Jobs and working in the Netherlands

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The Dutch economy is booming. It is understated, but times are much better now than they were in the years following the last global downturn. Working in amsterdamMany companies are moving to the Netherlands or reorganising their operations to have headquarters here in anticipation of Brexit. It is perceived, quite rightly, as a great place to do business. A well qualified workforce, attractive tax regulations and fantastic infrastructure all contribute to the success story. Institutions are moving to the Netherlands. The well reported move of the EDA from London to Amsterdam was most welcomed, even though it put pressure on the housing market and schools. Undoubtedly, the ability to work and do business in English influences these decisions too. All of the above means that more people are coming to the Netherlands to work in these businesses and institutions. Furthermore, it creates a very dynamic and vibrant work environment for the ancillary services these businesses need and in all related activities like the food services market, entertainment, transport, domestic services, etc.

Many of the ‘skilled migrants’ that succeed in filling positions with companies in the Netherlands come from abroad with or without their families. Certainly the contentious 30% ruling is a great advantage too. 

If a move is for family reasons, for study, or a lifestyle choice, it’s still useful to understand what’s involved in looking for work, work permit rules, types of job contract – and, for those with an entrepreneurial streak – how to set up a business of your own.

Information for working in the Netherlands forEU/EEA Nationals

Due to the freedom of movement for workers, if you are a citizen of an EU country, the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, you do not need to have a visa, residence permit or work permit to be employed in the Netherlands. You can apply for jobs here or just move here and start looking for a job. It is that easy ! We, not so easy, you still need to find work. Because of the current positive economic climate, there is a lot of hiring going on. There are roles to fit in most areas. Larger companies tend to use their own HR departments or outsource it to agencies and headwaters, particularly for the top end roles in certain skills and management, but the hospitality, hotels and restaurant trades are all looking for more workers at the moment. 

Non-EU/EEA Nationals

If you are from outside the EU, you will need a permit to work here. One exception is a student who graduates from a Dutch research university or a university of applied sciences (HBO). If an international student from outside the EU/EEA has successfully completed a degree in the Netherlands, they can remain in the Netherlands for one additional year to seek permanent employment as a highly-skilled worker. During the search year, they are not required to have a work permit.

Where to look for work in the Netherlands

Jobs in Amsterdam

Finding work.

You don’t speak Dutch yet ? Hmm, well start learning as it will be useful. If you don’t speak English however, that will be more difficult as English is fast becoming the lingua franca of the workplace.

English is really the working language of many of the larger commercial institutions in the Netherlands, including international and multi-national companies with headquarters in the Netherlands. So you can get by with English only, but if you have Dutch too you will have a real advantage over other people going for the same job.

The places to look for jobs are mostly the obvious and most used ones like these :

•Employment listings in national or regional newspapers

•International’s job boards and social media channels

•Sending your CV direct to HR departments

•Employment agencies for internationals

•Networking, networking, networking.


Try a few of the Dutch newspapers to see what jobs they have advertised. For example, NRC Handelsblad is focused on management-level jobs, De Volkskrant specialises in public sector, academic and medical vacancies, De Telegraaf and Algemeen Dagblad list administrative and technical jobs, and Het Financieele Dagblad advertises vacancies primarily in the financial sector.

Job Boards

Start looking on the jobs boards. Prepare your CV as you will certainly need to email it to them.

There are many online job boards which advertise vacancies (vacature) in the Netherlands, and most allow jobseekers to post their own CVs/resumes for perusal by prospective employers.

Online sources of job openings include:

Together Abroad: multi-lingual job board in the Netherlands

EURES: the European job mobility portal

Monsterboard NL: job postings for the Netherlands (only in Dutch)

TopLanguageJobs: specialising in multi-language jobs throughout Europe

Employment & Recruitment Agencies

In general, most employment agencies generally deal with vacancies for non-specialised jobs, higher-level specialists and senior-level positions.

You will need a work permit and for sure, being able to speak Dutch is a massive advantage. • We have sone language schools in this listing here…..

