Expats in the Netherlands…
Holland is home to a large international community that includes expat employees, diplomats, international students, university teaching staff and EU nationals who migrate to the Netherlands to find work. Large cities like The Hague and Amsterdam are culturally diverse, with over 50% of residents having a foreign background.
Over 90% of nationals can speak English, which makes living in the Netherlands relatively easy for non-Dutch speakers. Written communication can be a challenge as it is always in Dutch. This includes letters from local government offices (‘gemeente’) and the tax bureau (‘belastingdienst’), along with rental agreements, utility contracts, insurance policies, etc. Newspapers, in-store signs, product packaging, nutritional labels and retail websites are typically only in Dutch as well.
Learning Dutch is not mandatory for European Union citizens who move to the Netherlands, but acquiring a basic knowledge of the language will prove extremely beneficial. Those who move to the Netherlands from non-EU countries are required to learn Dutch and have a basic understanding of the country’s history, government, geography, culture and generally accepted social behavior. This requirement is referred to as ‘inburgering‘ (social integration). There are many language schools that offer beginner Dutch classes.
Expat parents with non-Dutch speaking children will want to explore international education programs, where classroom instruction is in English. There are many international schools in the Netherlands which can be public (government-subsidized) or private, and offer primary education, secondary education or both.
Colleges and universities in the Netherlands offer higher education, and many have degree programs taught entirely in English. Currently, approximately 12% of students enrolled at Dutch schools are international. These are the top 10 universities in the Netherlands.
Expats can get around Holland easily, whether using public transport, driving or cycling. Commuters have access to express (intercity) and local (sprinter) train services. Buses operate at the local/regional level. There are also international coach lines and rail services. The Netherlands’ largest cities (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht) offer additional forms of public transport including trams, metros and ferries. The OV-Chipkaart is the Dutch universal transport card which is used for all types of public transport.
Essential information about living in the Netherlands can be found in the EXPAT HELP GUIDES section.
Holland services, such as schools, retail stores and healthcare providers, can be found in the EXPAT BUSINESS DIRECTORY section.
Concerts, shows and festivals happening in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and other cities in the Netherlands can be found in the EVENTS section.
Government announcements, community stories and Brexit updates can be found in the NEWS section.
Insight on Dutch culture, traditions, holidays and history can be found in the ABOUT THE NETHERLANDS section.