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

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Finding work in the Netherlands as an international is not an easy task — we can’t lie.

However, preparing well in advance will help you massively when it comes to sealing your perfect job in the Netherlands.

So, how do you prepare yourself for finding work in the Netherlands as an expat?

Well, as someone who has been there, here are 10 major things you need to know. 🏃‍♂️

1. Finding a job in the Netherlands is hard

I’m going to be honest here first and foremost:

Is finding a job in the Netherlands hard for international folks?

Hell yes, it is. 😬

Combine learning about a whole new job market with being in one of the most densely populated countries in Europe (so you’ve got a lot of competition), and you’ll see that finding a job in the Netherlands is no simple feat.

If you’ve landed an interview, you’re well on the way to a job in the Netherlands. Image: Freepik

Talk to any international in the Netherlands, and they’ll all tell you the same — the struggle is real.

However, that’s certainly not to say all hope is lost and you’ll never find a job in the Netherlands.

There are plenty of Dutch companies that hire internationals. Expats become employed every single day, and some are even lucky enough to score a job the first time around.

It’s important to understand that finding a job in the Netherlands is difficult — but certainly not impossible.

2. You don’t always have to speak Dutch when working in the Netherlands

Struggling with Dutch and think you have no chance? No worries.

Naturally, being fluent in Dutch opens up many opportunities, but if you’re new to the Netherlands, you can still get a job.

Many international companies work only in English, and some companies even ask for other languages, such as French and German instead.

It’s not essential to speak Dutch in the Netherlands, even while working — but it will make your life easier! Image: Pexels

So before you start breaking down in tears over that failed Duolingo attempt, start searching for those international jobs here in the Netherlands.

Now you can breathe a sigh of relief (in English)!

Want to find jobs in the Netherlands in English, German, French, or another language? On Undutchables, you can search by your preferred language to find your dream Dutch job.

3. You don’t have to be living in the Netherlands to find a job (but it’s easier if you’re here!)

It’s not unheard of for an international to secure a Dutch job from overseas, particularly for sectors in high demand, like engineers, tech, and health professions.

After all, interviews can be done online, or some companies will even fly you over on their own dime if they think that you’re a great fit.

If you’re not in an in-demand field, you may have a much harder time (or have to shell out for some plane tickets and a hotel to attend your interviews).

4. Some recruitment agencies in the Netherlands actively seek out internationals

What surprised me during my search for work was that some recruitment agencies exist purely to seek out internationals and help them find employment.

The recruiters then match you with companies in the Netherlands that are looking for your specific skillset. Sometimes, the company will offer you a contract directly, but often, the agency will place you in the workforce on an agency contract at first.

Usually, once your contract with the employment agency ends you can be directly employed by the company if you’re the perfect fit.

There are many agencies in the Netherlands that seek out internationals! Image: Freepik

You don’t have to pay a fee for these recruitment services either, which makes it even better!

It all just makes sense — and with online recruitment, you can do it from the comfort of your own home and have many different jobs at your fingertips.

When applying through Undutchables Recruitment Agency, the same applies. If there isn’t a job out there for you, you can arrange for them to notify you when something relevant pops up, and then you can apply. A colleague’s partner got his current job when first arriving in the Netherlands through Undutchables and is still in the job years later!

5. You need to prepare well in advance

Preparing in advance is key if you’re planning on working and living in the Netherlands. Sorting out that work visa should be at the top of the list (if you’re an EU national, you can skip this step; you’re all good).

This, along with booking an appointment to register at your local municipality, keeps everything legal. 

Opening a bank account should be one of the next steps, and you have a couple of options when it comes to choosing a Dutch bank and opening a Dutch bank account so you can collect your new Dutch salary. 

You can even open a bank account before you arrive in the Netherlands!

Also, be aware that if you are working and living in the Netherlands, you must take out Dutch health insurance — this is compulsory.

There’s a lot to do when moving to another country, but you shouldn’t skip these steps if you’re looking for a job in the Netherlands. Image: Depositphotos

We know what you’re thinking: there’s so much to organise.

We understand, but it’s worth it, and let’s help you set up! Here’s a checklist to get you started:

  • Sort your visa/work permit
  • Find a place to live AND find a job (that’s easy, right?)
  • Register at your local municipality
  • Open a bank account
  • Sort your Dutch health insurance

6. The CV and interview process in the Netherlands may be different from what you’re used to

Scoring a job in the Netherlands by perfecting that CV/resume and attending that dreaded interview may be different from what you’re used to, depending on where you’re from.

In the Netherlands, I learned that CVs should not be longer than two pages. You also don’t have to include your picture on your CV; however, many people still do this (insert awful passport-style photo here).

