Get Your Dutch on: All You Need to Know About Moving to the Netherlands and Embracing Cheese, Bikes, and More 🇳🇱

Moving to a new country is an exciting adventure, and if you're considering the Netherlands as your next destination, you're in for a treat! The Netherlands, also known as Holland, is a small country in Western Europe that offers a unique blend of rich history, vibrant culture, and picturesque landscapes. From the famous tulip fields to the charming canals of Amsterdam, there is so much to explore and experience in this beautiful country. So, buckle up and get ready to embark on a journey to the land of cheese and bikes🚲🧀!


The Netherlands: Facts and Figures 🇳🇱


  • Population: 17,964,275 (February 2024, cbs.nl)
  • Language: Dutch is the official language of the Netherlands, spoken by the vast majority of its inhabitants. However, English is widely spoken and understood, especially in urban centers and among the younger generation.
  • Administration: The Netherlands is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system. King Willem-Alexander is the ceremonial head of state, while the Prime Minister is the head of government. The country is known for its progressive policies, including robust social welfare programs, legal recognition of same-sex marriage, and liberal drug policies.
  • Land Area: The Netherlands covers an area of approximately 41,543 square kilometers (16,040 square miles), making it one of the most densely populated countries in the world.
  • Major Cities: Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, and Utrecht.
  • Provinces: The country is divided into 12 provinces, each with its own unique characteristics and cultural heritage. These provinces include North Holland, South Holland, Utrecht, Gelderland, North Brabant, Limburg, Zeeland, Flevoland, Groningen, Friesland, Drenthe, and Overijssel.
  • Economy: The Netherlands has a highly developed and open economy, ranking among the top exporters in the world. Its strategic location, excellent infrastructure, and well-established ports such as Rotterdam and Amsterdam make it a vital hub for international trade.
  • Agriculture: Despite its small size, the Netherlands is a leading agricultural producer, particularly in horticulture. It is renowned for its tulips, cheese, and flower bulbs, with agriculture playing a significant role in the country's economy.
  • Innovation and Technology: The Netherlands is at the forefront of innovation and technology, particularly in sectors such as water management, sustainable energy, and high-tech manufacturing. It is home to numerous multinational corporations and startups driving innovation on a global scale.
  • Culture and Society: The Netherlands is known for its progressive social policies, including a strong emphasis on tolerance, equality, and individual freedoms. It has been a trailblazer in areas such as LGBTQ+ rights, drug policy reform, and multiculturalism.
  • Arts and Culture: Dutch culture has made significant contributions to the world, particularly in the fields of art, literature, and architecture. Icons such as Rembrandt, Van Gogh, and Anne Frank are celebrated worldwide, and the country's museums and galleries attract millions of visitors each year.
  • Cuisine: Dutch cuisine is characterized by hearty fare, including stamppot (mashed potatoes with vegetables), herring, stroopwafels (syrup waffles), and, of course, Gouda and Edam cheeses. The Netherlands is also renowned for its craft breweries and traditional jenever (Dutch gin)
  • Cycling Culture: Cycling is deeply ingrained in Dutch culture, with extensive networks of bike paths and dedicated cycling infrastructure throughout the country. Bicycles are a popular mode of transportation for both leisure and commuting, contributing to the nation's reputation as a leader in sustainable mobility.
  • Festivals and Celebrations: Throughout the year, the Netherlands comes alive with vibrant festivals and cultural celebrations, ranging from King's Day (Koningsdag) in April to the world-famous Carnival festivities in the southern provinces.


Benefits of moving to the Netherlands


There are numerous benefits to moving to the Netherlands that make it an attractive destination for expats from all over the world. Firstly, the Netherlands is known for its high standard of living. The country consistently ranks highly in terms of healthcare, education, and overall quality of life. Additionally, the Netherlands has a strong economy and offers excellent job opportunities, especially in fields such as technology, engineering, and finance. Read More: OECD statistics on the standard of living in the Netherlands.


Another major advantage of living in the Netherlands is the country's excellent public transportation system. The extensive network of trains, trams, and buses makes it easy to get around and explore different parts of the country. Moreover, the Netherlands is a very bike-friendly nation, with well-maintained cycling paths and a bike culture that is deeply ingrained in the Dutch way of life. So, get ready to hop on a bike and enjoy the freedom and convenience it offers!


