Expat Life

Moving to the Netherlands is easy with this helpful Guide

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Moving abroad isn’t easy. There are so many things to arrange and think about. The rules are different in almost every country, and you have to be very patient. This is no different in the Netherlands. What you need to arrange for moving to the Netherlands depends on your nationality, where you were born, whether you come alone or with family, and if you have found a job already.

I will tell you a bit about how things are going in the Netherlands and where you will find more information. I will give you direct links to websites with more details on the subject. I hope this will make your move a little less hectic. As perhaps the most important rule I would say, start all your preparations on time and ensure all papers are in order when you move to the Netherlands. Being well prepared will certainly help you and save you a lot of stress.

Can I move to the Netherlands without a job?

Depending on your country of origin, you may need an entry visa, a work permit, and a residence permit. You will also need to register in the Personal Records Database to obtain a Citizen Service Number (Burgerservicenummer – BSN).

The Netherlands makes a distinction between EU-Citizens and Non-EU citizens. So let’s start with these differences.

EU citizens

If you come from an EU country or Lichtenstein, Norway, Iceland, or Switzerland, you have the right to move to another EU country to work without a work permit. You then only need a valid passport or a valid ID.

If you want to stay in the Netherlands for longer than four months, you need to register your details in the local Personal Records Database (BRP) within five days after arriving. If you register at a municipality, you will receive a citizen service number (Burgerservicenummer – BSN). Your city or an expat center can provide more information on registering.

Non-EU citizens

If you do not come from one of the above countries, you can only work in the Netherlands under certain conditions. For example, you must have an employer who will bring you to the Netherlands to come and work.

If you’re a highly educated specialist in your field, work in the Netherlands will also be possible.  A Dutch company needs to prove that you’re uniquely suited for a job for which they can’t get a European.

There are also special rules for students, artists, and asylum seekers from outside the EU. Check this page to read more about these special rules. 

If you come as an entrepreneur or with your own company, this website of the Dutch government will probably help you with the necessary information.

The Dutch Government has a questionnaire on its website Answer these questions, and you will see what you need to arrange if you are coming to the Netherlands for work.

hand with pen that fills in forms for moving to The Netherlands

Before moving to the Netherlands

Before moving to the Netherlands, you need to arrange several formalities. 

First of all, I would like to advise you to renew your passport in your home country to have a long time before renewing it. This is, of course, not an obligation, but it is so handy that you don’t have to worry about it the first time.

Also, check whether your driver’s license is valid for at least six months after arrival.


Visit your bank and tell them about your move. Ask them how things are handled during your assignment. 

Make sure that you have sufficient money at your disposal during the first weeks in the Netherlands. You will not be able to open a bank account in the Netherlands immediately, but you will already have to make various payments. 

Don’t forget to cancel all your automatic payments if they are not needed during your absence.

Inform your tax advisor or tax office about your move and fill in any necessary forms. Think about an E101 form if you are an EU citizen and want to pay for your social security in your home country.

Formalities for moving to the Netherlands

Check which documents you need to submit for your work permit and residence permit. Think of birth certificates, marriage or divorce certificates, etc. Have all documents legalized and translated if they are not in Dutch, English, German or French. You can already apply for work or residence permits before moving to the Netherlands. Click here to apply for your work permit!  Click here to apply for your residence permit! For more information about different permits, you can check this website.
family on stamp page passport moving to The Netherlands

Healthcare in the Netherlands

Request your medical information from your doctor and take the vaccination information with you from everyone who moves with you.

If you use medication, take enough with you to bridge the first weeks. A clear printout of the medicines you are taking may also be helpful.

Check your travel/health insurance and make sure that you are covered at all times. Also, during your trip to the Netherlands and your first weeks.

If you have an employer already, check with them for the possibility of collective health insurance deals. 

Social Security

If you are an EU citizen and wish to pay social security contributions in your home country, obtain an E101 form. You can find more information about this E101 certificate here.


