Working in the Netherlands

Hello everyone,

I'm from Spain and I'm moving to the Netherlands on September 25 to live and work there. I have Dutch citizenship because of my mother.

I want someone who is an expat to tell me how difficult is to get a job in the Netherlands (any kind of job to begin with) without speaking Dutch and being fluent in English. How long can it take to get a job there? I have savings to survive for three months, so I must get a job before that time or I will be living on the streets.

Of course, I'm paying attention to big cities only.

My aunts there are saying that the labour market in the Netherlands is really bad and that without speaking Dutch, it's impossible to get a job.

I graduated in English Studies and Literature and I have a Master's Degree in teaching.

Due to the difficulties I'm experiencing in finding a room (there are lots of students who only rent for a limited period of time and many problems with registration), and the fact that I'm looking for a room in Rotterdam, Amsterdam, The Hague, Eindhoven and Utrecht, all at the same time, I'm out of desperation and about to cancel my flight to the Netherlands (which won't be refunded) and changing my destiny to England.

What are your opinions about this? What kind of advice can you give me?

I would appreciate your responses.



By the way, I have experience in working at cafés in Toronto and I also volunteered for the Toronto International Film Festival in 2011.


You figured it right.
Not easy to find job.
Still, you can try real estate jobs or hostel jobs, many of them require just English.
Shared rooms on (never give money in advance, only after  you've seen the room & papers.
You might get a cheaper room without registration and then look for adds in Albert H. supermarkets, at the entrance (some people charge 50 euros for registration only - again, pay it after you solve it).
Also, it's easier to place adds of what you do best, work freelance, there's people looking for teachers to their kids..
If you have a bit of money for starters, invest in yourself, find room to share with reg,(400 - 500 / month) take your SOFI nr, get going.

Have fun!
Have faith! :)


Hi Maash.Bogdan,

Thanks for all your updates.

Is it really possible to work in hostels without speaking Dutch? I know that most of the people arriving at hostels are international travelers who speak English, but I guess they require Dutch too because it is a face to face job.

I have Dutch citizenship, but even so I think it's very difficult to get a job there without speaking Dutch.

I'm seriously thinking about going back to Canada. I lived there for almost two years. That's a good country.



Hi Andrea,

I think there is just a little chance to find something within 3 months without at least reasonable Dutch.

As well as I know it is almost impossible to find a job within the hospitality branch without Dutch. Nowadays they ask fluent Dutch even if you are applying for a cleaner position. There are of course international companies who still hire people who can speak good English but most of the cases they prefer candidates with Dutch or people with special knowledge. Given that the unemployment rate is still high within the natives and that you don't have any special knowledge to offer (like engineering, IT  etc), I think that your chance to get a job within 3 months is really close to 0.

Teaching Spanish would be an option. You can be a freelancer for example, but this is all that I can think of.

Sorry if I sound a bit discouraging but the job market is really tough at the moment.

All the best

Hi seetchoo,

Is not even possible to get a job as a waitress, cleaner, supermarket cashier or something like that speaking only English?

Some people have told me the opposite to you. They say that there are lots of English speaking jobs in the touristic streets in Amsterdam. That a lot of people begin like that, and little by little they get better jobs.

I'm sorry, but I don't believe what you say about my chances to get a job in three months being close to 0.





Hola amiga,

Tambien domino el Ingles perfectamente, me he criado y vivido toda mi vida en Sudáfrica, un precioso país...pero a lo que vamos...tu fuerte ahora mismo son los idiomas y ataca por ese lado, hay muchas industrias que precisan de gente que sepan dominar varios idiomas, aunque la verdad que el Castellano es menos pedido cada vez, somos muchos y muchos que dominan el Ingles o Aleman o varios idiomas, yo el Afrikaans que viene siendo el Holandés antiguo, así que no tuve problema alguno por ahi.

Una variedad de industrias son; turismo, hotelero,consignación de buques, importación y comercio exterior, asistencia técnica....y un monton mas, pero te aconsejo que trates de ponerte en contacto con una firma que se llama Teleperformance, yo trabaje alli en Maastricht y la verdad es que son una gente excelente,casi  todos jóvenes y encantadores, mas de 3500 profesionales en sus campos en un gran edificio, buenas condiciones y para entrar a Holanda , una excelente posibilidad, pues desde allí puedes tomar cursos en Holandés financiado por el ayuntamiento, mostrar que te quieres integrar y hay formas de conseguir pisos muy baratos, aunque de entrada son carísimos!!!

Espero tengas suerte, si quieres puedes enviarme un correo, si tienes alguna duda o quieres saber algo mas.

Saludos y suerte!!

Only English on this Anglofone forum.
This is not respectful to others who can't read Spanish and receiving benefits from your post.

If you stil want to contribute in Spanish,  we have a different forum as well. You click on the flag and a menu roll out.  Click on the Spanish flag and you're on the forum.

Hi Andrea,

I can only judge the situation based on my own and my friends' experiences so it can be the case that I am mistaken. Last time I tried to find some (at that time any kind of) job in the Netherlands was a bit more than a year ago so my info can be outdated.
I still think that it would be better to have a bit more savings (savings that would be enough for at least six months) because three months can be too short. Don't get me wrong I really don't want to discourage you and it seems to me that you already made your decision so my comments will have no real influence. I may be too pessimistic but planning with the worst case scenario has its merits :)

I wish you to find the right country and the right job as soon as possible.


I think its good to give less positive sides of living in the Netherlands because most people are to enthusiastic and don't see the black wholes.
Finding a job is not easy these days like you mentioned in an other post, and they think if they speak English, thev can manage. But the truth is, you need your Dutch!!! English is not the second language.


Thank you all for your contributions. I'm going to keep on with my searching and see how things are going.

Hope you all have a nice week.


Hi Andrea

I have been living here in Amsterdam with my boyfriend for a few months and still don't have a job despite looking very hard for even simple hospitality jobs. Everywhere requires you to have conversation level Dutch at a minimum, d  there are very few places that will hire an English only speaker like myself. I'm in a bit of shock about it myself because I had no problem at all getting employed back home and have a good resume - im just lacking fluent Dutch.

Luckely it is not oblige to speak dutch to find a work in the Netherlands ( Thank you Netherlands)
You have many agencies for people who speak an other langages ( undutchables, randstadt multilangages, uniquemultilangages, adams...) go to their website and apply
Good luck

My apologies,

It was meant as a response to one of the members and I did not think that it would come on here to be read by everyone, but to those who do not understand Spanish, I merely pointed out the steps a foreign person should take to integrate and one of the steps is to learn the language and culture of the country in which one works, studies or lives in as a gesture of gratitude.

just seen your post!
I don't know if your any further forward but I have been in Amsterdam for nearly 2 years now and sent out my C.V to hotels,Hospitals,bars in the first 6 months and I have only managed to get Jobs through dutch friends.
I like yourself only speak English although after some dutch lessons and working I have picked up more of the dutch language but by no means fluent.
I can string some sentences together and understand more but can easily find my self nodding and smiling as i become lost lol.
Back to the question it is verrrrrry difficult as a man in Amsterdam to get work unless you speak the language and that is if you can find the job that will take you first as in 1 job, 30 or more people apply or go due to no jobs for dutch people let alone expats!
Women stand a better chance in the bar work sector or hospitality (no discrimination intended) but merely pointing out what i have seen.

After all this I'm having to look into going back to England myself :(.

I hope this has helped and wish you all the best in your decisions and future.
G :)