Working in the Netherlands: 5 must-dos to get you started

So you’ve started working in the Netherlands. Great!

You’ve landed a job in the fifth happiest country in the world but chances are that you, being an outsider, don’t know all that needs to be done once you start living/working/saving in the Netherlands, and might miss out on a few benefits.

No worries! Here’s what you need to do to get started working in the Netherlands. ✅

1. Get a BSN, open a bank account, and get health insurance

Yep — you won’t get far without these items. First up you’ll need to go to the municipality and register your address to receive your BSN — your citizen service number.

Once you have your BSN (or in some cases before) you can open up a bank account (so you can receive your super Dutch salary) and get health insurance — that’s mandatory if you’re living in the Netherlands.

READ MORE | Moving to the Netherlands: all you need to know

2. Set up your DigiD

Your DigiD is a service that helps you securely access several government websites (and apply for facilities/benefits).

Get your DigiD sorted and you’ll have the world in your hands! This can save you a fortune if you’re struggling to make ends meet so don’t forget to research what you may be entitled to (more on this below!)

3. Check if you qualify for the 30% rule

If you come to work in the Netherlands, you can possibly get a reimbursement from your employer for the costs that you incurred when moving (such as plane tickets).

Also, your employer may provide you with 30% of your wage tax-free; this “30% facility” rule applies if you were recruited outside of the Netherlands, and meet certain conditions:

  • You work for an employer that is registered with the Dutch tax office and pays payroll tax;
  • You did not reside within 150 km from the Dutch border for the last 18 out of 24 months at the time of hiring;
  • Your salary meets the minimum requirement for the year.

You can apply for the 30% facility at the Dutch Tax Office (Belastingdienst). You’ll also need your employer to agree, of course.

3. Apply for any allowances

If you have a low income and meet the requirements, you can request a government allowance for several things, like your rent, your health insurance, and your child care.

READ MORE | Toeslagen: save money with these allowances in the Netherlands

To apply for these allowances, you’ll need to access Mijn Toeslagen with your DigiD — told you it would come in handy!

If you’re not that fluent in Dutch, I suggest getting Google Translate in your browser to translate the website as it is only available in Dutch.

4. Prepare for the dreaded tax declaration

Chances are that, if you have an employer, you might get a tax return.

Your first tax return is usually a nice one — so more money will hopefully come in (don’t forget to file for it, it’s worth it)!

How? You’ll also need a DigiD. You can do your declaration online, or — even easier — you can use an app! Available for Apple and Android.

What else?

There are some other deductions and discounts, like study deductions, travel expenses, and mortgage deductions.

That’s it! Hopefully, you’ll be a pro at working in the Netherlands (and saving some money along the way).

So, how was working in the Netherlands for you when you first started? Don’t forget to share your experiences with us in the comments!

Feature Image: Bernardbodo/Depositphotos
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in April 2018, but was fully updated in December 2021 to bring you the most up-to-date information.

Aurora Signorazzi
Aurora Signorazzi
Aurora comes from the majestic Italian capital, and is working on her PhD in virology at the University of Groningen. She has been living in the Netherlands for four years and is by now familiar with many Dutch habits... But still finds plenty of reasons to be pleasantly amazed (most of the time) by this industrious country and its brutally honest inhabitants!

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