Most Dutch workplaces want you to interview in person. Image: Depositphotos

The interviews are just as nerve-wracking as in other countries, but all follow a similar structure.

Dressing for an interview depends on the job you’re applying for, and dressing for interviews in the Netherlands is certainly lax compared to other countries.

For example, in the UK, you are generally expected to go full suit and tie with polished shoes. Whereas in the Netherlands, it’s important to look smart, but you don’t have to go overboard.

7. Working from home is common in the Netherlands

This article was brought to you by me, sitting in my bed with a cup of hot chocolate, and that’s not unusual — even before the pandemic years.

Working from home can be a common practice for some workplaces, and I personally love it.

The Dutch workplace is known for being less rigid when it comes to working. Generally, if you need to be at home, depending on your job, you can spend that one less day at the office and work from the confines of your own home instead.

Yes, it is possible to work from home! Image: Pexels

The Dutch value their hard work, but also their spare time too. Working doesn’t have to be at the office and living doesn’t have to just involve work.

READ MORE | 7 ways a Dutch job is different

Many people (especially women) work part-time in the Netherlands and/or work mainly or solely from home. So, if you like the idea of a home office, then you may have just gotten lucky. Gezellig!

8. You need to get your head around the tax system

The Netherlands is known for its notoriously high tax on almost everything.

Before you start working in the Netherlands, you need to be aware of what contributions you need to make, how much you’ll actually get paid, and what rights you have when working in the Netherlands. 

Many expats choose a tax accountant in the Netherlands to process their yearly tax return — it’s worth it!

❓ How much income tax will I pay in the Netherlands?

In 2024, all people working in the Netherlands must pay at least 36.97% in income taxes (including national insurance contributions) if they earn under €75,518.

If you earn above this amount, you must pay €49.50% of your salary in income tax.

This will be deducted from your pay before it is paid out to you. You will also have to pay additional taxes if you are particularly wealthy and/or have a large amount of savings.

9. Your travel costs are normally covered by your company

Most companies will reimburse you for your full travel costs monthly, so you don’t have to worry about a long commute eating up half of your wages.

Many other companies offer other reimbursements, such as paying a percentage of your gym or club memberships, to encourage their employees to stay healthy physically and mentally outside of the workplace.

Some workplaces will even help you buy a nice bike to ride to work with. Image: Depositphotos

Other companies offer bonus money if you don’t call in sick (not always great when you’re forcing yourself to go in and infecting everyone), but it encourages the workforce not to be tempted to call in sick for silly reasons.

In my experience, companies in the Netherlands treat their workforce very well, and you will be rewarded for your hard work. If not, it’s time to change that job of yours.

10. Borrelen makes everything worth it

Who doesn’t love a free beer and some bitterballen after all that “finding a job and starting a new job” stress? Well, this is something you’ll enjoy at many Dutch workplaces.

Borrelen will only sometimes be as fancy as this. Image: DGLimages/Depositphotos

Usually, towards the end of the week, either once per week or per month, you and your colleagues will go borrelen.

This is where you’ll have an opportunity to stop working (always nice) and engage in awkward conversations with your coworkers over a beer and some bitterballen.

Great for reducing that work stress as, in general, it’s always good fun — not so good for that waistline, but at least all that cycling will help. Proost! 😉🍻

Are you looking for work in the Netherlands as an international? Or do you have tips? Share in the comments below!

Emma Brown
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.

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  1. Hi there,

    Good morning. Currently I am staying and working in India and want to migrate to Netherlands in 2020.

    I have 7+ years of substantial experience of working with dutch insurance portfolios (a.s.r., NN, Delta lloyd). Especially handling payouts that includes complex processes such as Afkoop, Exporatie etc.

    Because of sustain consistant performance over a long run I travelled to Netherlands (sponsored by my current working organisation) 3 times i.e. in 2015 (Utrecht); 2017 (Rotterdam) and in 2019 (Amstel) on work permit. And live almost for 6 months.

    Now I want to settle in this beautiful, peaceful and secured country. Therefore required your kind assistance in finding out a permanent job. My planning to migrate in Netherlands probably in next year. Please advise me about your procedure.

    Kind regards,
    Harshad Bhamare

  2. Really interested in working in Netherlands but seems I have no direction on where to start, what scares me that very job I look at ask for fluent in Dutch language which I don’t have, also having history working in the South African banking industry and know the positions available I still don’t qualify because each application comes back not suitable candidate. What can I do differently.

  3. Love this article. However i am actually hopeless already. I tried to send so much CV online. And i really really wanted to work there as a healthcare professional.

    • Hi, I like this script, how can i immigrate with my family and work in netherland. As a driver or assisttance cheff. thank u.

