Everything You Need to Know About Working and Living in the Netherlands

Everything You Need to Know About Working and Living in the Netherlands

Work is one of the key aspects of living in the Netherlands, but it is certainly not the only one. If you imagine yourself living in the Netherlands but still have doubts, this article is for you.

We will paint a picture of different aspects of life in this beautiful country and help you understand if it is a good fit for you and what you can expect once you move.

Without further ado, let’s jump to it!

The Dutch Lifestyle

Living in the Netherlands offers a lifestyle that highly values work-life balance and overall well-being. It’s no wonder the country consistently ranks as one of the happiest places to live.

According to the World Happiness Report, the Netherlands is ranked as the fifth happiest country in the world. This ranking is attributed to several factors that support the well-being of its residents.

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Bicycling Culture

The Dutch strongly commit to sustainable transportation, which is best evidenced by their deeply ingrained cycling culture.

The Netherlands boasts an impressive network of cycling paths and lanes that crisscross cities and countryside alike. Bicycles are not just a mode of transport here; they are a way of life.

The Dutch take to their bicycles for daily commutes, errands, and leisure activities. This cycling culture not only promotes a healthier lifestyle but also contributes to reducing traffic congestion and carbon emissions.

With the flat landscape and well-maintained infrastructure, cycling becomes an accessible and efficient way to get around.

The country’s commitment to cycling is evident in the provision of dedicated bike lanes, secure parking facilities, and even traffic signals designed specifically for cyclists.

Employment agencies that work with Robin offer their employees bikes if the accommodation is less than 10 kilometres from the workplace. It’s often for free or with a small deposit.

Healthcare and Social Welfare

The Netherlands is renowned for its well-organized and inclusive healthcare system, which is a cornerstone of its commitment to the well-being of its residents. Here is everything you need to know.

Comprehensive Healthcare System Accessible to All Residents

The country operates under a mandatory health insurance system, ensuring everyone can access necessary medical care and services.

Under this system, every Dutch resident must have basic health insurance coverage. This insurance covers a range of medical services, from doctor visits and hospital stays to prescription medications and preventive care.

This also applies to foreign workers. While working in the Netherlands, you can plan to pay for health insurance between €30 and €35 per week. Some employers will automatically deduct that amount from your salary, and others will let you pay for health insurance. 

Importantly, the Dutch healthcare system places emphasis on patient choice and autonomy, allowing individuals to select their preferred healthcare providers within their insurance network.

In addition to basic coverage, residents have the option to purchase supplementary health insurance to cover services not included in the basic package, such as dental care and certain types of alternative therapies. This flexibility ensures that individuals can tailor their coverage to their specific needs.

Social Safety Nets

The Netherlands prides itself on its strong social safety net, which plays a major role in supporting individuals and families during various life stages and situations.

This safety net encompasses a range of benefits that contribute to society’s overall welfare and stability.

Unemployment Benefits

In the event of job loss, Dutch citizens and eligible residents are entitled to unemployment benefits. These benefits provide financial support while individuals seek new employment opportunities. The government also offers programmes to help unemployed individuals reenter the job market through training and support.

If you want to receive these benefits, you must meet certain conditions. For instance, you must have worked for at least 26 weeks in the 36 weeks before you became unemployed. Another important criterion is that you have become unemployed through no fault of your own. However, there’s a specified list of conditions that your case can fall under. 

Maternity Leave

The Netherlands recognises family life’s importance and offers new mothers generous maternity leave. Typically, maternity leave extends up to 16 weeks, with a portion of the salary being paid during this period. This policy promotes a healthy work-life balance and supports families during a significant transition.

Childcare Support

The Dutch government strongly emphasises children’s well-being and provides various forms of support for families. Childcare subsidies and allowances are available to help cover the costs of childcare services, making it easier for parents to balance their careers with parenting responsibilities.

Education System

The Netherlands has earned a reputation for offering a top-tier education system, from primary to tertiary institutions. This commitment to excellence in education is deeply ingrained in Dutch culture and society, making it an attractive destination for local and international students.

From the early years of primary international school, Dutch education focuses on fostering a strong foundation in various subjects and personal and social development. As students progress through their educational journey, they are exposed to a well-rounded curriculum that encourages critical thinking, problem-solving, and effective communication skills.

The Dutch education system significantly emphasises cultivating critical thinking and creativity. Students are encouraged to ask questions, challenge assumptions, and explore innovative solutions to problems. This approach creates a dynamic learning environment where students actively participate in their education.

