Updated 6 months ago

The Netherlands has one of the lowest unemployment rates in Europe. Between the numerous international companies based there and the numerous tax breaks an expat can receive, there are many advantages to finding a job in the Netherlands.

While English is understood by most people, some knowledge of Dutch is required to get along with your coworkers, even in multinational corporations. Language lessons are highly recommended.

Work permits

Work permits are a separate matter from residence permits. As a general rule, if you are from the EU or the EEA (EU plus Lichtenstein, Iceland, and Norway) you do not need a residence permit or a work permit. Short-term workers that are working temporarily in the Netherlands also do not need a work permit.

Nationals from outside the EU and EEA who are staying and working in the Netherlands for longer than 3 months are required to apply for a GVVA, which covers both employment and residence. This can be obtained through the IND. There are exceptions for highly-skilled workers, students, asylum-seekers, seasonal workers, and Croatians. In all of these cases additional conditions will apply.  

Finding a Job

If you are looking for work, most companies advertise their open positions on websites such as Indeed, Monsterboard, and through Linked In. There are also numerous smaller job agencies that may specialise in finding work for those in the service industry, or in biotech labs.  

If you are looking for a job it is important to realise that a resume is often referred to as a CV or curriculum vitae, and a cover letter is often called “letter of motivation” or motivatiebrief. No matter what they are called, the first is meant to showcase your employment history and experience, while the latter gives the prospective employer a more personal view of who you are. Most companies accept applications in English.  

Interviews in the Netherlands are typically brief, to the order of 30-40 minutes, and you may be interviewed by more than one person at a time. Some companies may require a second round of interviews, while others may only have one. Most companies will explain their hiring process at the outset, but you can inquire about it if they do not. While general job-hunting advice applies throughout the Netherlands, it behooves you to look up the specifics of each company that you are applying to for your best chance of landing a job.  

Working in the Netherlands

Your typical full-time work week is described as 40 hours, with part-time jobs anywhere from 20-32 hours. A job described as 38 hours is typically considered to mean a full-time job. In the Netherlands, a part-time job is common, especially amongst parents, who frequently work 4-day weeks so that they can spend one day at home with their kids.  

Employees in the Netherlands enjoy numerous benefits, including paid vacation of at least four weeks, a “thirteenth month” bonus, family leave time, payment into a pension plan, and paid sick days. However, these benefits typically only begin after you’ve been employed for a year. The exact amount of the benefits may vary depending on the industry you work in, as benefits are negotiated by the CAO, a union which represents workers.

 Useful links:

Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment
Centrum voor Werk en inkomeri – CWI
UWV Werkbedrijf
National Vacaturebank

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