What to expect as an expat in the Netherlands

Moving to the Netherlands? You’re up for the adventure of a lifetime! Here’s what to expect and keep in mind before the big move as an expat!

11 October 2021

Renting in the Netherlands🏡

Dreaming of a big and sunny penthouse? Uhm...

The Netherlands is a tiny, lovely country, which means it’s pretty busy. Just like you, many expats joined the locals in the past years, so we’re all living here very cozy - or gezellig, as you’ll soon learn. You may think that most accommodation is rather small, depending on what you’re used to. There’s also a shortage currently, especially when it comes to apartments in Amsterdam. Wanna do some research? Check out this rental website.

Coming with a job offer or expat package? Try and get help from your company, as they probably know the market and this will make things easier.

Working in the Netherlands💼

Most expats come to the Netherlands with a job lined up, but of course that’s not the only way to do it. Depending on your industry and location, you can find plenty of job offers for English speakers. Do a bit of research on whether your industry requires speaking the local language, so you can avoid unpleasant surprises and start your lessons in time. Overall, the job market is very friendly even for non-Dutch speakers, especially in cities like Amsterdam or Rotterdam.

Once you find your dream job, you’ll be pleased to know that the work-life balance is something that the Dutchies do very well. It’s important for people here to spend time with their families, on their hobbies, working out, or having delicious local beers with bitterballen at the bar (you’ll see, you’ll see). It’s all work to live!

Banking in the Netherlands🌈

The Netherlands is modern when it comes to banking, with very few people still using cash. You’d think that means you can just move here with your cards and you’ll be set, right? Not really.

Although this will change soon, the Netherlands mainly works with Maestro cards. If you’re coming from abroad, you most likely own a Visa or Mastercard, which won’t work in...about 80% of the places. Credit cards are a no go too.

As soon as you move here, you’ll need to get a Dutch bank account that gives you a (debit) Maestro card and supports iDeal. I what? iDeal - it’s how we pay for everything online here. You’ll need this.

So how do you get a bank account when you just moved, you wonder? If you choose to open a bank account with bunq, it’s very easy. It takes 5 minutes, and you only need your phone and ID. Don’t worry if you don’t have a social security number (BSN) yet. We give you 90 days to sort that out. Of course, you’ll get your beautiful Dutch card, we support iDeal and are integrated with Wise for easy international payments.

Moreover, you can open Bank Accounts with different IBANs from different countries. For example, if you’re moving from France, you can have a Dutch IBAN for your financial needs here, and a French one for the ones back home. Need multiple currencies? We’ve got that covered too.

Holidays in the Netherlands🚂

Thankfully, the Netherlands is so small that every weekend can be a small trip. Simply hop on a train and you’ll be in a fishing village, on the beach, or...in Belgium...in just a couple of hours. Most companies in the Netherlands will offer you at least 20 days of holiday per year (for a full time contract), plus national holidays. We’re not gonna lie, there aren’t many of those - so embrace those long weekends!

As with most places in Europe, a lot of other countries are at your doorstep and an affordable drive, train or flight away. With bunq, you never have to worry about extra fees when you’re abroad. You’ll always get the real exchange rate.

Excited to start your Dutch adventure? We’re sure you’ll love it here 🙌

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