Moreover, interactive learning techniques are integrated into classrooms, enabling students to collaborate with their peers and engage in hands-on activities. This enhances their understanding of the subjects and prepares them for the practical challenges of the real world.

The Dutch international schools are favourable for people looking to relocate with their children.

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Working Environment

The working environment in the Netherlands is characterised by a unique and progressive work culture that values openness, collaboration, and equality. Their approach fosters a sense of shared responsibility and empowers employees at all levels to contribute their ideas and opinions.

Collaboration is another essential aspect of the Dutch work culture. Cross-functional teamwork is highly encouraged, as it leverages diverse skill sets and perspectives to achieve common goals. Collaborative efforts are not limited to the workplace; the Dutch belief in working together also extends to the broader community and society.

International Job Opportunities

The Netherlands is an amazing EU country for anyone who is looking to move abroad. If that’s you, register on our website, and we will help you find a suitable job position with accommodation!

Work And Residence Permit

Understanding the work permit and visa regulations is crucial for those considering working in the Netherlands. If you are a citizen of a European Union, EEA, or Swiss country, you typically have the right to work in the Netherlands without a separate work permit.

However, if you are a non-EU/EEA citizen, you must obtain a work permit, which your prospective employer usually arranges.

It’s important to know the specifics of your work permit and residence status to ensure legal compliance. The Dutch government provides resources and information to guide individuals through the process, and many employers also offer support.

Dutch Pension System

Foreign workers in the Netherlands generally have access to the same pension funds as Dutch citizens, although the specifics can vary based on factors such as the worker’s employment status, length of stay, and country of origin.

The Dutch pension system is recognised for its comprehensive and well-structured approach to ensuring retirement security for its citizens. The Dutch state pension system is built upon three pillars, each serving a specific role in providing financial support to retirees.

State Pension

The first pillar is the state pension, known as the “AOW pension” (Algemene Ouderdomswet). The government is providing this as a universal and obligatory pension plan. Eligibility for the AOW pension is based on age and residency, and it guarantees a basic income to all Dutch residents once they reach a certain age, currently set at 66 years and gradually increasing to 67 years. The Dutch pension fund aims to provide a foundation for retirees’ financial well-being.

Foreign workers who reside in the Netherlands and meet the eligibility criteria can also qualify for the state pension. To be eligible, individuals usually need to have lived or worked in the Netherlands for a certain number of years. The rules can differ for citizens of EU/EEA countries and non-EU/EEA countries. Many bilateral social security agreements exist between the Netherlands and other countries to ensure that pension entitlements earned in one country are recognised in the other.Occupational Pension Scheme

The second pillar consists of the occupational pension scheme. These employer-sponsored pension plans are collectively negotiated between employers and labour unions. These plans are mandatory for most employees and are designed to supplement the state pension. Both employers and employees contribute to these plans, which typically provide more substantial benefits than the AOW pension. The funds are managed by pension funds and investment companies to ensure long-term growth.

Foreign workers employed in the Netherlands may also be enrolled in occupational pension schemes, just like Dutch workers. These schemes are often mandatory and designed to provide supplementary retirement benefits. If a Dutch company employs a foreign worker, they may be automatically included in the company’s pension plan, with contributions made jointly by the employer and the employee. For short-term foreign workers, there might be specific rules or arrangements depending on the duration of employment and any existing social security agreements.

Private Supplementary Pension Plans

The third pillar encompasses private supplementary pension plans, also known as individual or voluntary pension savings. These pension funds are meant to be complementary to the state and occupational pensions and are entirely optional. Individuals can contribute to these plans on their own, often receiving tax benefits for doing so. The contributions are invested, and the accumulated savings form an additional source of income during retirement.

Foreign workers, especially those with long-term residency or employment plans in the Netherlands, can contribute to private supplementary pension plans. These plans are individual or voluntary, and their contributions can offer tax advantages. These plans provide additional financial security during retirement beyond the state and occupational pensions.

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Dutch Cuisine

While the Netherlands might not be the first place that comes to mind when considering world-renowned cuisine, its culinary offerings are far from ordinary.

One iconic Dutch dish that embodies this culinary philosophy is “Stamppot.” It is a hearty comfort food made by mashing potatoes and mixing them with vegetables like kale, sauerkraut, or carrots.

Herring is another Dutch culinary tradition that has stood the test of time. Raw herring, often served with onions and pickles, is a delicacy enjoyed by locals and adventurous tourists alike. It’s a reflection of the Netherlands’ strong connection to the sea and its maritime history.

