Agricultural occupations in the Netherlands include several sectors:
- Strawberry harvest: May to August, contracts for 3 to 8 weeks, housing in tents, very hard work, starts at 4 a.m., working hours depending on weather, piecework wages
- Pea harvest: June to August, contracts from 3 to 11 weeks, accommodation in tents, starting at 5 a.m., working hours depending on weather conditions, piecework, often several days without work
- Lettuce, squash, and onion harvest: from May to November, contracts of 1 to 6 months, lodging in tents or hostels, 37 hours per week, piece rate
- Corn harvest: August, contracts of 3-4 weeks, accommodation in tents, average 37 hours per week, piecework, hard labor
- Harvesting apples and pears: August to November, 1-3 month contracts, lodging in tents or hostels, 37 hours per week, hourly or piece rate wages, sometimes other farm work is required
- Jobs in nurseries: from March to December, 1 to 6 month contracts, accommodation in tents or hostels, minimum 37 hours/week, piece rate or hourly wage, various types of work required
- Christmas trees and decorations: from September to December, 3 to 12 weeks contract, accommodation in a house, piecework, minimum 37 hours, work in very cold and wet weather. It’s easier to find a job if you bring your own car
- Blueberry picking: July to September, contract for 1-2 months, housing indoors, piecework, often both picking and packing, average 30-37 hours per week
- Raspberry picking: July to September, 1-2 month contract, housing in tents or indoors, piece rate pay, often both picking and packing, average 30-37 hours per week
The Seasonal work website is dedicated to seasonal agricultural work in the Netherlands. The website, which is entirely in English, contains information about the products and the times when they must be tended and harvested, what types of contracts can be made, what wages are recognized, what requirements are made, etc. It also covers health care, taxes, living and working conditions. The different legal conditions for old and new EU citizens as well as for non-EU citizens are also explained.
It also contains various useful information about living in the Netherlands (e.g. cost of living).
You can find open positions and those who are interested in one of them can fill out the appropriate form and apply.
- Requirements: Minimum age of 18, good health and strong constitution, some experience appreciated, willingness to get up at 5am, ability to communicate in English.
- Working hours: average 37 hours per week, but may vary depending on weather conditions, which often do not allow for harvesting. It may be necessary to work 6 days a week to avoid losing crops.
- Pay: since in many cases it is piecework, it depends on the ability to work quickly without damaging the fruit or the plants.
- Workers who remain standing often receive an additional bonus.
Harvesting corn, pears, apples, and lettuce is usually paid by the hour at the guaranteed minimum wage. Holiday pay is paid at the end of the contract, increasing to 12.5%. Taxes payable increase for short contracts (about 9%, but can reach 40%).
Accommodation between May and September is usually in your tent (with kitchen utensils) set up in a nearby campsite equipped with kitchen and sanitary facilities and often with a room TV. From September to May, accommodation is provided by the employer, for a fee.
I would also like to point out WWOOF, (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms). It is a worldwide movement that matches volunteers with organic farmers and growers. In exchange for your work (usually 4/5 hours per day), you receive room and board but no financial compensation. However, you will have the opportunity to learn the language of the country and learn new things in agriculture and other fields. You have to pay a registration fee for each country you want to join.
those who want to know more about the work aspects can read the article: Working in the Netherlands