New To The Netherlands: Everything You Need To Know (2024)

Sofia Van Dirk

No Comments

Any move, especially to a new country, can be a mix of excitement and apprehension. Every new corner turned might be accompanied by questions like, “Am I doing this right?” or “How does this work here?” But that’s where we come in.

Table of Contents show

This guide is tailored especially for those new to the Netherlands– the enthusiastic student eager to dive into academic pursuits, the diligent expat looking for new horizons, or the long-term tourist eager to soak in the essence of Dutch life.

Key Takeaways:

  • Finding housing in the Netherlands involves various platforms and understanding regional nuances.
  • Navigating financial matters in the Netherlands requires familiarizing oneself with the local banking system and tax regulations.
  • The Dutch transportation system is efficient, with bikes being an iconic mode of commute.
  • The Dutch education system is robust, with a focus on holistic development.
  • The Netherlands boasts a high-quality healthcare system that emphasizes both prevention and care.
  • The Dutch work environment values work-life balance and equality.

Why Choose the Netherlands

The Netherlands, often affectionately known as “Holland” due to two of its provinces, isn’t just famous for its tulips and windmills. Dive a bit deeper, and you’ll quickly find that this nation offers an irresistible blend of the old and the new, making it a magnet for individuals from all corners of the world.

Rich History and Heritage

From its Golden Age tales of art and exploration to its heroic resistance stories during World War II, the Dutch past is both illustrious and humbling. As you stroll down the cobbled lanes of cities like Amsterdam or Utrecht, centuries-old architecture whispers tales of eras gone by, providing a rich backdrop to your Dutch adventure.

Diverse and Inclusive Culture

What’s truly magical about the Netherlands is its warm embrace of diversity. People from all walks of life find their niche here. The Dutch pride themselves on being open-minded, embracing differences, and fostering a society where everyone has a voice. No matter where you’re from, it’s a place where you can be yourself and thrive.

Excellence in Education and Business

For students, the Netherlands offers world-class universities that compete on a global scale. And if you’re a professional, Dutch innovation in fields ranging from technology to sustainable agriculture offers boundless opportunities. Companies, big and small, thrive in this environment of creativity and forward-thinking.

Multilingual Proficiency

Worried about the language barrier? While Dutch is the national language, you’ll find that many, especially in urban areas, are fluent in English. This makes daily interactions, from shopping to studying, considerably easier for newcomers. Plus, it’s a testament to the country’s global outlook.

Stunning Natural Beauty

While it’s easy to be captivated by the urban charms of cities like Amsterdam or Rotterdam, the Netherlands is also home to serene landscapes. Think sprawling tulip fields in spring, tranquil beaches in Zeeland, and the forested hills of Limburg. Nature lovers will have no shortage of picturesque spots to explore.

Centrally Located in Europe 

One of the joys of being in the Netherlands is its central location in Europe. Fancy a weekend in Paris or a short trip to Berlin? Efficient rail networks and well-connected airports make hopping across to neighboring countries both quick and convenient.

A Bicycle-Friendly Nation

The Dutch love for their bicycles is legendary. With dedicated bike lanes and a flat landscape, biking is often the preferred mode of transport. It’s not just eco-friendly but also a delightful way to experience local life up close.

Understanding Dutch Culture and Etiquettes

new to the netherlands

The Dutch culture is a beautiful blend of pragmatism, directness, and a deep sense of community. Let’s delve into some of the facets of Dutch culture and etiquette that you may encounter in your everyday life.

Straightforwardness is a Virtue

One of the first things you might notice is the Dutch penchant for directness. This isn’t rudeness but rather a reflection of their value for transparency and clarity. Whether in business meetings or casual conversations, people often say what they think, leading to open and honest discussions.

Punctuality Matters

If there’s one thing the Dutch take seriously, it’s time. Being late, even by a few minutes, is generally frowned upon. Whether you’re meeting friends, attending a class, or going for a job interview, it’s always good practice to be on time or even a little early.

