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Expat guides: living in Netherlands

Many expatriates are living in Amsterdam, and the whole place is gradually becoming an expat community. Amsterdam is not the only beautiful city in Holland. Other top choice locations are Rotterdam, Utrecht, and Eindhoven. These are some of the best places to live in the Netherlands. Are you planning on moving to Holland? This is an intensive guide that will introduce you to life in the Netherlands.

Dutch Lifestyle

The country is rich in culture, tradition, and art right down to the architecture. The country is small but buzzing with life and beauty. The English language is widely spoken and understood here but Dutch and Frisian are the official languages.

There are a variety of expat groups where you can easily meet new people and make friends. Holland is a very flat country. You will not see a lot of hills or mountains during your stay here. The highest point is only 323m high. There is also a great love for bikes nationwide. People bike everywhere in this place. Bikes are a more efficient means of transportation.

Dutchmen are also some of the most honest people in the world. There is little or no present class dichotomy in Holland. A business executive will gladly have a drink with his employee. They are more interested in the quality of life, wellness, and family than status and wealth.

Expat job and career opportunities

It can be very challenging to land a good job here as a foreigner. Most of the jobs available require intermediate knowledge of the Dutch language. There are also employment regulations put in place to control job availability for Non-EU/EEA citizens.

One of the biggest industries in Holland is the services industry. Most of the jobs that exist in this sector are easy to start-up and control such as business services, health, social or welfare services, trade, logistics, and transport, or communications.

It is easier to get employed in retail stores, restaurants, bars, hotels, and factories. You should also know that it is almost impossible to get fired. This is because there’s a system in place that tends to support employees over their employers. Even if you were fired or laid off, you’ll receive unemployment benefits for up to 3 months.

Cost of living

white and green plastic blister pack

The cost of living in Holland has over the years but despite this flaw, the cost of living here is quite lower than it is in other European countries. Amsterdam was ranked as the 57th most expensive city in the world (2012 Mercer cost of the living survey).

Tax rates here are also high. You can be charged up to 21% on VATs, 6% for food and essentials, and your employer can even deduct up to 52% in taxes from your salary. But it is worth the good standard of living the country offers.

Health Care

Since health insurance is compulsory, there are many subsidies available for all residents will and low-income earners. You can get comprehensive health insurance for as little as €95, compared to the USA where you can be charged up to €412 for basic health insurance. The cost for a standard health package in Holland is between €80 – €160 per month.

Educational system

If you are relocating to Holland with your children, they will need to attend a school because it is compulsory in Holland. The costs you spend on education depend on the type of school you choose. In general, public schools in the Netherlands are free of charge. But parents & guardians are sometimes expected to make contributions for some extracurricular activities throughout the year. This extra cost can take at most €160 per year.

But if you opt for private international schools, you will need to have to spend more on education than you expect. Government-subsidized schools cost around €3,600 – €6,000 per year. If you prefer a fully autonomous private school, you’ll have to pay extra. These types of schools cost about €12,000 – €24,000 per year.

Pros & cons of living in the Netherlands

The biggest disadvantage of living in Holland as an expat is a bureaucratic system. These red tapes, guidelines, and rules are everywhere in the country. It applied to almost everything and people, even tourists, and non-residents. There is a waiting list for simple tasks like buying a car. That aside, here are some of the benefits and challenges of residing in Holland.



  • Small and easy to get around.
  • Low crime rate.
  • Good quality of education.
  • Excellent levels of English.
  • Quality & low-cost healthcare. 
  • High taxes.
  • Housing shortages.
  • Bicycles are more common than cars and trains.

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