Approximately 4% of the Dutch workforce are employed by employment agencies, which assign them (on a temporary basis) to businesses or organisations. If an applicant’s situation allows employment in the Netherlands without a work permit (EU/EEA, Switzerland nationals), temporary work can be found through agencies such as USG, Undutchables, Adams Recruitment, Unique Multilinqual Services, Madison Parker, Randstadt, Manpower and Start.

Here are some of the more prominent recruitment agencies :








Put yourself out there. It can be better and faster than the usual traditional way of looking for working. We have several great business and community clubs listed here that you can join to make contacts Link to clubs. People are always willing to help other members out and word for mouth. 

It is also great for socialising of course. They more people that know you are looking for a job the better.

Some examples of clubs to join :

Amcham – American Chamber of Commerce in The Netherlands

AABC – Amsterdam Amerciacan Business Club

SPARK for Women – Spark

PWN – Professional Women’s Network

Applying for employment.

Get your CV up to date and make it clear, easy to read and to the point. Employers read hundreds of CVs and unless your is clear and to the point it will not be given the time of day. the cover letter is just as important and keep is simple and neat. If you have terrible handwriting, you might consider sending a typed one. Include a photo. Make it a good photo. No one is expecting you to look like a professional model, but a good photo speak a thousand words, so think about getting a studio photo done by a professional. It will be positive for you in the sense that it shows you make an effort to impress.

Contracts and Agencies

work in Amsterdam

The Temporary Contract

this is exactly what it says it is : a labour contract which is temporary in nature or an agreement between an employer and employee that is not continuous. The employee agrees to work for a fixed period for an agreed amount. A temporary contract determines the starting date and the termination of the contract. Upon completion of the contract, a temporary contract will terminate without need of a dismissal process.

It is normal for a temporary contract to have a trial period. This is also executed in writing. A temporary contract with the duration of less than 2 years will have a maximum 1 month trial period, except otherwise decided by a Collective labour Agreement. Temporary contracts with longer duration will have a trial period not more than 2 months. Postponement of the trial period is not admissible.

Check carefully the details and make sure it is all clear and within the law. Repeated temporary contracts for the same employer should be converted to a permanent contract. 

The Permanent contract

This will have no fixed end date as you are being employed to fill an ongoing role.

Either party can end a permanent contract but lawful terms of the notification must be considered. For the employee, the legal requirement to end a permanent contract is one month notice. The employer has to apply for an expulsion permit. The period of notification must be contingent on the length of the contract on the day the employer applies for a dismissal permit.

It is always recommended to contact the Local Employment Office (CWI) when a permanent contract is being terminated. If the contract is being terminated with a severance package, it is recommended to verify the tax implications with a certified Dutch tax consultant. There are of course, many employment law firms. If you need clarification, then you might consider having them look over the contracts. There is a charge for that, but it might save you hassle in the long run.

Employment Agency Agreements and Contracts

If you have a certain skillset and need work fast this might be the best route. A contract with a temporary agency or commercial employment agency (Uitzendbureau) is different from other types of employment contracts. In this situation, the temporary agency is the lawful employer even though a worker is providing a service to a third party. It is more flexible for all parties. Dismissal through a temporary period may be immediate rather than a long process. A worker is also allowed to leave with little to no notice through the same period.

A temporary agency observes a Collective Labour Agreement, also known as a CAO in Dutch. This agreement governs the working conditions required in a given industry. Employment by temporary agencies is regulated by the Allocation of Workers by Intermediaries Act. Temporary agency employers are forbidden from charging temporary employees any consideration (money). Temporary employment agencies must provide a temporary worker with information about the work which will be required by the third party prior to starting work.


If you can’t find a job, then consider creating your own small company. Many tens of thousands of people have done it.

The term self-employed is synonymous with freelancer or ‘ZZP-er’ (zelfstandig zonder personeel), which means self-employed without employees or staff. To become self-employed, it is mandatory to register the business with the Kamer van Koophandel (Dutch chamber of commerce).

You are the boss. You have flexibility to take on the work you want to do. You can get a BTW number (VAT number)

A sole trader (ZZP-er) is the only owner of the company. There are advantages to being a ZZP-er, such as related tax allowances if certain conditions are met. Profits generated by the company are allocated to the owner as income. The main risk associated with being a ZZP-er is the personal liability it assumes; no difference is made between personal and business assets.