The Art of ‘Gezelligheid’

A word you’ll often hear but might find hard to translate is ‘gezellig.’ It encapsulates warmth, coziness, and the joy of being together. Whether it’s a casual gathering at home, a festive market, or just a quiet evening with friends, ‘gezelligheid’ is at the heart of Dutch social life.

Birthday Celebrations

When someone has a birthday in the Netherlands, it’s customary for them to bring treats for their colleagues or classmates. Also, you’ll often find yourself congratulated if a close family member or a friend has a birthday. So, don’t be surprised if you hear “Gefeliciteerd met je moeder!” which means “Congratulations on your mother!” when your friend’s mom has a birthday.

Tipping is Appreciated but Not Mandatory

In restaurants and cafes, service charge is usually included in the bill. While tipping isn’t obligatory, it’s a kind gesture to leave a little extra if you’re satisfied with the service. Rounding up the bill or leaving a small change is generally appreciated.

Respect for Personal Space

While the Dutch are friendly and welcoming, they also respect personal boundaries. It’s common to wait for an invitation before visiting someone’s home. And when in public, it’s courteous to avoid being overly loud or drawing unnecessary attention.

Sustainability is Key

The Dutch are very eco-conscious. You’ll find extensive recycling systems in place, and it’s common for households to separate their waste. Embracing sustainable practices, whether it’s using a reusable shopping bag or opting for eco-friendly products, aligns well with local values.

Celebrating Diversity

The Netherlands boasts a rich tapestry of traditions, from the festive ‘King’s Day’ to the magical ‘Sinterklaas’ in December. Participating in these traditions can be a delightful way to immerse yourself in the local culture.

Navigating the Dutch Language

Here’s the good news: while the Dutch certainly appreciate it when someone tries to speak their language, they’re also among the best non-native English speakers in the world. So, whether you’re ordering a coffee or discussing a project, chances are you’ll find a friendly Dutch person eager to converse in English. Still, understanding a bit of the local lingo can be both fun and beneficial. Here’s your starter guide to navigating Dutch.

Embrace the Basics

Knowing a few common Dutch phrases can go a long way. Here are some to get you started:  

  • Hallo (Hello)  
  • Dank je wel (Thank you)  
  • Alsjeblieft (Please / You’re welcome)  
  • Hoe gaat het? (How are you?)  

These simple words can bring a smile to someone’s face and show that you’re making an effort.

English is Widely Spoken

The Netherlands boasts one of the highest English proficiency levels in non-English speaking countries. Especially in urban areas, universities, and businesses, English is commonly spoken. So, don’t fret too much about language barriers – they’re rarely an issue here.

Dive into Dutch (If You’d Like!)

If you’re keen to learn Dutch, there are numerous resources available:

  • Language Schools: Institutes like the University of Amsterdam offer Dutch courses for all levels.
  • Online Platforms: Websites and apps like Duolingo, Babbel, and Rosetta Stone offer Dutch courses.
  • Language Meetups: Regular events where locals and expats come together to practice various languages, including Dutch.

Appreciate the Music of the Language

Dutch has certain sounds that might be unfamiliar to the English ear, like the throaty ‘g’ or the ‘ui’ vowel combination. It’s part of what makes Dutch so distinct and melodious. Have fun with it, and don’t stress too much about getting it perfect!

The Value of Effort

While many Dutch people will switch to English if they sense you’re not fluent, it’s not a sign of impatience. It’s often an attempt to make the conversation smoother for both parties. However, expressing a desire to practice your Dutch is usually met with enthusiasm and support.

Dive into Dutch Media

One of the enjoyable ways to acquaint yourself with the language is through media. Dutch films, music, or children’s books can be both entertaining and educational. It provides a sense of context and helps familiarize you with common phrases and intonations.

Celebrate Mistakes

Language learning is a journey filled with a few mispronunciations and mix-ups, and that’s okay! Every mistake is a step closer to fluency. The Dutch generally appreciate the effort and are more than happy to help you along the way.

Housing in the Netherlands

Finding the perfect place to call home in the Netherlands can be an exciting chapter in your Dutch adventure.

