The Ultimate Relocation Guide to Amsterdam
So you decided to pack your bags and move to Amsterdam? Good for you!
Whether you are moving because you got a job here or you just want to live in one of the best cities in the world, we have your back!
In this blog post you can read all the important stuff you need to relocate the smoothest way as possible.
Before you hop on the plane you need to make sure that you have all the required documents and permits to enter and live in the Netherlands.
Legalisation and translation
First, you need to legalize and translate your documents (you only need to translate them if they are not in English, French, German or Dutch).
You can legalize your documents in the country where they were issued in. You can select your country on this page to get more information.
As for translation, the translator needs to be certified by a Dutch court. You can find certified translators on this website. If the document has been translated by a foreign translator it has to be legalised with the original document at once.
Visas and permits
If you would like to come to the Netherlands you might need a visa. Foreign nationals from the EU, EEA or Switzerland are exempt from the visa requirement. You can find the countries on this list whose residents requires a visa to enter the country. There are different types, you can read more about them here.
However, if you would like to live in the Netherlands, you might also need a residence permit. This depends on where you are from, how long you want to stay and several other factors.
If your stay is less than 3 months you only need a tourist visa. If you want to stay longer, you need to apply for a residence permit(verblijfsvergunning).
If you are coming to the Netherlands to work, you require a valid work permit besides your residence permit. This permit provides an employer the right to bring a foreign employee into the country. The request of the permit is the employer’s responsibility.
You do not require a work permit if you are coming to the country as a highly skilled migrant (knowledge migrant or kennismigrant) or if you are coming from within the EU, EER or Switzerland.
Expats who have been recruited from abroad for a position in the Netherlands may be eligible for the 30% tax ruling, which is a tax advantage. In order to qualify for it there are some requirements you need to meet. When the necessary conditions are met, the employer can grant a tax free allowance equivalent to 30% of the gross salary subject to Dutch payroll tax.
You can find a great in-depth article about it
Start to learn about the Netherlands
Before you move to the Netherlands it might be useful to learn a little bit about the country and the culture. There is a great website called Netherlands and You where you can find information about the country and about the Dutch culture.
Also, the Government of the Netherlands has a very clear and informative website, where you can read more about topics like taxes, transportation, work, justice, education etc.
This is maybe one of the most important things to do before you move to the Netherlands: find your perfect place to live! Finding the best match for you requires some research and it can be also a challenge!
You have two possibilities: private rentals or buying a property.
If you are planning on a stay under 5 years, renting is your best choice!
Local real estate agents are a very easy way to find an apartment. Here’s a list of good ones in Amsterdam. Check out their website for listings and email them your criteria. They’ll update you on new apartments when they come in so you can schedule a visit. Be sure to take at least a week (or two) to visit apartments as they are rented out quickly and you would want to choose a nice one. It’s your home after all.
You can also check expat forums and sites like Expatica Housing and Xpat Rentals. If you are looking for a shared apartment, TenantHub connects potential flatmates working within a similar industry or company.
However, if you plan to buy a house in the Netherlands, this guide can help you with it.
You can find more general information on housing here, and about the neighbourhoods of Amsterdam here. And don’t forget, if an apartment is beautiful, has a great location and suspiciously cheap it could be a scam, so you should read more about how to avoid housing scams.
Congrats, the hardest part is now behind you! You are finally in the Netherlands in your new home with all the required documents, permits and visas. Now it’s time to arrange some local things!
Registering with the local municipality
When you are moving to the Netherlands you need to register with the local municipality (gemeente). After registering you will receive your BSN number (burgerservicenummer) via post. This number is required to open a bank account, get health insurance, apply to benefits or allowances (such as rent allowance or health care allowance) and to be permitted to work.
When you finally receive your BSN number you can start to arrange a local bank account.
You can make an appointment on the bank’s website and go to one of their branches to register. You need these documents to open a bank account: proof of ID (ID card or passport), official proof of address (tenancy agreement), BSN number and if you are not from the EU your registration with the Foreign Police (Vreemdelingenpolitie).
Health insurance and healthcare
Everyone in the Netherlands is obliged to take out health insurance, even if you are only living and working in the country for a short time. There are great health insurance comparison websites like Independer or Zorgwijzer (in Dutch) which can help you choose the most suitable package for you! The basic insurance contains GP visits, emergency care (also abroad), hospital care, medicines, tools and psychological care, the price range is between €98 and €134. You can take out additional insurance for other costs such as the dentist or physiotherapist.
Once you have your health insurance it is time to register with a local GP (huisarts) and a dentist (not compulsory). You can find GPs in your area with the help of this website, you just need to type in your postcode. Tandarts can help you find your dentist who can help you maintain your beautiful smile. You can read more about doctors in Amsterdam here.
Let’s get connected
Once you are here you need to get a Dutch mobile subscription, internet and television. The apartment which you rent is probably has an internet and television subscription already, if not you can choose one for yourself. Prices vary depending on the provider and the package you go for.
You can search Google for ‘internet vergelijk’ (internet comparison) and you can compare package deals.
The main phone subscription providers are T-Mobile, Tele2, Vodafone, Simyo, Ben, Youfone and KPN. The price of a subscription with 1GB of mobile data and 120 minutes of NL and EU calls is €13,50, while the same package with unlimited mobile data is €31.
Finding a job
If you didn’t move here with a work contract in your hands you are probably looking for a job. Before you start to apply to job opening, make sure that your CV is matching the Dutch style and you research on how Dutch job interview look like.
You can read more about it here.
Settle in and enjoy!
Yes, you did it! You arranged all the necessary stuff, now it is time to settle in and enjoy the Netherlands!
Buy a bike
If you want to become a true Dutchie you have to own a bike.
New bikes’ starting price is around €190 while you can get a second hand from €80.
Just make sure that once you have your bike you ride it safely! Fortunately, the Netherlands is a perfect place to do that.
Learn the language
While Amsterdam and the Netherlands is the perfect place where you can live happily without learning the language since most of the people speak perfect English, if you really want to settle in you should at least try to learn Dutch.
Some Amsterdammers with residence permit can follow a free Dutch course, more info here.
To start right away, here are some basics:
Good morning! — Goedemorgen!
Hi! / Bye! — Hoi/Hallo! / Daag/Doei!
Please! — Alstublieft!
Thank you! — Dank u wel / Dank je wel!
Yes / No — Ja / Nee
Cheers! — Proost!
There are some cool international groups and clubs in Amsterdam and by joining one of them can help you socialise and find new friends easily. There are business, family, culture, LGBTQ and sports groups and clubs, you should check them out here.
Go to concerts (Amsterdam is also a festival city and an electronic musiccapital), visit the breathtaking museums, enjoy the amazing restaurantsand live your best life here, it’s a perfect place to do so!
Try Catch also organizes Try Catch Thursdays where we bring together all the amazing tech people in Amsterdam to have fun, connect and make new friends! Follow us on Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn to stay updated!
Author: Zsofia Bodnar