Children between the age of 5 and 16 must attend full-time education in the Netherlands. By clicking this link, you will find more information about the Dutch school system and the international schools in the Netherlands. The Dutch education system differs from that of the rest of the world, so I recommend reading more about this before choosing a school for your children. Check-in time whether the schools you are interested in have a waiting list. Register your children early to ensure a spot. The same applies to childcare organizations. At most schools and childcare centers you can arrange all this via e-mail. Don’t wait until you are moving to the Netherlands. Collect the latest report cards from the children’s school, preferably in English.

Moving abroad with children

Read this blog post with many valuable tips if you are moving to the Netherlands with children.


First of all, it is important to determine what you are going to do with your property in your home country. Are you going to rent or sell this? Take enough time to arrange everything properly.

Visit broker sites in the Netherlands to get an idea of prices, the size of the houses in the Netherlands, and the possible location where you would like to live. An excellent website to find houses to buy is Funda.nl

Also, check with your company/organization whether they might be able to help you with housing. 

Furnished or Unfurnished?

If you are going to rent a place, you have to consider that many houses and apartments offered for rent are entirely bare. They come without curtains, lighting, white goods, and in some cases, even without flooring. So ask this before you sign a contract, not being surprised once you get the key.

Sometimes there is a possibility to take over a floor, curtains, or lighting from the previous owner at an agreed price. There are also fully furnished apartments in the major cities, but the offer will be minimal and the prices high.

Decide whether you will bring your own furniture or if you will purchase it in the Netherlands. Request quotes from international moving companies on time if you decide to bring your own stuff. Sometimes your company will take care of this so ask them in advance.

You will find more information about the housing market in the Netherlands in this article by interNations.

Real Estate Rental Agency

If you decide to rent a place and need good help with that, I can recommend the company 123wonen. This is a real estate rental agency in the Netherlands. They are specialized in expat rentals and offer a large variety of houses in all of the Netherlands. They also offer a relocation service. While you are still abroad they will take care of viewings and so much more. Check out their website and I’m sure that with their help, you will find a perfect new ‘Home’.


Cars are relatively expensive in the Netherlands due to the BPM Car Tax and possible import duties. It may therefore be a consideration to bring your own vehicle. You avoid taxes and duties with this, provided that the car is also your property for at least six months (and registered).

Read more about moving to the Netherlands and bringing your vehicle on the website of RDW.

bring your car when moving to The Netherlands

Moving to the Netherlands

And then the day is there that you are moving to the Netherlands. Once you arrive in the Netherlands, you still have to arrange many things. I will share the most important ones with you.

Temporary Housing

If you move to the Netherlands but have not yet found a home, temporary housing may be a solution. Some companies offer houses and apartments where you usually pay per night, so you can easily cancel. This allows you to find a home that you like, and you may also have to wait for your furniture or other belongings to arrive. In this case, temporary housing is a great solution.

These are some links to websites that offer you corporate housing.

Register and get your Citizen Service Number

Within five days after arriving in the Netherlands, you must register with the municipality where you currently reside. You usually have to make an appointment online on the municipality’s website. You will also receive your Citizen Service number at the municipality (Burgerservicenummer-BSN).

Another way to register is via the different Expat Centers in the Netherlands. They will help you with your registration in the city, and your BSN number and inform you about other things that you have to arrange. Below you will find the links to their websites.

Formalities for moving to the Netherlands

Arrange your work permit if you have not already done so. The same applies to your residence permit. 

Click here to apply for your work permit! 

Click here to apply for your residence permit!

For more information about different permits, you can check this website.

Dutch Telephone number

After you register at the municipality, it may be helpful to arrange a Dutch SIM card to have a Dutch telephone number that you can pass on to the various authorities where you register.

Check out this blog post for the most used apps that make life in the Netherlands so much easier.

Bank account

Now you can open a Dutch bank account. The most well-known banks are ABN AMRO, Rabobank, ING Bank, but you can also open an account at a more expat-friendly bank like Bunq bank, Revolut, or N26.

Health Insurance in the Netherlands

Arrange your Dutch health insurance within four months after moving to the Netherlands and receiving your BSN number. Health insurance in the Netherlands works a bit differently than in some other places in Europe. The government regulates health Insurance in the Netherlands, and you are obliged to have insurance. Everyone needs at least standard health insurance to cover the cost of, for example, consulting a general practitioner, hospital treatment, and prescribed medication. You may also opt to take out additional insurance to cover expenses not included in the standard package. You will find more information about Dutch health insurance here. Also, check with your employer about the possibility of collective insurance deals.