The Dutch Housing Landscape

From the vibrant urban areas of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and Utrecht to the quieter charms of towns like Leiden or Maastricht, housing styles vary. City centers often feature historic buildings, while suburbs and newer areas offer modern apartments and family homes.

Renting is Common

Given the transient nature of many residents, especially in bigger cities with a large expat and student population, renting is a popular option. You’ll often come across two terms:

  • Gemeubileerd: Furnished apartments.
  • Ongemeubileerd: Unfurnished apartments (this often still includes basic amenities like carpets, curtains, and sometimes even appliances).

Where to Start Your Search

  • Online Portals: Websites like Funda, Pararius, and Kamernet are popular platforms to find rentals.
  • Real Estate Agents: Known as *makelaars*, they can guide you based on your requirements. However, remember they charge a commission, which is often a month’s rent.
  • University Housing: For students, many universities offer housing solutions or have tie-ups with housing agencies.

Registration is Essential

Once you’ve found your new home, it’s crucial to register at the local municipality (*gemeente*). This is necessary for everything from opening a bank account to setting up utilities.

Know Your Rights

The Netherlands has strong tenant rights. Some key points include:

  • Rent Control: Many properties fall under rent control, which means there’s a maximum rent that can be charged based on the property’s size and amenities.
  • Maintenance: Major maintenance, like fixing leaks or structural repairs, is typically the landlord’s responsibility.
  • Notice Period: If your landlord wishes to terminate the lease, they usually need to give you notice, often three months or more.

Utilities and Additional Costs

When budgeting for your new home, don’t forget to account for utilities like gas, water, and electricity, and additional costs like internet and municipal taxes.

Consider a Temporary Stay First

If you’re unsure about where to settle or want to get a feel for an area before committing long-term, consider short-term rental solutions. Many serviced apartments or platforms like Airbnb offer monthly stays.

Embrace the Dutch Way

Dutch homes often have unique features – steep stairs, large windows without curtains, or a dedicated room for bicycles. Embrace these quirks; they make Dutch housing distinct and endearing!

Financial Matters

Understanding the financial landscape is an essential part of building a comfortable life in the Netherlands. With a touch of organization and a dash of local know-how, you’ll navigate the financial waters like a captain on the Dutch canals.

Opening a Bank Account

Whether you’re earning, studying, or just spending, having a local bank account can make transactions smoother.


Generally, you’ll need:

  • Your passport or ID
  • A proof of address
  • Your BSN (Burger Service Nummer or Citizen Service Number)

Popular Banks

Many banks offer expat-friendly services with English-speaking staff and online interfaces. Here are some of the leading banks:

Digital Payments are the Norm

In the Netherlands, the *pinpas* (debit card) reigns supreme. Many places prefer card payments over cash. It’s also handy for online shopping or for using apps like Tikkie, a popular method for sharing expenses with friends.


The Dutch tax system might seem intricate at first, but fear not! Key points to remember:

  • Income Tax: If you’re working in the Netherlands, you’ll need to file an income tax return annually.
  • VAT (Value Added Tax): Known as *BTW* (Belasting Toegevoegde Waarde), it’s included in the price of most goods and services. As of my last update in 2021, the standard rate was 21%, with a reduced rate of 9% for essential goods like food.
  • Municipal Taxes: These vary by municipality and cover services like waste collection and sewage.

Healthcare and Insurance

Healthcare in the Netherlands is of high quality, but it’s essential to be insured.

Basic Health Insurance: Mandatory for all residents, covering essential healthcare services.

Additional Insurance: For services not covered by basic insurance, like certain dental treatments or physiotherapy.

Choosing a Provider: There are many insurance providers. It’s worth comparing to find one that suits your needs and budget.

Saving and Investments

If you’re planning to stay for a while, you might think about saving or investing. Banks offer saving accounts, and there are various investment options, from stocks to bonds. If you’re unfamiliar with the Dutch financial market, consider seeking advice from financial consultants.

Tips for Students

Student Bank Accounts: Some banks offer special accounts tailored for students with benefits like no monthly fees or discounts.

