Working in the Netherlands is generally easy, and the demand for labour is high. The Dutch economy is a modern market economy, the tertiary sector generates over 60% of GDP, with sectors such as banking, insurance and transport logistics (Holland is known as a European transport hub) extremely developed.
The industrial sector contributes 30% of GDP, and some of the largest multinational companies in the world are located in Holland such as Unilever, Philips, Shell and Heineken.
Despite the small size of the country and the high population density, the agricultural sector is extremely developed; in fact, the country is a world leader, surpassed only by the United States in food exports. It is incredible how they manage to export $50 billion worth of agricultural products annually on this patch of land!
Tourism is also an interesting and growing sector. Just remember that Amsterdam has about 18 million visitors a year, not far from Venice’s 25 million. The Dutch economy is currently in good shape with a GDP that is among the first in the world and an unemployment rate of less than 4%, which basically means full employment.
Working in the Netherlands
Unlike other countries, you can work in the Netherlands even if you do not speak the local language, as long as you have a good command of English. Before you leave, find out if Dutch is required for your job.
English is the official business language of the country and you have a good chance of finding a job even if you only know this language. In any case, your chances of employment, career and social integration will increase significantly with your Dutch language skills. Please note that the municipality offers free Dutch courses for immigrants.
In large cities: Aja, Eindhoven, Amsterdam and Rotterdam, which are international cities with many foreigners, it is easier to find work if you only know English, in small towns Dutch is mandatory. Therefore, I recommend you to go only if you have a good knowledge of this language. For those who really want to go to Holland but do not know English, I advise them to spend a year in Ireland or another English speaking country and then move to the Netherlands.
Holland is currently facing a shortage of professionals in a number of sectors.
Most in-demand jobs in Holland
The sectors that offer the greatest employment opportunities are listed below:
- Engineering: the country has the second largest demand for engineers in the world, for example, see the company Jaws International with job opportunities for engineers
- IT sector: which is constantly growing
- Health sector: due to the increase of elderly people and people in need of care. For this sector there is a specific search engine that also provides information about the procedures you must go through to have your qualification recognized. Remember that in this sector English is not enough, you must have at least a B2 level in Dutch
- Primary sector: agriculture, mineral and hydrocarbon extraction
- Aerospace sector: ESA (European Aerospace Agency) and many high-tech and aerospace companies are based in the Netherlands
- Transportation and logistics sector
Financial sector: analysts, accountants, etc.
- Tourism and hospitality sector: waiters, cooks, etc.
- Multilingual staff: due to trade relations with the whole world, employees with foreign language skills are particularly in demand for offices and call centers
If you do not have a specialty and your English is not very good either, you’ll just have to try to find a job as a cleaner, dishwasher, general laborer, etc. Go directly to the companies with your CV. I would point to CSU or Schoonkantoor, large cleaning companies with several branches in the Netherlands that are often looking for staff.
Working in the Netherlands useful resources
- Useful website of the immigration service
- Come to work in the Netherlands
- Come to study in the Netherlands
- Guide on how to work in the Netherlands working in the Netherlands
For the recognition of qualifications, you can contact ENIC-NARIC, which deals with the recognition of foreign diplomas in the Netherlands.
A useful tool to calculate the net salary starting from the gross salary.
Work in the Netherlands visas
Immigrants from the EU as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway or Switzerland do not need a work permit to live and work in the Netherlands.
Non-EU citizens who want to work in the Netherlands need a valid work permit or TWV or a combined work and residence permit (GVVA). This depends on the duration of employment and the type of employment.
All non-EU citizens (with the exception of some countries) who stay in the Netherlands for more than 90 days must apply for a temporary residence permit (MVV).
Work less than 90 days
Immigrants who work for less than 3 months usually need a work permit
Work more than 90 days
Immigrants who work for more than 3 months usually need a combined residence and work permit (GVVA).
- Orientation Visa for Highly Skilled Workers. This permit gives highly skilled graduates the opportunity to find a job or start their own business after completing their studies in the Netherlands
- Permit for highly skilled migrants. A list of approved companies can sponsor talented professionals from abroad
- Blue Card. The European Blue Card is a work and residence permit for highly skilled workers (expats) who are nationals of a country outside the EU, EEA or Switzerland.