The Netherlands also boasts a thriving street food scene, with “Bitterballen” being a must-try snack. These deep-fried, bite-sized balls are filled with a mixture of beef or veal ragout, offering a savoury flavour that perfectly complements a cold Dutch beer.

Speaking of beer, the Netherlands is renowned for its brewing heritage, with countless local breweries producing a wide range of craft beers. The Dutch take their beer seriously, and exploring the variety of brews available can be a delightful experience.

Language and Communication

Language and communication in the Netherlands play a crucial role in both social interactions and professional settings. The country’s official language is Dutch, and it holds a strong cultural and national identity.

However, one of the remarkable aspects of Dutch society is its high level of English proficiency. The Netherlands consistently ranks among the top countries in the world for English language proficiency, making it a welcoming and accessible destination for foreign workers and expatriates. According to some research, about 93% of Dutch people speak English.

English is widely spoken and understood, particularly in urban areas, business environments, and among the younger population. Many Dutch people are comfortable conducting conversations, business transactions, and even academic activities in English. 

This proficiency significantly eases the transition for foreign workers seeking to live and work in the Netherlands.

Learning Dutch

Learning Dutch offers many benefits for those working and living in the Netherlands.

Even though English is widely spoken and understood, acquiring a basic understanding of Dutch can significantly enhance your experience and integration into Dutch society.

Here are some key benefits of learning Dutch:

  • Integration: Learning the local language allows you to connect more deeply with locals, participate in conversations, and engage in social and cultural activities.
  • Employment opportunities: While many Dutch people are proficient in English, if you can speak Dutch, it can give you a competitive edge in the job market, especially in customer-facing roles or industries where Dutch is essential.
  • Cultural understanding: Learning Dutch provides insights into Dutch culture, customs, and history. You’ll be better equipped to appreciate local traditions and build meaningful relationships.
  • Navigation: Having a grasp of Dutch helps with daily tasks such as reading signs, understanding public transportation announcements, and communicating in shops and restaurants.

Public Services and Infrastructure

Public services and infrastructure in the Netherlands stand as a testament to the country’s commitment to efficiency, sustainability, and quality of life for its residents. With a well-developed public transportation system and a strong focus on sustainability initiatives, the Netherlands has become a model for other nations to follow.

Efficient Public Transportation

The Netherlands boasts a highly efficient and interconnected public transportation network that includes trains, trams, buses, and cycling lanes.

The Dutch rely heavily on these modes of transportation, which significantly reduce traffic congestion, lower carbon emissions, and promote a healthier lifestyle. Their railway system is renowned for its punctuality and extensive coverage, making it a popular choice for daily commuters and travellers exploring the country.

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Trams and buses seamlessly integrate with the trains, providing last-mile connectivity and making it easy to navigate urban areas.

Sustainability Initiatives

The Netherlands is at the forefront of sustainability initiatives, demonstrating a strong commitment to reducing its carbon footprint and preserving the environment.

Renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar, and biomass, play a significant role in the Dutch energy landscape. The iconic Dutch windmills have evolved into modern wind farms, generating substantial amounts of clean energy.

These efforts are evident in their job market as well. Robin works with many employment agencies that are hiring people to work on solar panel installations, recycling, and building eco-friendly houses. If you’re interested in working in the Netherlands and want to participate in such significant initiatives, register on the Robin website and find a suitable position for your skills!

The country’s urban planning also reflects its eco-friendly ethos. Many Dutch cities have embraced green architecture, incorporating features like living roofs, green spaces, and sustainable building materials. Amsterdam, for instance, is known for its innovative eco-friendly housing projects that prioritise energy efficiency and resource conservation.

In addition to energy, the Netherlands strongly emphasises waste reduction and recycling. Many Dutch cities have implemented advanced waste separation and recycling programmes, making it easy for residents to participate in sustainable waste management practises.

The Dutch government’s commitment to sustainability extends beyond infrastructure to policy initiatives. The Netherlands aims to be carbon neutral by 2050, and various policies, incentives, and regulations are in place to drive sustainable practices across industries and communities.

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Final Thoughts

Living in the Netherlands offers a harmonious blend of picturesque landscapes, a progressive quality of life, a rich cultural heritage, and a commitment to sustainability.

With its efficient public services, diverse culinary scene, and welcoming English-speaking environment, the Netherlands provides a unique and fulfilling experience for locals and expatriates. This vibrant nation beckons with open arms, promising an enriching and unforgettable journey.

If you’re ready to start your journey, we would like to support you! Register on our website, and we will help you find a job with accommodation in the Netherlands!


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