Working in the Netherlands as an Expat

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By now, most people know that with a few international work opportunities under your belt, you can not only boost your career and spice up your CV, but will also be rewarded with unforgettable personal experiences. Each year, more and more people choose to be expatriates, and the Netherlands are among the more popular destinations not only for expats from the EU, but from around the globe.

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Places such as Amsterdam, The Hague, Utrecht, or Rotterdam are home to sizeable international crowds, and each offers its own particular attractiveness for expats. To name just two examples: The Hague’s many international institutions make it one of the main cities of the European Union  and a focal point for diplomatic missions in the Netherlands, and Amsterdam is home of many headquarters of major international companies and boasts great opportunities in business and finance. However, as the Netherlands is one of the most globalized countries on the globe, you will be able to find many major global players no matter which city you relocate to.

How to Start Your Career in the Netherlands

The ‘classical’ expat story often begins with an intra-company transfer to a branch office or subsidiary of your employer in the Netherlands – however, not everyone is in the position of being offered such an opportunity. Of course, if you really want to move to the Netherlands to live and work there, but are not lucky enough to have an employer who can send you on an assignment there, you will have to take things into your own hands. The online editions of some of the nation’s bigger newspapers might prove to be a good starting point, whether you are looking for a short-term job or a career opportunity. Furthermore, online job portals abound, and many of them cater specifically to the expat crowd and those about to make the step abroad to the Netherlands. Recruitment agencies are another popular option for people looking to go abroad.

Obviously, things tend to be a lot more hassle-free if you are an EU/EEA citizen, as you are exempted from the work permit requirement in this case. If you hail from outside the EEA, take your time and prepare thoroughly – bureaucratic processes are never a barrel of laughs, no matter where you go. This also applies (even more so) if you are hoping to make a living as a freelancer or even dream of establishing your own business in the Netherlands, as you’ll have to deal with a larger number of government institutions and offices.

English Speakers Welcome

Many future expats might be relieved to find out that it is not vital to possess skills in the Dutch language before you relocate – that stretch of time is probably stressful enough as it is. While picking up at least some of the local language will certainly not hurt your social and professional life, you can get by with a solid command of English alone. By and large, the Dutch have excellent English skills.

No matter which path you choose on your way to become an expat in the Netherlands, you will certainly not regret your decision. Best of luck!

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