Working in the Netherlands

the Netherlands
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Updated 2020-04-30 12:19

Because unemployment rates are so low and you can find many international companies in the country, it shouldn't be too difficult to find a job in the Netherlands. However, fluency in languages other than English (especially Dutch) can be extremely beneficial. Read on to find out how to find work in the Netherlands and how to increase your chances of success.

 Good to know:

The unemployment rate in the Netherlands has always been low, with an average of 5.29% from 2003 until 2019; at the end of 2019, the number stood at 3.5%. 

Work permits in the Netherlands

If you're from the EU or the EEA (this includes the EU, Lichtenstein, Norway, and Iceland), you won't need a work permit to seek employment in the Netherlands. Short-term, temporary workers won't need one either.

Otherwise, if you're staying for longer than three months, you will need to apply for a work permit. It will be a combined residence and employment permit, which is called a GVVA.

Some exceptions apply. If you're a highly-skilled migrant or worker, have a resident permit with “arbeid is vrij toegestaan” (permission to work), or are self-employed and carry out the work specified on your residence permit, then you won't have to apply for a GVVA.

The labour market in the Netherlands

The Dutch labour market is great from an expat's standpoint. There's an excessive amount of vacancies, and employment rates are down.

Considering many Dutch companies have to prove they couldn't recruit any native Dutch people for their jobs before they recruit from outside of the country, this is good news for expats. There are plenty of opportunities abound, which means it shouldn't be challenging to find a company that will sponsor and hire you.

How and where to look for work in the Netherlands

The best way to look for a job in the Netherlands is through online venues, such as MonsterboardIndeed, and LinkedIn. These are all job posting sites where you can perform searches for vacancies in your city or nearby.

You can also try joining expat groups on sites such as Expat.com Facebook or Reddit. On these websites, there are huge expat networks where they look out for one another. Most will post about job vacancies at their companies, and you'll get an opportunity to be one of the first applicants.

How to write your CV and cover letter in the Netherlands

Dutch CVs don't differ too much from others in the Western world. It's pretty standard in that you list your name, contact information, relevant experience, and education. If you're stuck on how to edit your CV, or if you've never written one before, you can find many templates online. Also, consider getting a free CV review at TopCV.

When you apply for a job, you will also need to attach a cover letter in most cases. In the Netherlands, these are called “motivation letters” (motivatiebrief). These are also similar to traditional Western cover letters where you give the potential employer a glimpse into who you are. There are also templates for these online you can use as inspiration.

Generally, you would write your CV and cover letters in whatever language the job posting's in. But in most cases, it's alright to write both in English, as most Dutch people and companies speak English.

Wages in the Netherlands

If you're over 21 years of age, as of 1 July 2019, the minimum wage per month is €1,635.60; it's €377.45 per week and €75.49 per day.

If you're under 21, then you will want to refer to the Government of the Netherlands' website to determine how much minimum wage is for your age. There are separate ones for each age starting at 15.

Working hours and benefits in the Netherlands

Part-time jobs are usually 20 to 32 hours a week, while full-time ones are 38 to 40 hours a week. Parents usually work part-time with one weekday off so they can spend more time with their family.

Employers are required by law to provide you with at least 8% of your gross yearly wage in holiday allowances. The only exception is if you earn three times the legal minimum wage; then you wouldn't get a holiday allowance.

If you work full-time, your employer is legally required to give at least 20 paid days off. Most companies offer more than that, such as 25.

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.