Register with a local doctor

It’s very important to find your general practitioner as soon as possible. Not all GPs accept new patients, and some are less used to having foreigners as patients. 

In the Netherlands, you need to go to your general practitioner before you can visit a specialist. The GP will refer you to a specialist. 

Register with a local dentist

Search on google for dentists in your city and visit their websites. Start searching in time because many practices have a patient stop. In the cities, you will find dentists that focus on Expats. This will help for better communication if you don’t speak the dutch language.

Dental insurance is regulated within your Health Insurance. There are various packages within your insurance where you can choose what you want to insure. Check this before taking out your insurance.


When you come from an EU country, most of the insurances will be similar to those in your home country. However, I think that the Dutch spend more on insurance on average than in other European countries. 

Below I will tell you more about which insurance policies are mandatory and which are recommended. That may make arranging the proper insurance a bit easier.

Legally required insurances

All adults in the Netherlands are legally required by law to have the following insurance policies:

  • Health insurance is mandatory, and you have to register within four months after arriving in the country.
  • If you own a car or motorcycle, you must have at least third-party insurance (WA-verzekering). This covers you against any damage or injury to others caused by your vehicle. There are, of course, other possibilities to increase your level of insurance. Think of limited extension (WA-Plus verzekering) or all-risk policy (Allrisk verzekering).

Most necessary insurances

There are also necessary insurances. The main insurance policies are:

  • Liability insurance (Aansprakelijkheidsverzekering particulieren). This insurance will cover you in the event of accidents and injuries to third parties that occur in your home. It will also protect you against damage caused by your property.
  • Contents insurance (Inboedelverzekering). This insurance is for both homeowners and tenants. However, first, ask your landlord if his insurance will cover this.
  • Homeowners Insurance  (Opstalverzekering) if you have a Dutch mortgage. This insurance is not compulsory, but you may need to purchase it if you take out a Dutch mortgage. 
  • Travel Insurance (Reisverzekering) I will recommend if you travel often. Good insurance will, besides medical coverage, also cover things such as lost and damaged possessions, trip cancellation, and emergency evacuation. Compare different insurance companies.

There are many more kinds of insurance policies. Take your time to find out if you need others too. 

On the internet, you will find many tools for comparing insurance companies.

United Consumers

I just want to point you to the United Consumers website. UnitedConsumers is a consumer collective that buys in bulk and returns the discount they receive to their customers. They offer health insurance and car insurance, and you can take out your gas and electricity contract. You can have the discount you receive paid out to your bank account whenever you want. They also offer a subscription for your mobile phone.

Integrate into Dutch Society

People who are moving to the Netherlands for an extended period or permanently must be able to participate in Dutch society. The government believes it is essential for them to integrate. This includes learning the Dutch language. If you have to integrate, you will receive a letter from DUO. (Dienst Uitvoering Onderwijs) You can always check their website for more information.

The place for expats in the Netherlands!

I think this post covered most of the important things you should know if you are moving to the Netherlands as an Expat. Moving abroad to a new country and facing another culture will never be easy. 

I created this website to help you learn more about dutch culture and everyday life. I will share great places to visit in the Netherlands and provide lots of information to make your trip easy. Traveling and exploring your new country will better help you understand the new culture. 

Let me know what else you would love to see on this website. Together we can make this an excellent place for expats in the Netherlands. 

Did you download my complete list of places to visit in the Netherlands? If not click the button below. It’s all or FREE!

Photo Angelique owner ourexpatlife.com

Hi, I'm Angelique

My mission is to help you get used to your new country a little easier.

I know from experience that moving to a new country and getting used to the culture can be a real challenge. 

I have experienced that all the help you can get in your new country will help you adjust to your new life easier. The Netherlands is our home country, and we have the experience as expats. So that’s a win-win.

I’m going to share as much information as I can, and if there’s anything you’d like to hear about, please let me know. There’s always room for good ideas.

Follow me also on Instagram for great tips, and let me know where you come from. I love to connect with you.

 With love,

Angelique - ourexpatlife.com for expats in The Netherlands

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