Study Finances: If you’re an EU student, you might be eligible for a loan or grant through DUO (Dienst Uitvoering Onderwijs). 


If you’re working, part of your salary might go towards a pension scheme. It’s a good idea to understand your pension rights, especially if you plan to leave the Netherlands in the future.

Seek Assistance When Needed

For complex matters, it’s worth getting advice. There are tax consultants, financial advisors, and expat centers that can guide you through the financial maze.

Related: Best Banks in The Netherlands: How To Open An Account 2023


From the picturesque to the practical, the Netherlands offers a multitude of ways to get around.

Bicycling – The Dutch Favorite

The Netherlands is synonymous with bicycles, and for a good reason!

Bike Lanes: Almost every city and town boasts well-maintained bike paths.

Safety: With clear road signs, dedicated traffic lights, and a general respect for cyclists, safety is a priority.

Rent or Buy: Many cities offer bike rental services. For longer stays, consider buying a second-hand bike – they’re economical and perfect for daily use.

Trains – Explore the Country

The Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS) runs the national railway service, connecting cities and towns seamlessly.

OV-chipkaart: This is the universal payment method for all public transport. Top it up, check in when boarding, and check out when leaving.

Discounts: The NS offers various discount cards. If you’re traveling frequently, these might be worth a look.

Buses & Trams – For the Last Mile

While trains connect larger areas, buses and trams are perfect for more localized travel.

Tickets: You can use the OV-chipkaart or buy a ticket onboard or at stations.

Night Buses: Handy for those late-night outings, especially in bigger cities like Amsterdam.

Cars – Drive at Leisure 

While public transportation is fantastic, having a car can be handy for specific needs.

Parking: Be aware that in many city centers, parking can be scarce and expensive.

Fuel: Petrol stations are widespread, and an increasing number of electric charging stations are popping up.

Driving License: EU/EEA licenses are generally valid, but those from outside the EU may need an international driving permit or have to exchange their license after a certain period.

Boats – Sail the Dutch Canals

How about a different perspective? Many cities offer canal tours, or you can even rent a small boat for a leisurely day out.

Walking – The Simplest Joy

Dutch cities are often pedestrian-friendly, making walking not only an exercise but a delightful way to explore hidden alleyways, charming shops, and local eateries.

International Travel

Given the Netherlands’ central location in Europe:

  • Airports: Schiphol in Amsterdam is one of Europe’s busiest hubs, while airports like Eindhoven and Rotterdam cater to both international and domestic flights.
  • Buses & Trains: Companies like FlixBus and international train services make it easy to venture beyond Dutch borders.

Embrace the Dutch Punctuality

Dutch public transport is known for its punctuality. Schedules are generally adhered to, making planning your day straightforward and stress-free.

Related: Car Leasing in The Netherlands [In-Depth 2023 English Guide]

Shopping and Dining

The Netherlands, with its rich history and fusion of cultures, offers a smorgasbord of flavors and shopping experiences, from cheese-laden market stalls to avant-garde boutiques.

Dutch Supermarkets

Popular Chains: Albert Heijn, Jumbo, and Lidl are just a few of the trusted names where you can find everything from groceries to household items.

Local Produce: Look out for the ‘streekproducten’ label for locally produced items.

Bonus Tip: Many supermarkets offer discount cards or loyalty programs, providing you with savings on various products.


Almost every town or city boasts a weekly market (*markt*). Here, you can indulge in fresh produce, flowers, cheeses, and even clothing.

Flower Markets: A special mention for tulip enthusiasts! Cities like Amsterdam host vibrant flower markets, a treat for the senses.

High Street and Boutique Shopping

Popular Streets: Streets like Kalverstraat in Amsterdam or Meent in Rotterdam are shopping havens.

Local Boutiques: Explore the *negen straatjes* (Nine Streets) in Amsterdam or quirky boutiques in Utrecht for unique finds.

