By in Country Guides March 16, 2020

Are you planning on moving to the Netherlands soon? It’s a great place to start a new life as an expat and offers a lot for those who choose to live in its borders. Residing there sounds excellent for sure, but it would be in your best interest to research this nation before setting out on your new life. If you aren’t sure where to start your research, we’ll tell you all you should know about relocating there.

The Dutch Flag

What to Know Before Moving to the Netherlands

Before you start making plans for moving abroad alone, you have to know the country you’re relocating to well enough so that you aren’t too lost when you arrive. It is located in the northwestern region of Europe and spans over a considerable distance bordering Germany, Belgium, and the North Sea. There is a dense population of 17 million people on the mainland with a landmass of 16,100 square miles.

Living in Holland

Get to know what it’s like to live in this western European nation. Explore its many cities, towns, villages, and enjoy some of the most breathtaking sites in all of Europe.

Can I Move to the Netherlands: Step by Step Visa Registration and Related Requirements

On the decision that you’re relocating to Europe long term, you’re going to need to learn the basics of entry into Holland. Fortunately, as an American citizen, being granted entry isn’t difficult at all, but extending your stay is where you’ll have to make an effort. There are specific requirements that need to be met to have an extended stay. You can contact the U.S. Embassy in the Netherlands to guide you through all the immigration rules and regulations you need to know in order to obtain a more permanent residence.

Different Types of Visas Available for Expats

Many countries, including Holland, are a part of the Schengen area where a list of countries can enter the nation without a visa. Fortunately, the U.S. is on that list, and getting there shouldn’t be a problem. Here are the different visas and requirements, along with them:

  • Short Stay – This is a visa that you get when entering Holland. Your stay is for up to 90 days within 180 days. However, if you choose to stay longer than 90 days or come back sooner than 180 days, you’ll have to apply for a different type of visa to extend your stay.
  • Long Stay – To receive a long-term Dutch visa (MVV for short), you’ll need to have an employer or guide to help you. If you don’t have a sponsor, you’ll have to apply at an Embassy in the U.S. The requirements include adequate knowledge and understanding of the Dutch language, a valid passport, the purpose of your stay, your nationality, travel and health insurance, sustainable income, etc.
  • Travel Visa – This is meant for people traveling through the nation. You’ll be required to provide a valid passport, purpose of travel, and proof of transit, such as tickets.
  • Return Visa – This is for those who have to travel abroad without a residence permit. For this visa, you’re required to have a valid passport, the purpose of travel, proof that you can support yourself, travel documents, and no prior offenses on your record.

Applying for a Work Visa

Most E.U. citizens do not require a permit to be working here, but for U.S. citizens, you’ll have to jump through a few hoops to get a work permit or visa in Europe. The first thing to know is that getting a work permit depends on what type of job you’re going into – yes, there are different types of work permits. Here is a quick list of them for reference:

  • Regular work permit for ordinary people, working nine to five with base pay.
  • Seasonal labor work permit for those under contract for a specified period.
  • Intra Corporate Transfer permit for those being transferred within a company to another branch.
  • Highly skilled migrant permit for specialists in a field such as medical, economic, or any other area who can contribute to the nation.
  • European Blue Card for those who have received a specific permit for working in the E.U.
  • Highly Educated Persons permit for those who have completed or are completing an MBA.
  • Freelance or Self Employed permit for those who are freelancing and have enough business to support themselves.

Obtaining Permanent Residency

Applying for permanent residency will take a lot of time and patience. Like most E.U. countries, you have to meet specific criteria to prove that you’re a suitable candidate. You’ll need to have a native guide to help you, a certain amount of income and money saved, proof of employment or sustainable income, the required application and travel documents, a home address, etc. You’ll also have to have evidence of knowledge of the language and a cumulative of 5 years of being in the country. Though it sounds complicated, it’s all a part of the process of how to move to another country permanently.

Visa application form
There are multiple types of visas and permits to get with varying requirements

The Cost of Living in the Nation of Tulips

Compared to some cities in the U.S., like NYC, the Netherlands isn’t all that costly, but before you get excited and get the wrong idea, it’s still relatively expensive. The official currency there is the Euro, which holds more value than the U.S. dollar. Compared to costs in Chicago, for example, Amsterdam, the capital, has similar costs. Housing, food, clothing, and transportation are more expensive, but personal care, entertainment, and healthcare are significantly cheaper. For further information regarding the cost of living, you can always check a reliable cost calculator online, such as Numbeo.

How Much Does it Cost to Move to the Netherlands

Moving across the world is not cheap. Besides having a decent standard of life there, relocating can cost quite a bit depending on a few different factors such as travel costs, finding housing upon arrival, and getting international moving services. A single one-way flight from Chicago to Amsterdam with only one stop can cost up to $1,400, depending on the date and the airline, and that’s just the ticket alone.

