Wages in the Netherlands baffling you? No worries, we have you covered! Here’s all you need to know about understanding your Dutch salary, understanding your payslip (because those words can seem quite scary), and other important things to know when working in the Netherlands.

Ahh, working in the Netherlands — it comes with all its joys and complications. Well, DutchReview is here to make you make sense of wages in the Netherlands (aren’t we a kind bunch).

In this article, we’re talking about wages you make as an employee. Note that this article won’t help you if you’re a freelancer, but we have plenty of other ones that will give you all the deets on that freelance life.

Before we fully start, let’s look at wages in the Netherlands. This differs depending on many different factors, such as age. As it is revised often in order to keep it in line with inflation, this may change but is up to date as of 2021.

Note: minimum wage is based on a full-time employee (36-40 hours per week), so that’s what you’re looking at below.

What’s the minimum wage in the Netherlands?

These are the statistics on the minimum wage in the Netherlands — as you can see, it varies depending on your age.

Minimum wage (as of January 2021)

Age (years) Per month Per week Per day
21 and older €1,684.80 €388.80 €77.76
20  €1,347.85 €311.05 €62.21
19 €1,010.90 €233.30 €46.66
18  €842.40 €194.40 €38.88
17  €665.50 €153.60 €30.72
16  €581.25 €133.15 €26.83
15  €505.45 €116.65 €23.33

Minimum wage per hour (as of January 2021)

Full-time weekly hours 21+ years 20 years 19 years 18 years 17 years 16 years 15 years
36 hours €10.80 €8.65 €6.49 €5.40 €4.27 €3.73 €3.25
38 hours €10.24 €8.19 €6.14 €5.12 €4.05 €3.54 €3.07
40 hours €9.72 €7.78 €5.84 €4.86 €3.84 €3.36 €2.92

Work contracts in the Netherlands

When you start working in the Netherlands, you will be usually given a fixed-term contract. You may be used to automatically becoming permanently employed, but it doesn’t work like that here.

You will have a contract and then they will choose whether to extend it when the time comes. You can have no more than three contracts with one employer and after that, you must either be employed permanently or let go.

It’s incredibly difficult to get rid of an employee if they are employed on a permanent contract, so they need to be sure that you’re going to be good to them. It’s also important to note that if you have more than a six-month gap, the contracts restart again (how annoying!)

How has coronavirus changed negotiating a Dutch salary?

Over recent years in the Netherlands, employees have benefited from a small labour market and a strong economy — but coronavirus tore that to shreds. While it’s not impossible to negotiate a pay rise in the Netherlands now, you’re not completely out of luck.

Choose your timing carefully, and take note of if you’re in an interest that has actually benefited from coronavirus (they do exist!) Hints of this could be extensions on hiring, having to postpone your vacation, or needing to work overtime.

If you don’t think your employer is in a position to up your salary, consider negotiating secondary benefits as well. Sometimes a manager has more power of these than the actual dollar figure you receive.

Lost your job? We have a whole other article dedicated to that. Anyway, now we’ve covered the basics and wages — what about everything else?

Help! I don’t understand my Dutch payslip

Already working in the Netherlands? Okay then, first of all, let’s tackle those scary Dutch words on a payslip. Here’s a list of words that almost definitely will be present on your payslips:

Salaris Periode Period of pay
Personeelsnummer Employee number
BSN Dutch social security number
Geboortedatum Date of birth
Afdeling/Functieomschrijving Job role
Anciënniteitsdatum/Datum in dienst Date you started your employment
Salaris/uurloon Gross salary (before tax)
Minimumloon Minimum wage
Verzekerd voor WW/WiA/ZW/Zvw Social security you contribute to
Bijz. tarief/heffingskorting (ja/nee) Tax rate (percentage)/general tax credit (yes or no)
Gewerkt uren Hours worked
Sociale verzekeringen (SV) Social security contributions
Reiskostenvergoeding Transport reimbursement cost
Totaal Netto Net salary after everything — what you receive in your bank account
Vakantiegeld Holiday leave

If you are eligible for social security premiums, these will also be on your payslip. Some of these include:

  • ZW or Zvw (zorgverzekeringswet) (sick pay)
  • AWBZ (contribution to special health care)
  • AP-premie (disability pension allowance)
  • WW (werkloosheidswet) (unemployment benefit).

Not so scary now, huh? (Or maybe it is. So… many… weird… words… and… numbers.)

What’s the difference between net and gross salary?

You may have got your head around the payslip finally, but are you still a bit confused about what your salary actually is? Well, there is a big difference between your net and your gross salary. So, what’s the difference I hear you ask?

Your net salary is what your salary is after everything has been deducted. This means that things such as pension contribution and social security payments, holiday allowance and income tax have already been subtracted. This is basically how much money is going to land in your bank account on payday. To work this out prior, you can use salary calculators!

Your gross salary is the opposite. It’s how much your salary is without any tax or any other deductions. This is what you would say you earned if someone asked you and what your employer would refer to.

What else is included in my salary?

You may have noticed, but every month you contribute towards holiday pay. On May payday every year you receive this allowance (8% of your annual wage, around one month salary). This helps to pay for the summer holidays. It’s great — it’s just a month with double pay (which is usually spent right away).

You may be eligible for bonuses, and these will be paid out depending on what payday the employer chooses, you will be told beforehand. You could also be given secondary benefits such as a company car. Other benefits like paying for school fees (especially for highly skilled migrants), can be given by a company. All of these contribute to your total salary.

So there you have it, here are just a few things to know about wages and payslips in the Netherlands. Got it yet? If not, maybe re-read it again about six or seven more times and then quiz the hell out of your boss to make sure they’re not toying with your wages.

If you need to know about time off in the Netherlands, we’ve got all the information you need.

Got any questions about Dutch wages? How have your experiences working in the Netherlands been? Let us know in the comments below!

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in June 2018, but was updated for your reading pleasure in January 2021. Feature Image: Pixabay/Pexels


  1. There is no deduction from your salary for holiday allowance. As stated, it’s 8% almost a whole month’s salary. But the difference in net pay is greater because, for example, you pay more for WAO (Disability Insurance).

  2. Hi!
    Are there any rules which state that every year the salary must be revised? Or does it depend on the agreement between the employee and employer?

  3. Hi, Shubham,
    There are no such rules and the employer and employee are free to agree on this. Most often there is no wording on this matter at all in the employment agreement. It can also be that there is a collective labor agreement (CAO) applicable which can be of influence on the salary increase.

  4. I see a term in my Dutch salary Slip that says, “Eenm. uitkering CAO”. Don’t know what that is. Could you help?

  5. Sorry for bothering. I wonder if you can help me with an issue. I dont know what is the “Verrekening” and I also don’t understand why do they charge me 104 euros. Can you please help me to understand it? Thank you in advance

  6. I wanted to know if there is any minimum salary thresh hold for chefs employed in the Asian catering industry from level 4 to 6 ?

    Thanks for advising


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