New to the Netherlands: Now What?
Expat Centers help internationals to get settled smoothly and feel at home in Holland
You’re here! You’ve arrived in the Netherlands! You’re working for a new company, or you have a slew of new responsibilities at your current company. You live in a new city and you’re sending your kids to a new school. You shop at a new supermarket (don’t forget the hagelslag!), you hang out with new friends after work, and your weekends are spent exploring this new country you now call home. In short: a new adventure. But the bigger the adventure or the opportunity, the more attention to detail is often required. The Expat Centers in Holland are here to help with all of the little things so you can focus on – and enjoy – the bigger things, like truly feeling at home in the Netherlands.
Unique Dutch one-stop-shop service for international employees
Whether you have just moved yourself or your entire family to the Netherlands, Invest in Holland understands that it is the individual employees who help make companies locating in Holland successful and wants to make this transition as easy as possible. The country’s dedicated Expat Centers network is a unique concept that helps international employees, researchers, start-ups and orientation year students with the formalities for relocating, to get them settled smoothly here.
A total of eleven official Expat Centers span the country in Amsterdam, Eindhoven, Terneuzen, Maastricht, Groningen, Hengelo, Rotterdam, The Hague, Leiden, Utrecht and Wageningen. Each of these welcome centers functions as a ‘one-stop-shop’ for internationals, all offering advice and support on a wide range of topics, from housing and education, to health, permits and personal needs. In addition, they organize regular events – informative, recreational, or cultural – to keep the international community connected.
The main goal is to make you feel at home from the moment you arrive. Any move, let alone an international one, can be stressful. With the help of an Expat Center, it will be less so!
Helpful checklists and guides
Expat Centers offer support or information about the highly skilled migrant procedure, municipal registration, the 30% tax facility, and much, much more. For example, The Holland Expat Center South (Eindhoven), offers detailed instruction on what to do upon arrival, and in-depth explanations on the formalities of moving and Dutch housing in the Expat’s Guide to Brabant. While this might all sound ‘Dutch to you,’ the ‘My First Month’ booklet by IN Amsterdam simplifies and prioritizes your transition into the Netherlands with both Mandatory On Arrival and Optional On Arrival checklists which is a helpful resource regardless where you settle down.
Housing and healthcare
While some companies organize housing for their employees, Wageningen’s Expat Center Food Valley does all the work for the employee or employer respectively. “Living Portals” like Living in Amsterdam provide all of the information you need whether you’ve just walked off the plane and haven’t a place to stay or you’re an established expat looking for a new place to hang your hat. Finding accommodation becomes easy with specific guides to renting and buying property, short-stay apartments, housing rights, and even Dutch mortgages.
Health insurance in the Netherlands is mandatory for anyone living and working in the country. Thankfully, the Dutch healthcare system is considered among the best in the world. While health insurance is required, the choice of a doctor and insurance package is up to each person. The Expat Center can help you with the information and contacts and additional support is an online chat or phone-call away.
Wide choice of schools and high education standards
Did you know that half of all international employees in the Netherlands choose a regular Dutch school over an international institution? This is largely the result of the high rankings of the Dutch educational system, affordability and welcoming nature toward non-Dutch speaking students. For children under the age of 12 who aren’t fluent in Dutch, some cities offer newcomers’ classes before they enroll in a local school. And, of course, for those who prefer the international school curriculum, there are some 50 private and subsidized international schools across the Netherlands.
Expat fairs and cultural events
While the Dutch have a reputation for being welcoming toward visitors and expats alike, international clubs and English-speaking events aid in helping recent transplants establish a greater sense of community. Using the Amsterdam area as an example, clubs are divided by interest, spanning business, social, family, cultural and a plethora of other common niche hobbies. Additionally, expat fairs are held around the country several times each year. The IAmExpat Fair is held twice a year, once at The Hague in November and once in Amsterdam in April “for global citizens with local needs.”
And, if new questions come up or you still haven’t found what you’re looking for, the dedicated teams at the Expat Centers are available year-round to assist you. Online, you can also find a wealth of information and support. “Search” fields and “Frequently Asked Questions” lists are on nearly every resource page listed. Invest in Holland is invested in the success of your company, and more importantly, the success of you and your family in the Netherlands – so you can focus on what success means to you.
Welcome to the Netherlands!
13 December 2019