- Start-up visa. People who come to the Netherlands and want to start their own business can apply for a residence permit for self-employed persons. They must meet certain requirements related to their business or profession. This gives entrepreneurs one year to start their innovative business
Working in the Netherlands, the best cities
The largest cities, first and foremost Amsterdam, offer the best work opportunities. In any case, each city has its own characteristics and offers more or less opportunities. Therefore, I advise you to find out which cities offer the best opportunities for the job you are looking for.
Finding a job and working in the Netherlands is quite easy. And if you are wondering how much you can earn, the answer is: it depends on what qualification you have, how much experience you have, how many languages you know, who your employer is and what kind of contract you will have.
Generally, salaries for unskilled jobs are set at the legal minimum wage, and the first contract usually runs for no longer than six months, after which you must prove your skills to get an extension. For skilled jobs, on the other hand, salaries can be very attractive. The gap between basic salaries (low-skilled jobs) and good salaries (skilled jobs) is very large, much larger than in other countries.
If you want to develop your career, it is very important to learn the Dutch language if you really plan to stay in the Netherlands for a long time.
Working in the Netherlands, looking for a job
If you have skills and a good level of English, you can look for work in several ways:
1 Linkedin, create an excellent profile and look for contacts.
2 Contact the companies. This is a good way and very popular in the Netherlands. I recommend you do a search and then send your CV to the companies. If you do not get an answer within a month, do not hesitate to contact them again.
- Europages, allows you to search for companies by sector of activity
- Kompass, allows you to check if the company located in the Netherlands
- Yellow pages, the largest database of Dutch companies
3 Eures, the European mobility portal
4 UWV Werk, public service for employment in the Netherlands, (UWV Werkbedrijf). The UWV provides support and assistance in findind a job. There are offices in several cities. The website contains useful links for job searches as well as many job opening
5 BakeaGo job vacancies in Holland.
6 Job search websites in the Netherlands
- Intermediair, information and job offers (in Dutch)
- Nationalevacaturebank, the most complete website with job offers (only in Dutch)
- Monsterboard, offers you the possibility to register and enter your resume
- Adzuna, very popular job search engine in Holland
- Artconnect, job offers for artistic and creative people
- Aeresagree, job offers in the agricultural sector
- Evofenedex, import-export
- Fashionsolution, job offers in fashion sector
- Fashion Jobs, job offers in fashion sector
7 Recruitment agencies, there are staffing agencies that only select employees who speak Dutch, while others look for expatriates who speak English
- Unique, recruitment agency
- Octagon, recruitment agency with two offices in the Netherlands
- Adecco, well-known international employment agency
- Randstad, international recruitment agency
- Startpeople, Dutch recruitment agency
- Tempo Team, Dutch employment agency
- Manpower, famous international employment agency
- Kelly, international employment agency
All Dutch newspapers have a section for job advertisements published on certain days of the week. Even in the free newspapers you can often find job ads.
9 Working in tourism in the Netherlands
The tourism and hospitality sector (which in Dutch is called Ho.Re.Ca., an acronym for Hotel, Restaurant, Cafe) always offers good seasonal and permanent job opportunities in bars, restaurants, campsites, etc. In addition to submitting your resume in person, you can also search the Internet, both through the classic job search engines, such as adzuna, NVB, etc., and through special websites, as listed below:
- Hotelprofessionals, vacancies in the sector Ho.Re.Ca divided by profession and city
- Werken, vacancies in the sector Ho.Re.Ca
- Horeca Jobs, vacancies in the sector Ho.Re.Ca throughout the country
The easiest time to find hospitality jobs is from April when the season starts.
10 Job fairs
Job fairs provide an opportunity to meet with the country’s major companies and recruiters. The fairs are usually held mainly in Dutch, but there are also many multinational companies with whom you can communicate in English. They take place at regular intervals and can be a great opportunity for job hunting in the Netherlands.
Workplace conflicts in the Netherlands
If you have problems with your employer, I recommend that you contact the Legal Desk (Juridisch Loket), which offers a free initial consultation and then names you an affiliated lawyer. If you have a low income, you will pay less than €200 for the whole service, which is really nonsensical compared to the average fees of a Dutch lawyer. The fees depend on your income and are set by law.
Doing business in Holland
The lack of bureaucracy, the ease with which a new business can be opened and the clarity of the rules make Holland a country where it is extremely easy to do business. All information can be found at:
- website of the Dutch Chamber of Commerce
- Official website of the Dutch government
- useful Business Guide with all the information you need to start your own business