Getting a job in the netherlands

The Netherlands is an EU country with a high density population and a large immigrant workforce. It has a traditionally high quality of life, and a unique culture.


Visa not required if staying less than 3 months:

EU citizens (all)

Citizens of Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway Panama, Paraguay, Romania, San Marino, Singapore, , South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, United States of America, Uruguay, Vatican City, Venezuela.

Staying for longer than 3 months:

An authorization for a temporary stay is required except for citizens of:

The EU, Australia, Canada, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United States of America, Vatican City.

Visas are obtained from Netherlands consulates and embassies. It's advisable to contact your local Netherlands consulate to check out your needs.

There are four classes of visa for those who do need them:

  • A-Visa is a transit visa, required for traveling through the Netherlands.
  • B-Visa is a right to entry for no more than 5 days within the Schengen Area, an economic zone created by signatories of the Schengen Agreement, which allows free movement of citizens of those countries through the area. NOTE: Signatories of the Schengen Agreement are not all EU nations, and not all EU nations are signatories. The Schengen Area nations are: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.
  • C-Visa: For a stay of up to 3 months.
  • D-Visa: For a stay of longer than 3 months to 1 year. This is the visa required for obtaining residence or a work permit. There may also be a requirement for an Immigration and Citizenship exam. NOTE: Readers are strongly advised check with the Netherlands consulate and/or the Immigration and Naturalization Service website prior to application.

Work permits:

Those not requiring a visa can apply for their work permit directly. They must have a permit before commencing work. Business meetings are permitted while the application is in progress.

Others must have a D-Visa prior to application.

Job searching in The Netherlands

The Netherlands is a developed country with all modern amenities. Internet searches are the most common option, as well as local and national press and magazines.

However, it's also a quite different country, with a strong local culture. Foreigners do need to know their way around and to be able to handle their daily business competently.

Language skills are a distinct issue. Speaking Dutch is not only practical, it's often a legitimate requirement by employers for working in the country. has some very useful links for those seeking to work in the Netherlands, including Dutch language courses.

(Generally speaking, knowing the local language, at least to reasonable conversational skill level, is the best way to avoid problems in the workplace, too. If you speak German, Dutch is relatively easy to learn, in terms of vocabulary.)

Unemployment is relatively high. Job seekers are advised to watch job opportunities in their field of work to get an idea of job availability generally, as well as looking for jobs.

Job applications

We normally advise checking with the advertiser regarding requirements for job applications. This is also useful for foreigners making applications in other countries, to check out application requirements, and CV formatting required.

Working in the Netherlands

Legally, you're allowed to work a maximum of 9 hours a day and 45 hours a week. People are allowed to work 2080 hours a year, maximum which gives an average 40 hour working week. One rest day per week is also required by law, which is usually the Sunday. Normal working hours are 9AM to 6PM with two 15 minute breaks and an hour and a half lunch break. This can be varied to give an earlier departure time.

NOTE: Except for the legal requirements set out above, the nature of the contract and the work will be the guiding force regarding working hours. Some organizations may have Flexible Hours, which are binding on employees but much easier to manage than standard hours.

Holidays: Four weeks paid leave per year, sometimes five, at the employer's discretion, is the norm.


Dutch wages are currently about European average. Inflation hasn't helped much, and the Netherlands is considered to be an expensive place to live, at least by the locals.

Foreign workers are advised to create a realistic working budget, and to do their homework on costs. It's always a good idea to make sure you have some spare cash available, too, for quick problem solving when in a foreign country.

Living in the Netherlands

The Netherlands is a very small place, by international standards, but it packs a lot into itself. It has a huge cultural heritage, of which the Dutch are rightly proud. It's also a very modern place which has kept much of its old heritage and identity intact. Amsterdam is one of the world's famous cities, and you won't find a lot of cultural stereotypes cluttering up the place. The Dutch prefer their culture to be seen with respect. Clogs and windmills aren't compulsory, if a bit unavoidable for tourists.

If you have the time you can spend a few years soaking up the art, or finding your way around one of the more intriguing countries in Europe. Living in the Netherlands does have a lot to recommend it.

You're also literally no more than an hour away from the rest of Europe, being literally right in the physical middle of the continent. So it's a particularly good place to use as a base for your European explorations. You can get to Scandinavia and the Mediterranean equally easily. That four or five weeks' leave could pay for a cook's tour of most of the continent.