  4. Andy
    I am wanting to know more, I have been in the South African police for thirty years and have a lot of experience in different fields. I also completed a online TEFL course. What is my chances of finding a job in the Netherlands? I am in position of passport, not married which makes it easy to go and work and stay in the Netherlands if need be. Please can you give me guidance?

  5. Hallo, how can a civil engineer Construction rm pakistan to get a job în Nederland if he aplly already 2 years and The answer îs always:thanks from your e mail. All we need a chance!!!!!!

  6. I would like to relocate to Netherlands. I have to start from bottom. I need a job and schools for my two children. I’m not married. To start the process and get information will be great. I would like also help with my CV so I can start to sent to recruiters or agencies. I think it will be much better leaving my country(Namibia) with a work permit. For more information do not hesitate to contact me. +264816702945

  7. Great guide , i really enjoyed reading it. It is currently helping me with finding a job in the Netherlands .
    I feel obliged and slightly nervous to inform you about a tiny error i found on this site . Right below the picture with the lady in the 7 th step “working from home …” It says : “Everyone needs to work from home sometimes — even if it’s just because the want to! Image: Anastasia Shuraeva/Pexels”.
    What it should be is ” even if it’ just because they want to! ” , Its a missing (y) in they. I wish i could word this reply a bit better but its because i dont have lots of experience , sorry .

    Thank you very much

  8. I have been called couples of times by recruitment agencies for positions but unfortunately I don’t have work permit which they based as a criteria.

    • I really appreciate the effort you made for energetic and creative international job applicants to change the life of his/her families by enjoying cultural differences, I got chances and experiance working together with some dutch individual’s in my homeland Ethiopa i experienced work hard, honesty and understanding cultural differences. Coz of my former business type i had travel history to Europ 2 times 2017 and 2019 to participate in Fair trade. Currently i am in uganda for looking job opportunities i am trying to check different online job opportunities but its not easy to find the right one i hope your company guide me to job opportunities i have 8 years experiances on tour guide (Hotel and tourism, small team coordination and management also i had good driving skill, i am graduated BA Degree with Leadership and Management in addition i had Diploma with Chemistry Teacher. for begining would like to be participate on Agricultural, packaging, delivering services. I would like to thanks on behalf of my lovely boy and family for effort you made for betterment of our life.
      Estifanos Nega
      +256708468120 My Uganda number and Alexandra Smeets Netherland Former partner and My Dutch family

  9. Thanks very much for your orientation on how to acquire a sponsered job in the country. Am a Ghanaian health worker with Diploma in Health information, who has 3years experience in the health sector. Do I qualify. It’s my dream of relocating some day. Any advice.

  10. Goodmorning, currently I am staying and working in Africa and I want to migrate to Netherlands in December 2022. Please I want know how possible it is.

  11. I really appreciate the effort for availing this knowledge to us. Is there any exclusive recruiting agencies for health care industry. Because I did not find any option for health in unduchables.

  12. Hi. I have worked in the Uk for 34 years with Royal Mail. I am looking for an adventure in my life working in a country that has a happy working environment where a work life balance matters and to be a safe and lovely country. How hard would it to gain employment within the Dutch postal service?.

    • Best of luck .. Go for it. So many letterboxes are outside the main entrances of the buildings.

      All the roads pavements and cycle paths primed for getting about at your own pace depending be it leisurely or on a mission.

      I love it and if it had Mediterranean winters. The place would be perfecto.

  13. Really useful. Hope you’re still loving it there.

    For me it’s such an amazing country, visiting regularly and thinking of moving back because of the relative consistency of life there and well thought out infrastructure.

  14. Good evening,I like the script but I will like to work as a care giver in Netherland I can I do it to stay and work there

  15. I am a Mechanical Engineer. My working experience 17 years in related field. I am looking for a job at Netherland.requesting to get help.

  16. Thank you for your tips, don’t forget to mention, that a standard full-time job in the Netherlands is between 36 and 40 hours a week, which comes down to seven or eight hours a day, five days a week. A job is considered to be part-time when you work anywhere between 12 to 36 hours a week. Dont forget to make a topic about the Niksen too, WE Europeans are not entitled to the Wasp culture of work/obey/consume, we like to chill and and just do nothing, Unlike the Goddess of Victory….

  17. Hi every one I am Lim
    I from myanmar and i looking for a chef job at netherland.
    I work before manaysia for 10 years and work at myanmar Social Enterprise Training restaurant as a Head chef and leading a project for 8years.
    In the current situation all business going down and diddicult to suvrice for family and not really secure so i am looking for the new job like a Chef Sous chef.
    And i would like to learnmore culinary school
    Any one have a vaccines please contact me as soon as you can a following email
    [email protected]


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