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The Netherlands


If you’re looking for a job, it can be hard to know where to start. Here are a few tips:

Meet the Germans Job Exchange: germanexpats.info
Meet the Germans gets a lot of questions from companies looking for German or German speaking employees. That is why we created the Job Exchange, where you can find these job offers available.

If you have a LinkedIn profile, this is a good place to start your job search. If not, we suggest you get one. Click on the "Jobs" link in the menu at the top, and it automatically shows you jobs that you might be interested in. Add career interest to make your search more specific. You can also search through all the jobs by title, keyword, or company (employer) and location.

Online job search
Using online job boards makes it easier to find what you’re looking for. Popular websites with lots of jobs are Intermediair.nl, Monsterboard.nl, indeed.nl and Jobbird.com.


Before getting a job, there are a few things you need to arrange:

If you move to the Netherlands, you must register in the city hall of the city where you live within 5 days. If you are registered, you will receive a BSN (Burgerservice number), a personal number for anyone living in the Netherlands.You need this number for all formal business, and for your health insurance or a Dutch bank account.

Health insurance
Anyone who works in the Netherlands is required to have a Dutch health insurance. If you are not insured, you will receive a fine. The organizations that offer health insurance are private companies. There are about 40 different providers. The Ministry of Health determines which benefits each health insurance must at least offer.
The basic insurance covers less than the health insurance in Germany. For example, it does not cover the costs for the dentist or physiotherapist. You can take out additional health insurance for these additional costs. Booking extra packages is common. To compare different health insurances and their benefits, you can use a website like Independer or Zorgwijzer. The monthly contribution does not depend on your income but low-income individuals can apply for government support, called zorgtoeslag. On January 1, the health insurance can be changed, or the contract terms can be altered. Important: Ask before each treatment whether there are extra costs involved. Do not be surprised!

Certificate of conduct
For some jobs, you will need a certificate of conduct, in Dutch VOG (verklaring omtrent het gedrag). Ask your employer whether they require a Dutch certificate of conduct or a German or international certificate of conduct is fine.

Rules and regulations

In the Netherlands, employees are protected by law. For example, employers are obligated to pay at least the minimum wage and give a minimum of four weeks of paid vacation days. Dutch employment law also offers far-reaching protection to employees with respect to dismissal of their employment.

Make sure to check if your line of business has a CAO (Collective Labour Agreement) and whether that applies to you. The CAO is an agreement about wages, working times, job protection, etc. for a field of activity. This agreement is normally more convenient than the official rules from the law. It might also be worth it to inform yourself about the trade unions in the Netherlands.

Full time working means to work between 36-40 hours a week. It’s quite common to work part-time like 3 or 4 days a week, especially for teenagers. The maximum to work per day and per week is regulated by law: 12 hours per shift and 60 hours per week.2 The most common opening hours for offices are from 8:30 to 17:30, Monday through Friday. The opening hours are regulated by the local municipalities resulting in very different times. In some big cities, shops are open from 8am to 9pm, 7 days a week. In the countryside, shops are open e.g. between 10am and 6pm. It is very advisable to check the opening hours on the Internet. This applies in particular to public holidays.

The main language in Dutch companies is normally Dutch, although some international companies might have English as their main language. If you apply for a job, the company can ask you to do the Dutch language exam NT2.


Employment contracts are different in each country. In the Netherlands, there is a special contract that is often offered in some professions: the zero-hour contract.

Zero-hour contract

If you have a zero-hour contract (Nulurencontract), you are on-demand. How many hours a week you work is not fixed. It is possible for you to work 8 hours a week and 36 hours a week later. If your employer calls you, you must appear at work. For each time you are called, you must receive at least 3 hours pay. If there is work you can do, your employer is required to call you. And this is because your employer may not want to hire a temporary employee for this job.

Rijksoverheid informs in detail, even with other forms of contract. A good overview of your rights and obligations is also provided by the individual unions, such as the FNV or CNV.


An employment contract often sets a probationary period. Though this is not mandatory. There are legal regulations regarding the duration and possible termination of the contract if a probationary period has been agreed upon. The probationary period may not be longer than two months for permanent contracts. For fixed-term contracts between more than six months and two years, the probationary period may not exceed one month. For a contract of six months or less, there must be no probationary period.

Expat 30% tax ruling

Expats who have been recruited from abroad for a position in the Netherlands may be eligible for the 30% tax ruling.

To qualify for the 30% ruling, the following conditions have to be met:

  • The employee must work in an employment relationship.
  • The employee must transfer or be recruited from abroad to a Dutch employer. In the 24 months prior to your 1st day of work in the Netherlands, you live more than 150 kilometers in a straight line from the Dutch border.
  • The employee must have specific experience or expertise that is not or is only barely available in the Dutch employment market.
  • The employee and employer must agree in writing that the 30% ruling is applicable.
  • The gross annual salary must surpass a minimum (adjusted annually).

Contact your employer or the local tax office for more details. Maybe you can save taxes.

TAX return

In March you can expect a blue envelope in the mail, and the Belastingdienst might cordially invite you to file your tax returns. In the Netherlands, you are obligated to file them. When and how to do this can be found here.


A general pension law (Algemene Ouderdomswet, AOW) governs the compulsory and collective old-age pension in the Netherlands, which serves as a general basis for the Netherlands old-age pension. If you have worked in Germany and the Netherlands, you will probably also get a pension from both countries later. Therefore, it helps to familiarize early with the various regulations. You should inform yourself about the differences and opportunities at the SVB (Sociale Verzekeringsbank) and the Deutschen Rentenversicherung. If you want to check the current pension status in the Netherlands, you can log in to mijnpensioenoverzicht.nl with your DigiD.

Public Holiday

Shops and supermarkets are sometimes open on these days. It depends on the area where you live.

  • New Years’s Day (Nieuwjaarsdag) – 1 January
  • Good Friday (Goede Vrijdag) - Friday before Easter
  • Easter (Pasen) – Sunday and Monday
  • King’s Day (Koningsdag) – 27 April - If 27 April falls on a Sunday, King's day is celebrated on the 26th
  • Liberation Day (Bevrijdingsdag) – 5 May, official public holiday every 5 years, usually school and public organizations are closed (next in 2020)
  • Ascension Day (Hemelvaartsdag) – 40 days after Easter
  • Pentecost (Pinksteren) – 7 weeks after Easter, Sunday, and Monday
  • Christmas (Kerst) – 25 and 26 December

Saint Nicholas' Eve, the eve of Sinterklaas, also called Sinterklaasavond or Pakjesavond on 5 December is not a national holiday. However, it is celebrated in the whole Kingdom. While Saint Nicholas's traditional name day is on 6 December, it is, however, Saint Nicholas' Eve on 5 December which is really celebrated in the Netherlands. During the day there are numerous events for children (intocht van Sinterklaas).

In the south of the Netherlands, carnival (carnaval) is celebrated. Though not an official holiday, many people in the south take the week off to celebrate. Schools schedule their spring holiday at the same time.

More information you can find here.

Own business

Establishing a business in the Netherlands is easy, but there are some decisions to make. Our page Own Business has some more information about founding a company in the Netherlands.


1 ESS-Europa. (2017). Krankenversicherung in den Niederlanden. Retrieved on May 31, 2017, from https://www.ess-europe.de/krankenversicherung-niederlande/
2 Rijksoverheid. (2017). Wat is er wettelijk geregeld voor mijn werktijden?. Retrieved on June, 20, 2017, from https://www.rijksoverheid.nl/onderwerpen/werktijden/vraag-en-antwoord/wat-is-er-wettelijk-geregeld-voor-mijn-werktijden