Jobs in the Netherlands

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A Guide to Working Abroad in the Netherlands

When considering working abroad in Europe, does the idea of working in a highly progressive nation attract you? If so, then the Netherlands might be just the place for you to find a job abroad. Home to lazy canals, an unparalleled art scene, some of the best museums in the world, and of course, Heineken, the Netherlands provides the perfect place to make a home abroad. From Amsterdam to Rotterdam, the Netherlands is an international hub full of job opportunities for individuals from all different kinds of backgrounds.


Made infamous for its daring cultural traditions, wooden shoes, and flowing, flowery meadows, among other things, the Netherlands offers much more than job opportunities. Nestled between some of Europe’s most prominent economies, both Belgium and Germany, working in the Netherlands will surely be a beneficial career move and the chance to experience the European marketplace and business world.

Amsterdam. The capital of the Netherlands is a city full of contrasts. While those looking to party will find their home here, more importantly, there is a place in Amsterdam for those looking to keep it classy. The misunderstood, yet stereotypical, raunchy side of Amsterdam is kept under wraps near the train station while the real “Dutch” Amsterdam keeps to itself along the beautiful canals. If you’re looking for a home in one of the world’s greatest art hubs, Amsterdam is home to not only the Van Gogh museum, but also Vermeers and Rembrandts at the brilliant Rijksmuseum. So whether you’re looking for a job in the Netherlands that supports a bit of letting loose on the weekends or even one that allows for more of a quiet lifestyle, Amsterdam offers job opportunities for both types of people.

Rotterdam. Home to the biggest port in Europe, Rotterdam, known as the second city of the Netherlands and the Manhattan of the Maas, is one amazing place to live and work in the Netherlands. Bombed brutally during World War II, this Dutch coastal city is a testament to Dutch engineering and resiliency. Having been restored with a modern touch, Rotterdam is a city of steel and glass skyscrapers that gives off a definitive 21st century feel that is aesthetically pleasing. Those looking to work in the Netherlands in a modern city with access to the ocean, Rotterdam is the place for you.

Maastricht. One of the most quaint cities in the Netherlands, living and working in Maastricht will be a big contrast to Rotterdam or Amsterdam. Those who choose to work in Maastricht will learn that biking beats driving and walking beats biking, which is also true in other cities in the Netherlands. Known historically as the birthplace of the European Union, created in the Maastricht Treaty, Maastricht is an incredibly beautiful place to live. Home to Roman ruins, food from all over the world, and a surprising French influence, the crown jewel of the southern Netherlands is a great place for those seeking a place that is quiet, picturesque, and literally a short walk away from Belgium and Germany.

Jobs in the Netherlands

Besides just being a great place in general, the Netherlands is home to a plethora of opportunities for foreigners looking to work abroad. Outlined below are a couple of jobs in the Netherlands that are great for people from a variety of backgrounds. The biggest thing to keep in mind is the kind of experience you are looking to have and what kind of experience you already have. Based on these two questions, you’ll be able to find the perfect job in the Netherlands for you.

Au pair. A popular job throughout all of Europe, au pair jobs in the Netherlands offers steady pay, which is negotiable depending on the family you work for. Most au pair jobs offer two days off per week with a minimum of 30 working hours. What is unique about being an au pair is that most au pairs live with the family they’re working for, can take optional Dutch language classes, and get a true immersion experience and feel for Dutch culture. With a little housework typically added to an au pairs to do list, au pairs are generally responsible for babysitting, being a part of the family, and helping out with English language lessons, if required. To qualify for an au pair job in the Netherlands, you just need to be between 18 and 29, have a high school diploma, and have previous childcare experience, along with a commitment of at least 10 months (for most jobs).

Teaching English. One of the easiest and most well paying jobs in the Netherlands, and around the world, are those revolving around teaching English as a second language. Completing TEFL certification courses and teaching English abroad can be one of the most rewarding jobs you can get abroad, and teaching jobs in the Netherlands are no exception. Most teachers work about 30 hours a week, and have about 14 paid vacation days. As one of the most attainable paid jobs in the Netherlands, teaching English as a foreign language is definitely an option worth some serious consideration.