Dining – From Dutch Classics to World Cuisine

Traditional Delights: Don’t miss the *bitterballen* (savory snack), *haring* (herring fish), or the sweet *poffertjes* (mini pancakes).

International Flavors: Owing to its diverse populace, the Netherlands offers a range of international cuisines from Indonesian *rijsttafel* to Moroccan tagines.

Vegetarian/Vegan: The vegetarian and vegan scene is booming, with many restaurants offering dedicated menus.

Cafes and Bakeries – Cozy Corners

Whether it’s for a quick coffee, a leisurely *appeltaart* (apple pie), or fresh bread, Dutch cafes and bakeries are the perfect spots to relax and watch the world go by.


Remember, the Netherlands is big on card payments. Always have your pin or contactless card handy, though most places also accept cash.


Service charge is usually included in your bill, but if you’ve had a particularly pleasant experience, it’s customary to leave a small tip, often rounding up the bill.

Food Markets and Halls

Places like Foodhallen in Amsterdam or Markthal in Rotterdam are gastronomic paradises, showcasing a variety of food stalls under one roof.

Seasonal Specialties

The Dutch calendar is dotted with festivals and seasons, which bring their own special treats. Watch out for *oliebollen* during New Year’s or *speculaas* cookies during the Sinterklaas festivities.


The Dutch are conscious shoppers. You’ll find organic stores like Ekoplaza, and many restaurants and cafes emphasize locally sourced ingredients.

Closing Times

Unlike some countries, Dutch shops might close earlier in the evening, especially on Sundays. It’s always a good idea to check opening hours before heading out.

Education System

Whether you’re a budding scholar, a curious student, or a parent keen on providing your child with a quality education, the Netherlands boasts a comprehensive and inclusive education system. With its mix of renowned institutions and a holistic approach, the Dutch have successfully crafted an educational landscape that nurtures both mind and spirit.

Early Education – Building Foundations

  • Kinderdagverblijf (Daycare): For children up to 4 years. A great place for toddlers to play, learn, and socialize.
  • Peuterspeelzaal (Playgroup): Often a stepping stone before primary school, focusing on social and basic learning skills.

Primary Education – The Basics

Basisschool: From ages 4 to 12. It’s where children get a grounding in subjects like Dutch, math, and general knowledge. It culminates in the *Cito-toets*, a test that helps determine secondary education paths.

Secondary Education – Paths to Choose

  • VMBO: Preparatory middle-level vocational education, lasting 4 years.
  • HAVO: Senior general secondary education, which leads to higher professional education, lasting 5 years.
  • VWO: Pre-university education, the longest at 6 years, preparing students for university.

Higher Education – Venturing Further

  • HBO (Hoger Beroepsonderwijs): Universities of Applied Sciences, focusing on professional training in specific careers.
  • WO (Wetenschappelijk Onderwijs): Research universities offering Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Ph.D. programs.

Language of Instruction

  • Dutch: Most courses in the foundational years are in Dutch. However, there’s a growing number of bilingual schools.
  • English: Many universities and HBOs offer courses in English, particularly at the Master’s and Ph.D. levels.

International Schools

For those coming from abroad or looking for an international curriculum, the Netherlands has a good number of international schools, often offering IB (International Baccalaureate) programs.

Extracurriculars and Beyond

The Dutch education system isn’t just about academics. There’s a strong emphasis on personal development, creativity, sports, and cultural activities.

Financial Aspects

  • Tuition: While education is heavily subsidized, there are tuition fees, especially for higher education.
  • Studiefinanciering: This is a loan system for students in higher education. Part of it can be converted into a grant if certain criteria are met.

Lifelong Learning

The Dutch believe in continuous growth. There are numerous adult education centers (*volksuniversiteit*), workshops, and courses available for those eager to keep learning at any age.

Support and Integration

For those new to the country or the system, many schools offer support programs, integration courses, and Dutch language classes to ensure everyone feels at home in the classroom.

Healthcare System

Prioritizing the well-being of its residents, the Dutch healthcare system is consistently ranked among the top in Europe. With its patient-centric approach, it ensures that everyone, from the bustling streets of Amsterdam to the tranquil tulip fields of Lisse, receives quality healthcare.

