ MORE | 10 things to know before finding work in the Netherlands as an international

Often, this comes in the form of up to €7,750 your employer can reimburse tax-free for your moving costs. 

Tips to negotiate a relocation package: 

  • Check in with your HR department first: they might have a standard package that they offer to save you the hassle. 
  • Get a good idea of your costs and present them to your HR representative. 
  • Make a list of your “must-haves” and your “would-like-to-haves.”
  • Explain to your new company the benefits: perhaps you can work sooner if they’re willing to help out with the move. 
Don’t be afraid to ask your employer for help with your move. Image: Unsplash

2. Ask your movers for a fixed rate instead of an estimate

Movers love to estimate costs, however, some shady ones may end up blowing your budget on the final invoice. This number can run upwards of thousands above the initially estimated price. 😱

Instead, press your movers to give you a fixed rate. This way you’ll be able to avoid any hidden fees and charges and keep your Excel budget sheet happy! (And have more money to spend on delicious stroopwafels and biertjes (beer) when you arrive in the Netherlands. 😉)

TIP: Collect quotes from multiple moving companies and put your haggling skills to the test to negotiate the best rate. 

3. Set up your health insurance ASAP

You’ve just touched down in the Netherlands, excited and ready to start your new life. You step out into the world, and the next thing you know, BAM! You walk onto the bike lane and collide with a cycling Dutchie.

Yet, as you lay in your hospital bed, you breathe a sigh of relief: you’ve already taken care of your health insurance, so your medical costs are covered. 

READ MORE | Dutch health insurance in 2023: what’s new and how to switch

Trust us: you don’t want to end up with a broken leg AND a hefty bill. Image: Depositphotos

When coming to the Netherlands to live or work, you are required to take out health insurance. You have up to four months to get health insurance from when you register at a municipality or start working. However, your premiums are backdated to the date of your arrival in the Netherlands, so you don’t save any money by waiting the full four months. 

By taking out health insurance zo snel mogelijk (as soon as possible), you can avoid any shocks when it comes to payments and treatment.

Warning: If you take more than four months to sign up for health insurance you’ll be slapped with a big fine.

4. Move and exchange your money smartly 

Imagine you have $1,000 USD that you want to convert to euros to use in. How many euros you’ll get heavily depends on who converts it. Here’s an example:

  • ✈️ At the airport: €820-€850 (depending on the exchange office)
  • 🏙 In Amsterdam city centre: €845-€860
  • 🏦 Through your bank: €828.50
  • 🖥 Online: €868.56

Banks and money exchange places can take a huge chunk of your hard-earned coin, especially the ones at the airport. Instead, transferring your money online gives you some of the best rates and can save you up to €20-€50 — and it can go directly into your Dutch bank account!

This is one of the easiest ways to save money when moving to the Netherlands — go you! 

5. Buy your furniture in the Netherlands (and let go of the rest)

Forget the old couch that you’ve had since uni or the rugs that you got from your relative. 

Shipping your belongings overseas is ridiculously expensive — and you can buy everything you need in the Netherlands. 

Buy your furniture in the Netherlands so you have an excuse to go eat meatballs at IKEA. Image: Pexels

You’ll save a stack of money on a moving company since most companies charge you by weight and space, and save yourself a bunch of stress waiting for it to get to your new house. Win-win! 🙌🏼

READ MORE | Furnishing your house in the Netherlands: the ultimate guide

You don’t have to shop new either: you can find great quality bargains on Facebook Marketplace, Marktplaats, or at second-hand stores (kringlopen).

6. Scoop out the best deals for your utilities

To truly enjoy life in your new Dutch home, you’ll need things such as electricity, gas, internet, and a phone and TV provider.

To save you some stress (and money!), it might be worth scouring the web for some of the best utility deals and providers before you arrive in the Netherlands.

Setting up utilities like water is essential when moving to the Netherlands! Image: Unsplash

You’ll find that you’re often able to get package deals from certain providers, grouping, for example, internet and TV, or gas and electricity. Sometimes, going for these deals is your cheapest option. Other times, however, purchasing services separately works out cheaper. Your best bet here is a good price comparison tool!

Feeling overwhelmed by your choices? That’s okay, moving is stressful enough, even without having to worry about things such as price comparisons and package deals.

Luckily, there are experts out there who will happily help you out. Utility Direct can organise all of your utilities for you in English, and make sure you get the best bang for your buck. 💪

7. Make use of kortingen (discounts) where you can

Thought looking for discounts and offers was for grannies on their way to a bingo game? Think again! The Dutch are all about spending as little money as possible, even if it means elbowing that same granny in Kruidvat for a 1+1 (buy one, get one free) deal. 👀

Here are some ways you can find discounts to make your wallet happy: 

  • Get store cards for shops you visit often for discounts and free gifts.
  • Download discount apps to help you stay on top of all the hot sales.
  • Make use of corporate discounts on health insurance, gyms, travel, etc. 

You can also apply for government benefits if you meet certain criteria. For example, if you live in rented accommodation, have Dutch health insurance, or have a child who attends daycare or is under 18, you may be entitled to benefits from the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration.

8. Don’t buy a car (right away)

We know that cars are really convenient and it can be nice to drive to work or school on your own and avoid sitting next to (gasp!) other people. 

However, the costs of owning a car in the Netherlands can be substantially more than in other countries. 💸

Here are some costs that can really add up:

READ MORE | 7 things to know before owning a car in the Netherlands

Cycling is the best way to get around in the lowlands. 🙌🏼 Image: Unsplash

Instead, make use of public transport, shared car networks, and hire cars for your first few weeks at least. And remember: biking is king in the Netherlands. 🚲

Now that you’re so well-versed in these money-saving tips, you’ll blend right in with your new country’s compatriots. 🇳🇱😉

Do you have any tips for saving money when moving to the Netherlands? Tell us in the comments below!

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in February 2022 and was fully updated in September 2023 for your reading pleasure.

Feature Image:Unsplash
Nicole Ogden 🇹🇭 🇺🇸
Nicole Ogden 🇹🇭 🇺🇸
Hailing from the bustling city of Bangkok, Nicole is a Thai/American international student who came to the Netherlands to study linguistics. When she's not reading books or listening to true crime podcasts, she's practising her singing and guitar skills! She is also attempting to pick up the Dutch language (moeilijk).

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