Jobs through Recruitment Agencies. Finally there are a large number of jobs in the Netherlands provided by recruiters. The difference between these jobs, and jobs like teaching English, is that previous experience in your industry of interest is often required. If you have a good amount of experience or an extensive academic background in your field of choice, it is possible to find jobs in the Netherlands in construction, civil and mechanical engineering, web design, and computer science, among other fields, through recruitment agencies or work abroad programs. Each job usually has a set time commitment required, as well as specific benefit packages.

Salary & Affordability

English teachers can expect to make between $400 and $600 a month, with a bit of an increase in salary if you’re teaching in a bigger city. Teacher’s salaries are most definitely enough to cover living expenses, and some teaching jobs in the Netherlands will include additional forms of compensation to help counter the high cost of living (i.e. housing stipend or pre-arranged housing). On the other hand, au pairs typically live with their host family, so the cost of living tends to be extremely low. However, the salaries for au pair jobs are adjusted, with consideration of this huge financial benefit, meaning au pairs may get paid around 300 Euros a month.

In general, the Netherlands is known as a rather expensive place to live abroad. However, this situation was only exacerbated in 2011, with the Euro Crisis, which created somewhat rocky European exchange rates.

As one of the most densely populated countries in the region, rent costs can be quite steep, sometimes costing upwards of 1200 Euros a month for a studio apartment in Amsterdam, for example. For those looking just to rent a room, rent can range from 500 to 600 Euros a month, with prices dropping the farther you go from the major cities.

While the cost of housing can be pretty difficult to get around, as long as you budget and are careful with what you spend your money on, most jobs in the Netherlands will provide a salary that is sufficient enough for you to live a comfortable life.

Accommodation & Visas

Accommodation is easily the most expensive part of living and working in the Netherlands. Renting a room in Amsterdam or Rotterdam will be about 550 Euros a month, while renting a studio apartment for yourself will be between 900 and 1200 Euros. Also, keep in mind that housing in rural areas is much more affordable as opposed to metropolitan housing options. As mentioned above, au pairs typically live with their Dutch host families, and can expect all meals to be provided as well as a private bedroom.

Visa requirements to work in the Netherlands differ based on what type of job you obtain. However, if you’re looking to work legally and stay longer than three months, a work visa is required. The Dutch work visa process is easiest for those who decide to work as au pairs. As an au pair, your host family usually responsible for applying for a visa for you and covering the costs associated with the application. As an English teacher, the organization or school that is providing you with a job will help you ensure you follow the required work visa application process. For all other jobs in the Netherlands, foreigners should be prepared to take multiple trips to a Dutch embassy in their home country and fill out an abundance of paperwork. However, work visas are not required for EU citizens who want to work in the Netherlands.

Benefits & Challenges

Greeting. One of the hardest things for Americans to get used to abroad is greeting each other via kisses. In the Netherlands, close friends greet each other by kissing them three times on the cheek. If this seems unprofessional, have no fear; kissing in the workplace is not normal, as Dutch will typically shake hands when being introduced for the first time, especially in a work environment.

Punctuality.  If you’re hoping to work in a place that is relaxed with time tables, meeting times, and showing up on the dot, the Netherlands might not be the place for you. The Dutch place a great deal of importance on sticking to your schedule and not showing up late to meetings. In fact, tardiness is considered very rude.

Transportation. One of the better known facts about the Netherlands is their level of friendliness toward the use of bikes. In one of the most bike friendly nations in the world, you can buy a great used bike for under 100 Euros and use it as your main form of transportation during your job in the Netherlands. So get ready to get fit by getting yourself to and from work using the most environmentally friendly mode of transport ever!

Affordability. One of the biggest challenges to overcome working in the Netherlands is its affordability  It is on average one of the most expensive places to live in Europe, with even a Coke costing about $3. Just stick to where the locals eat or buy food at the store to make your own meals, and you should be fine with a little bit tighter than usual budget.

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