Basics of Dutch Healthcare


Health insurance (*zorgverzekering*) is mandatory for all residents. Numerous insurance providers offer a variety of packages, ensuring you can find one that fits your needs.

General Practitioners (GPs)

The foundation. Upon moving, register with a local GP (*huisarts*). They’re your first point of contact for most health issues.

Hospitals and Specialized Care


If you need specialized care, your GP will provide a referral to see a specialist or get hospital care.

Academic Hospitals

The Netherlands boasts several academic hospitals known for research, teaching, and specialized treatments.

Pharmacies and Medications

These are where prescriptions from the GP are filled. Most towns and neighborhoods have at least one.

Drug stores like Kruidvat or Etos offer many basic medications and health products.

Dental Care

While dental care for adults isn’t covered by basic health insurance, many choose supplementary insurance for it. For children under 18, dental check-ups are covered.

For procedures like braces, consult your insurance policy for coverage details.

Mental Health Services

Recognizing the importance of mental well-being, the Netherlands offers a range of services:

Your GP can direct you to a psychologist, therapist, or psychiatrist.

Many universities and institutions provide counseling services, especially for students and expats.

Maternity Care

The Dutch take a holistic approach to childbirth.

Midwives (*verloskundigen*)

They play a central role. Most births are overseen by midwives unless there are complications.

Home Births

Quite common in the Netherlands, but hospital births are also an option based on preference and medical advice.

Emergency Services

In case of emergencies, dial 112. Emergency care is available 24/7 at hospital emergency departments (*spoedeisende hulp*).

Health Insurance Costs and Coverage

  • Basic Package: All insurance providers offer this, covering essential healthcare services. Premiums vary, but everyone gets the same basic coverage.
  • Additional Coverage: You can opt for extra packages for services like physiotherapy, dental care, or alternative medicines.

Children and Healthcare

Children up to 18 are automatically covered by their parents’ insurance. Regular child health clinics (*consultatiebureaus*) offer free check-ups and vaccinations.

International Patients

Many healthcare professionals speak English and are accustomed to treating international patients. Some hospitals even have international departments.

Working in the Netherlands

The Netherlands offers a vibrant and diverse work environment that champions balance, innovation, and collaboration. Let’s unravel the tapestry of working in this European gem!

Employment Opportunities

Major Industries: The Netherlands boasts strength in sectors like agriculture (think tulips and cheese!), water management, creative industries, finance, and IT.

Innovation Hubs: Cities like Eindhoven are renowned for tech and innovation, while Rotterdam is a global logistics and port city.

Job Search

Online Portals: Websites like Undutchables, Together Abroad, and Monsterboard can be starting points.

Networking: Events, expat meetups, and seminars can be invaluable. The Dutch appreciate the art of networking and personal connections.

Work Culture

Work-Life Balance: Emphasized and cherished! The Dutch value their personal time, and many prefer flexible working hours or part-time jobs.

Directness: While always respectful, Dutch colleagues are known for their straightforwardness. It’s all in the spirit of getting things done efficiently!

Work Contracts and Benefits

Types of Contracts: Fixed-term (temporary) or permanent contracts are common. There’s also a rising trend of zero-hour contracts.

Holidays and Leave: Employees are entitled to 20 vacation days, not counting national holidays. Maternity and paternity leaves are also generous.

Salaries and Taxation

Progressive Tax System: The Netherlands uses a bracketed income tax system, where higher earnings are taxed at higher rates.

30% Ruling: A tax advantage for skilled migrants moving to the Netherlands for work. It’s a tax exemption on 30% of your gross salary, under specific conditions.

Self-Employment and Entrepreneurship

The Dutch entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well!

ZZP (Zelfstandige Zonder Personeel): Refers to freelancers or sole traders. If you’re venturing into self-employment, familiarize yourself with the KvK (Chamber of Commerce) and tax obligations.

Startup Ecosystem: Cities like Amsterdam are buzzing startup hubs, with numerous accelerators, co-working spaces, and networking events.

