Planning on relocating to the Netherlands? Make your move easier with our ultimate checklist for moving to the Netherlands.
The Netherlands is a popular country, known for its tolerant society and high standard of living. The capital, Amsterdam, is a charming canal city that attracts many international workers to its growing tech and finance industries. Other cities are also home to significant ex-pat communities, including The Hague and Rotterdam.
If you’re planning on moving to the Netherlands, there are certain things to be aware of before you make the move. These include a range of issues, from visa requirements to the Dutch cycling lifestyle. To help you out, here’s our checklist for moving to the Netherlands, including information on the following topics:
- Do your research
- Arrange your visa
- Transport your belongings
- Manage your finances
- Move your vehicle
- Take care of your pet
- Sort out health insurance
- Find a place to live
- Start looking for a job
- Look into childcare and schooling options
- Learn the language
Do Your Research
If you think of the Netherlands, you probably picture canals, bikes, and perhaps the odd windmill. However, if you’re planning on moving to the Netherlands, you must take a closer look at what everyday life is like in the country. Generally speaking, Dutch society is tolerant and outward-looking, but the cost of living can be high, particularly in larger cities like Amsterdam and Rotterdam. However, the Netherlands is relatively small, and good transport links mean the whole country is well-connected for commuters living further afield.
Arrange Your Visa
Do you know the immigration requirements for you and your family when moving to the Netherlands? The Netherlands is an EU member state, meaning EU/EFTA residents can enter and remain in the country without requiring a visa. Any EU/EFTA residents staying longer than four months will need to register with the government. Other requirements exist for non-EU/EFTA residents, including the need for entry visas and residence permits.
Transport Your Belongings
The Dutch might be a cycling nation, but it’s unlikely you’ll be able to move your belongings to your new home on the back of your bike. However, if you’re planning on moving to the Netherlands, it’s important to understand how you’re going to transport your belongings. This can be a stressful process, which is why many ex-pats use relocation specialists to help out.
Relocation specialists can help you with every step of your move to the Netherlands, from storing your household items to helping you find the right school for your children. Alternatively, you might simply need to arrange some international shipping. Whatever you’re looking for, the following relocation companies can help with your move to the Netherlands:
Manage Your Finances
When moving to the Netherlands, your finances must be to ensure you can support yourself and your family. This relates to any short-term money needs as well as long-term financial management, including:
- Bank accounts Research your banking options before you arrive, including retail banks and mobile banking options in the Netherlands. It’s possible you can open a mobile bank account before you arrive. For more information, read our guide to opening a bank account in the Netherlands.
- Pensions, tax, and investments: Can your pension be transferred to the Netherlands? Will your investments be affected by your relocation? Find out before you move with our guide to the Dutch tax system and our guide to Dutch pensions.
- Insurance: Whatever your needs, make sure your family’s belongings have the protection they need by sorting out insurance premiums before you leave.
To help cover your finances in the short term, you may also need to transfer money internationally quickly and easily. To do this, check out these international money transfer options:
- CurrencyFair offers money transfers to over 150 countries and has exchange rates up to eight times cheaper than the banks, helping you avoid excessive bank fees.
- Moneycorp offers foreign exchange and global payment services to individual and corporate customers in over 120 currencies.
- Wise is an international money transfer provider. The service is available in 59 countries and offers transfers between cross-border bank accounts up to eight times cheaper than traditional banks.
You can also use Monito’s online comparison tool to save on fees, obtain the best exchange rates, and find the cheapest option for your international money transfers.
Move Your Vehicle
How do you plan to get around in the Netherlands? If you’re thinking about taking your car with you, you’ll need to read up on local motoring laws before you move. You should also consider whether you’ll want to use your car once you’ve moved. In Amsterdam, for example, car parking is expensive and inaccessible. In addition, with good cycling and public transport links across the country, you may prefer to use other options.
Take Care of Your Pet
Does your family include some four-legged friends? Make sure they’re able to join you in your new home by researching the restrictions on pets. The Netherlands may have restrictions on animals that you’re not used to, so check the situation early to avoid delays and disappointment later on.
Sort out Health Insurance
One of the most important things to prepare when moving to the Netherlands is health insurance for you and your family. The Dutch healthcare system is one of the best in the world, and residents are required by law to take out health insurance, including most ex-pat residents.
The range of health insurance options in the Netherlands can seem daunting for ex-pats, with many companies offering what seems like similar options. So, take the stress out of finding cover by researching health insurance providers before you move, including:
Find Somewhere to Live
The Netherlands has a whole host of housing options for ex-pats. Do you want to live in a typical Amsterdam canal house? Maybe a houseboat in Haarlem? Or perhaps a modern waterfront apartment in Rotterdam? In the Netherlands, there’s something for every taste and budget. Once you’re in, remember to sign up for home content coverage to give yourself peace of mind. Check out Lemonade or Centraal Beheer to see your options ahead of time. Why not start the search early before you’ve even set foot in your new home?
Start Looking For a Job
Many ex-pats moving to the Netherlands will already have a job offer in their back pocket. However, others will make the move while still looking for a job. The Netherlands has plenty of job opportunities for ex-pats, particularly in the tech and finance sectors. However, remember that your employment chances will be limited if you don’t speak Dutch.
Look into Childcare and Schooling Options
Are you making the move to the Netherlands with kids? Give them the best start in their new home by choosing the right school. The Dutch education system may be different from the one you’re used to, so it pays to do your homework. Do you want your children to attend a local public school? Or maybe you’d prefer to enrol them at an international school? These are all questions you’ll have to answer.
Learn the Language
English is generally widely spoken in the Netherlands. However, if you’re planning to live in the country, you’ll soon find out just how important it is to learn Dutch. From official documents to finding a job, learning at least a basic level of Dutch makes a big difference when it comes to integrating into society. So, make life a little easier by starting to learn Dutch before you even move.
For more helpful information and guidance on moving to the Netherlands, check out these websites:
- Amsterdam – local government information site for ex-pats
- government.nl – immigration information from the Dutch central government