Living in the Netherlands guide for expats

All the information you need to relocate and live in the Netherlands.

Our selection of articles for expatriation in the Netherlands

Opening a bank account in the Netherlands

To live anywhere in the world, you have to have money. And the safest place to put it is in a bank. Naturally, if you're going to ...

Healthcare in the Netherlands

The rest of Europe has public healthcare, but the Netherlands goes against the tide; the Dutch healthcare system is privatised ...

Working in the Netherlands

Because unemployment rates are so low and you can find many international companies in the country, it shouldn't be too difficult ...

5 possibilities to stay connected as an expat in The Netherlands

How do you stay connected with your friends and family after your move to The Netherlands? Do you choose a new Dutch phone ...

Moving to the Netherlands with children

As of 2019, 21.9% of the Dutch population is under 20 years old. Considering a good chunk of the population is minors ...

Accommodation in the Netherlands

Maybe you're passing through the Netherlands for a week or so. Or maybe you're making a permanent move here. Whatever might the ...

Accommodation in Rotterdam

Rotterdam is home to the largest shipping port in the world; no doubt you've heard of this big and important city. It was almost ...

Accommodation in Utrecht

While most cities in the Randstad are located by or near the coast, Utrecht is an exception. Instead, it's located right in the ...

Student accommodation in the Netherlands

While most universities help you arrange for housing, that isn't the norm in the Netherlands. Even though there are some student ...

Lifestyle in the Netherlands

In the Netherlands, the Dutch have a “work hard, play hard” mentality. For them, there's a time and a place for ...

Relocating to the Netherlands

Congratulations! You've decided to bite the bullet and move to the Netherlands. While it may be a very exciting time, it can be ...

Relocating to the Netherlands with your pet

For the majority of us, pets are the equivalent of family members. So when you're moving overseas, you don't want to leave them ...

Travelling around the Netherlands

As everyone knows, Dutchies really like to bike everywhere. According to the Dutch government, over 25% of the journeys ...

Things to do in the Netherlands

Despite being a small country, the Netherlands has so much to offer, especially in terms of leisure. Seeing as you get at ...

Phones and internet in the Netherlands

In September 2019, the Netherlands ranked seventh in the world for mobile internet speeds and 22nd for fixed broadband speeds ...

About the Netherlands

Geography of the Netherlands

The Netherlands is an extremely flat country. Technically, the southern and eastern parts are the foothills of the Ardennes Mountains, but otherwise, you won’t see any mountains here; just hills and dunes.

The Netherlands and the northern part of Belgium make up what’s known as “the low countries”. 26% of the total land area is below sea level.

Three main rivers run through the country: the Rhine, the Maas, and the Waal. They run mostly from east to west and empty into the North Sea. Another notable body of water is the IJsselmeer, which is the largest (manmade) lake in the whole country.

The four main cities you will need to know are Amsterdam, Rotterdam, the Hague, and Utrecht. Together, they form the Randstad, which is considered a conurbation.

The climate of the Netherlands

The Netherlands has a temperate maritime climate. The summers are usually cool, and winters are moderate, although it does snow often.

If you decide to move here, there are two main things you need to worry about: wind and rain. However, you will soon learn to appreciate those rare sunny, still-winded days!

The economy of the Netherlands

This country has a diverse economy, providing healthcare, banking, transportation, and other services. Their primary industries are agriculture, oil and natural gas, electronic machinery and equipment, metal and engineering products, and more.

Some notable international brands you will find here are: 

  • Royal Dutch Shell (oil company)
  • Phillips (home electronics)
  • TomTom (navigation)

Immigration in the Netherlands

The Netherlands is a wonderfully diverse country, which means it shouldn’t be too difficult to fit in. As of 2019, there were 17.1 million people residing here.

As expected, the majority of expats come from Europe, as they are in close proximity to the country and can exercise freedom of movement to travel to other EU countries easily. The majority of them come from Poland. Other countries that have high immigration to the Netherlands are Asia, Americas, and Africa.

Language in the Netherlands

Although the main language of the Netherlands is Dutch, the majority of the population speaks fluent English. The Dutch claim to be the best English speakers in the world, and they may be right on that front.

In the majority of cases, you can get by for years without learning any Dutch, especially if you live in the Randstad. Obviously, if you live out in the countryside, you may find it more challenging to have zero knowledge of the native language. But if you are moving here for university, you will be pleased to know that half of all courses are taught in English.

If you do learn Dutch, you will have to insist on speaking it. When Dutchies hear non-native speakers struggling with their language, they will naturally switch to English. While this may be easier for you, it won’t help in advancing your Dutch language skills in the long run

And don’t be afraid to be direct in voicing your desire to practice your Dutch skills. In fact, the Dutch are known for being straightforward and blunt. While it may seem jarring at first, you will soon become accustomed and may even pick up this habit yourself!

Social life in the Netherlands

When you move to the Netherlands, be prepared to attend many borrels. Borrels are where you go for a drink and light snacks with your friends or coworkers. While the Dutch work hard, they play hard too! At many workplaces, you can expect regular after-work borrels, usually held on Fridays.

In the summer, on the rare sunny days, you will see plenty of Dutchies out in the canals, sunning themselves on boats. Be sure to partake in this pastime, as you won’t get many chances to!

Quick Information

Capital : Amsterdam
Official Languages : Dutch; Flemish
Currency : Euro
Area : 41526 Km2
Population : 16645000
Calling Code : +31
Timezone : Europe/Amsterdam

Netherlands city guide

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