Work Permits and Visa

EU/EEA Citizens

No work permit needed.

Non-EU/EEA Citizens

You might require a residence permit combined with a work permit, often arranged by your employer.

Social Security and Benefits

Employee Benefits: Apart from basic salary, many Dutch employers offer benefits like holiday allowances, bonuses, and pension plans.

Social Security covers various aspects, from unemployment and illness to old age pensions.

Professional Development

Continuous growth is a mantra in Dutch professional circles. Many companies encourage skill enhancement through workshops, courses, and further education.

Networking and Integration

Join professional organizations or groups related to your field. They often host events, seminars, and workshops, offering fantastic opportunities to mingle and understand the local work ecosystem.

Related: Minimum Wage in The Netherlands [Complete 2023 Guide]

New to the Netherlands: Getting Involved in the Community

A sense of togetherness, or gezelligheid, is intrinsic to the Dutch spirit. And guess what? You, dear newcomer, are heartily invited to be a part of it! Let’s explore how you can weave yourself into this rich fabric of local life.

Neighborhood Activities

Buurtfeest (Neighborhood Festivals): Often organized by local councils, these are delightful affairs filled with music, food, and laughter.

Community Centers: Many neighborhoods have community hubs offering workshops, classes, and meetups.


Local Opportunities: From helping at a local library to participating in park clean-up drives, there’s always something you can lend a hand with.

Platform Voorlichting (Volunteer Platforms): Websites like NL Cares and Vrijwilligerswerk are fantastic resources to find opportunities.

Local Sports and Recreation Clubs

Sports Clubs: Whether you fancy a game of football, a run, or even korfball (a unique Dutch sport!), local sports clubs are welcoming and plentiful.

Recreation Groups: Hiking, photography, or even bird-watching—there’s likely a group for every passion!

Arts and Culture

Workshops: Join pottery classes, painting sessions, or dance lessons that many local communities offer.

Cultural Festivals: Keep an eye out for film festivals, theater performances, and art showcases.

Language Exchange Meetups

Taalcafé (Language Café): An informal setting where you can practice Dutch while helping others with your native language.

Libraries: They often host language exchange events or Dutch language classes for beginners.

Local Markets and Events

Weekly Markets: A delightful mix of shopping, food, and community bonding. Find fresh produce, local crafts, and maybe even a new friend!

Seasonal Events: From King’s Day celebrations to Christmas markets, there’s always something festive in the air.

Parent and Children Groups

Playgroups: For parents with young children, playgroups offer a chance for kids to mingle and parents to share experiences.

School Events: Participate in events or volunteer at your child’s school to get to know other parents and teachers.

Joining Associations or Clubs

Expat Groups: Associations like the International Women’s Club or various country-specific clubs can be a starting point.

Special Interest Clubs: From gardening to reading, if you have a hobby, there’s probably a club for it!

Attend Local Workshops and Lectures

Universities and Schools: Often host open lectures, seminars, or workshops that are accessible to the public.

Museums: Besides exhibitions, many museums host interactive workshops and events.

Digital Communities

Neighborhood Apps: Platforms like Nextdoor or local Facebook groups can keep you informed about what’s happening in your vicinity.

Additional Resources

  • Funda: The leading platform for renting or buying properties.
  • Kamernet: Great for students looking for rooms or shared accommodations.
  • LinkedIn Netherlands: Connect with professionals and search for job opportunities.
  • Meetup: Find networking events, seminars, and hobby groups.
  • Zorgwijzer: Compare health insurance providers and policies.
  • Thuisarts: Trusted medical information and guidance.
  • 112: National emergency number for police, ambulance, and fire brigade.

ABOUT Sofia Van Dirk

Sofia van Dijk is our resident Relocation Expert at Born and raised in the Netherlands, Sofia possesses extensive knowledge of Dutch culture, local customs, and the practicalities of living in this unique country. She studied International Relations at the University of Amsterdam and spent several years working for an international relocation company before joining our team.

Leave a Comment