Information for expats in Holland…
The Netherlands is home to a large international community that includes expat employees, diplomats, international students, university teaching staff and EU nationals who migrate to Holland to find work. Major cities like The Hague and Rotterdam are culturally diverse, with over 50% of residents having a foreign background.
Over 90% of the Dutch population can speak English, which makes living in the Netherlands easy for non-Dutch speakers. A common challenge for expats is with written communication, as it is almost entirely in Dutch. This includes correspondence from local government offices (‘gemeente’), tax administration (‘belastingdienst’) and healthcare providers as well as rental agreements, utility contracts, insurance policies, etc. This is also true of newspapers, store signs, product labels and retailer websites.
Learning Dutch is not mandatory for citizens of other European Union countries who move to the Netherlands, but acquiring a basic knowledge of the language will prove extremely beneficial. Nationals of non-EU countries who immigrate to the Netherlands are required to learn Dutch and to have an understanding of the country’s history, government, geography, culture and social behavior. This is referred to as ‘inburgering‘ (social integration). There are many language schools that offer beginner Dutch classes.
Expats who move to Holland with school-age children typically opt for an international education program where classes are taught in English. There are both government subsidized and private schools which offer primary and secondary education curriculum in English.
There are many institutes of higher education in the Netherlands that offer programs taught entirely in English. This has led to a significant increase in the number of foreign students that attend Dutch colleges and universities (approximately 17% of total enrollment).
Expats will find getting around Holland rather easy whether using public transport, driving or cycling. The Dutch train system operates both express (intercity) and local (sprinter) services. Buses are available at the local/regional level. The Netherlands’ largest cities (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht) offer additional forms of public transport such as tram, metro and ferry services. The OV-Chipkaart is the Dutch universal transport card which is used across 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.