Dutch culture and lifestyle


Dutch culture is unique and has its own distinct characteristics. One aspect that stands out is the Dutch directness. Dutch people are known for their straightforwardness and honesty, which can sometimes be perceived as bluntness by foreigners. However, once you get used to it, you'll appreciate their no-nonsense approach to communication.


Another important part of Dutch culture is their love for cheese🧀. The Netherlands is famous for its wide variety of cheeses, including Gouda, Edam, and Leerdammer. Don't miss the opportunity to visit a local cheese market and indulge in some delicious cheese tasting!


Additionally, the Dutch are known for their love of bicycles. Cycling is a way of life in the Netherlands, and you'll see people of all ages riding their bikes everywhere. It's a convenient and eco-friendly mode of transportation that allows you to explore the country at your own pace while enjoying the beautiful scenery.


Finding accommodation in the Netherlands


Finding accommodation in the Netherlands can be a challenge, especially in popular cities like Amsterdam and Rotterdam. However, with some patience and perseverance, you can find a place that suits your needs. Start by exploring online platforms and classified ads to get an idea of the housing market. It's also a good idea to reach out to local real estate agents who can assist you in finding suitable options.


When searching for accommodation, consider your budget and preferred location. Keep in mind that living in the city center can be more expensive, so you may want to explore neighborhoods on the outskirts as well. Additionally, be prepared to provide the necessary documents and references to secure a rental contract. Quick Tips for Finding Accommodation in the Netherlands:


Start Early: Begin your search well in advance, especially if you're relocating for work or study. This allows ample time to explore various options and increases your chances of securing desirable accommodation.

Determine Your Budget: Establish a realistic budget that accounts for rent, utilities, and additional expenses. Keep in mind that housing costs vary significantly depending on the location and type of property.

Consider Location: While living in the heart of the city may seem appealing, it often comes with a higher price tag. Explore different neighborhoods to find a balance between proximity to amenities and affordability.

Utilize Online Platforms: Numerous online platforms cater to the Dutch housing market, making it easier to browse listings and connect with landlords. Some popular websites include:

  • Pararius: A comprehensive platform featuring rental properties across the Netherlands, with filters for budget, location, and property type.
  • Funda: Specializing in short-term rentals and furnished apartments, Fundamental offers flexible accommodation solutions for expatriates and travelers.
  • HousingAnywhere: An international housing platform connecting tenants with landlords, ideal for those seeking temporary accommodation or sublets.
  • Airbnb: While commonly associated with short-term stays, Airbnb also offers long-term rentals in the Netherlands, particularly in urban areas.
  • Huurwoningen
  • Spotahome
  • Homelike


Working and job opportunities in the Netherlands


The Netherlands offers a wide range of job opportunities, particularly in industries such as technology, engineering, finance, and healthcare. The country has a strong economy and is home to many multinational companies, making it an attractive destination for skilled professionals.

If you're planning to work in the Netherlands, it's essential to have a good understanding of the Dutch job market and work culture. Dutch employers value a healthy work-life balance and prioritize open communication and collaboration. Networking is also crucial in the Dutch business environment, so make an effort to attend industry events and connect with professionals in your field.


Understanding the Dutch Job Market and Work Culture

Dutch employers prioritize a healthy work-life balance and foster a culture of open communication and collaboration. As a result, prospective employees should emphasize their ability to work well in team settings and demonstrate a commitment to maintaining a harmonious work-life equilibrium.

Networking holds significant importance in the Dutch business landscape. Attending industry events, joining professional organizations, and connecting with professionals in your field can greatly enhance your job search efforts. Building meaningful relationships with industry peers and potential employers can open doors to hidden job opportunities and valuable insights into the job market.


Top Sites and Links for Job Hunting in the Netherlands

Several online platforms cater to job seekers looking to find employment in the Netherlands. These platforms provide a diverse array of job listings across various industries and career levels. Here are some top sites and resources for finding job opportunities in the Netherlands:


  1. LinkedIn: Utilize LinkedIn to create a professional profile showcasing your skills and experience. Join relevant groups and follow companies of interest to stay updated on job openings and industry trends.
  2. Indeed.nl: Indeed.nl aggregates job listings from various sources, making it a comprehensive platform for job seekers. You can search for jobs by location, industry, and keywords, and set up job alerts to receive notifications about new postings.
  3. Monsterboard.nl: Monsterboard.nl hosts a wide range of job opportunities in the Netherlands. The platform allows users to upload their resumes and apply for jobs directly through the website.
  4. Glassdoor: Glassdoor offers insights into company culture, salaries, and employee reviews, in addition to job listings. Researching prospective employers on Glassdoor can provide valuable information during the job search process.
  • Werk.nl: Werk.nl is a comprehensive platform offering job listings, career advice, and information on unemployment benefits. It caters to both Dutch residents and international job seekers.
  • YoungCapital.nl: Targeted primarily at young professionals and students, YoungCapital.nl features a wide range of entry-level and internship opportunities across different sectors.
  • Nationale Vacaturebank: As one of the leading job boards in the Netherlands, Nationale Vacaturebank hosts thousands of vacancies from companies of all sizes, making it a valuable resource for job seekers at various career stages.
  • Jobseurope.io: Jobs Europe specializes in connecting expatriates with job opportunities in Europe, including the Netherlands. The platform features job listings tailored to the needs and preferences of expats, facilitating a smoother transition into the Dutch job market.


Healthcare and education system in the Netherlands


When it comes to healthcare and education, the Netherlands excels in providing high-quality services. The country has a universal healthcare system that ensures all residents have access to essential medical care. As an expat, you will need to obtain health insurance to cover any medical expenses. There are various insurance providers available, so it's important to research and choose a plan that suits your needs.

The education system in the Netherlands is also highly regarded. The country has a strong focus on bilingual education and offers a wide range of international schools for expat children. Additionally, the Netherlands is home to some reputable universities and research institutions, making it an excellent choice for students seeking higher education.


Cost of living in the Netherlands


It's no secret that living in the Netherlands can be expensive, especially in major cities like Amsterdam and Utrecht. The cost of accommodation, groceries, and transportation can add up quickly. However, salaries in the Netherlands are generally higher compared to many other countries, which helps offset the higher cost of living.

To manage your expenses effectively, it's important to create a budget and stick to it. Look for ways to save on daily expenses, such as cooking at home instead of eating out and using public transportation instead of owning a car. Additionally, consider exploring smaller towns and cities where the cost of living may be more affordable.


Transportation in the Netherlands - bikes and public transport


When it comes to transportation, the Netherlands is a paradise for cyclists. With an extensive network of cycling paths and bike-friendly infrastructure, it's no wonder that the Dutch love their bikes. Renting or buying a bike is a great way to get around and explore the country at your own pace. Just make sure to familiarize yourself with the local cycling rules and etiquette to ensure a safe and enjoyable ride.

In addition to bikes, the Netherlands also has an excellent public transportation system. Trains, trams, and buses connect different parts of the country, making it easy to travel both within and outside the Netherlands. The public transport network is efficient, reliable, and well-maintained, ensuring that you can reach your destination comfortably and on time.


Embracing Dutch cuisine and traditions


No visit to the Netherlands is complete without indulging in some traditional Dutch cuisine. From stroopwafels to bitterballen, there is a wide range of delicious treats to try. Make sure to visit a local market and sample some freshly made herring or kibbeling. And of course, don't forget to pair your meal with a refreshing Dutch beer!

When it comes to traditions, the Netherlands has a rich cultural heritage. From the colorful tulip fields of Keukenhof to the festive celebrations of King's Day, there are plenty of traditions to immerse yourself in. Take part in a Dutch pancake feast or join a local community event to experience the warmth and hospitality of the Dutch people.


Making friends and socializing in the Netherlands


Moving to a new country can be daunting, but making friends and socializing in the Netherlands is relatively easy. Dutch people are generally friendly and open-minded, making it easy to strike up a conversation and make connections. Joining clubs or hobby groups is a great way to meet like-minded people and build a social network.

Additionally, learning the Dutch language can greatly enhance your social interactions and help you integrate into the local community. While many Dutch people speak English fluently, making an effort to learn Dutch shows respect and can help you connect on a deeper level.


Is moving to the Netherlands right for you?


Moving to the Netherlands is an exciting opportunity to embrace a new culture, explore beautiful landscapes, and enjoy the unique Dutch way of life. From the love of cheese and bikes to the high standard of living and excellent job opportunities, there are plenty of reasons to consider making the Netherlands your new home.


However, it's important to do thorough research, consider your personal circumstances, and weigh the pros and cons before making a decision. Moving to a new country is a big step, and it's essential to ensure that the Netherlands aligns with your goals and aspirations.


So, get ready to get your Dutch on and embark on an unforgettable adventure in the land of cheese and bikes!