Calculating costs
The cost of living is not much more expensive than some cities in the U.S.

Finding Good Housing

Finding places to rent in any of the cities isn’t hard to do — most areas you can find on online portals or in local newspapers. Upon finding an apartment, you’ll have to provide landlords and renters with a deposit and first month’s rent, which can be quite expensive, depending on the city. If you’re living in the Hague, for example, rent for a single bedroom apartment can cost anywhere between €1,100 to €1,600 ($1,300 – $1,900).

Handing apartment keys over
Finding decent housing isn't hard to do, and there are many options

Cities Worth Relocating to

This country has some of the best cities to live in Europe because of the friendly nature of people living there. This isn’t surprising, because this is considered to be one of the friendliest countries in the world.

The Hague: One of the Best Cities for Expats

The Hague is the third-largest city in the nation and is home to more than 1 million citizens – also the home to the International Court of Justice. This city is considered to be great for many immigrants, including western expats, who make up about 13% of the population. There are parks, museums, shopping centers, and other attractions for tourists and plenty of things to do for residents.

Expat Life in Amsterdam

Aside from its reputation in many Hollywood films, Amsterdam is genuinely a great city to explore and enjoy for U.S. expats. The city gets 6 million visitors each year and has between 80,000 to 110,000 expats who live in the city. There are lots of beautiful sites, great clubs, and bars, plenty of restaurants and cafes. It’s truly worth experiencing.

City skyline of Hague
Many of the cities are very expat-friendly

Health Insurance for Expats

Fortunately, residing in this country has many benefits over the U.S. One of them being affordable health insurance. Many different health insurance companies offer the same types of insurance, more or less. When arriving, you must take out insurance within four months of receiving a residency permit. The cost is relatively inexpensive and covers a lot of different services for only around $110 per month.

Health insurance application
You can find many different companies with basic healthcare packages that are inexpensive

Education for Expats

For students who want to study abroad, there are some options to choose from. Depending on the school you’re looking for, the cost of tuition can be quite high, but not nearly as much as going to school in the U.S.

International Schools for Young Pupils

If you want to enroll your kids in an international school, there are many different options in a few different cities. You’ll be able to find schools that cover elementary school grades up to high school. For further information, you can check online resources to find the best school for your little ones.

Universities for Students Studying Abroad

For those considering studying in one of the many Universities in the Netherlands, there are also excellent choices. Going to any one of these schools gives students different opportunities than they would have back in the U.S. This includes affordable everyday expenses, affordable tuition, plenty of areas of study, and access to a large variety of people from all over the world.

Students walking in a hallway
Education is very accessible and affordable for natives and expats

Transportation in the Netherlands

Although transportation is a tad bit more expensive than in some cities in the States, it’s very proficient and accessible. To get across the country in time, most people rely on the railway system for easy travel. In cities, there are buses, metro lines, and trams that you can take. The vehicles are well taken care of and up-to-date – well worth the money spent.

On a public bus
Many cities have great public transportation systems for citizens

Is the Netherlands a Good Place to Live

Relocating is always stressful no matter where you go, but when you move within the U.S. borders, you have an idea of what to expect. Moving overseas is a whole different story. You have no idea what to expect, and it can be extremely intimidating at first. If you’re moving abroad, you’re probably wondering how to live in another country. You can rest assured that being a resident here is quite lovely for expats from all over the globe. You’ll find it even more incredible when you get to meet some of the 250,000 immigrants, with 30,000 of them being from the U.S. There are plenty of things to do, places to see, and a big enough group of expats to help you if needed.

Dutch People and Culture

People here consider themselves very tolerant, friendly, and generally open to all foreigners. Because of the early influence of the protestant and Calvinist religion, there is no type of food or cuisine made famous.

For much of its history, the Dutch have always lived in a free market society, so essential foods and meals like soups, cheeses, and bread are sold and used in many dishes. Today, this is a very densely populated nation with many different ethnic groups hailing from other nations during migrations into the nation post World War II.

The primary language spoken in this nation is Dutch, although English is also widely prevalent because of the significant number of English-speaking migrants. Many cities are cultural melting pots, so there is a wide variety of different types of people. Breaking the language barrier won’t be such a difficult task.

Excellent Things to Do and See

Living in Europe as an American can seem super exciting at first, but if you’re on your own and don’t know what to do or what’s out there, it can be incredibly dull. Fortunately, the nation has many impressive monuments, museums, tourist attractions, and more throughout the nation. If you make a point to do or try something new, you’ll find that life in this nation can offer you so much. Here is a quick list of things you can do and sights to help you adjust to the new country:

  • The Canals of Amsterdam – Whether you’re just walking through the city or taking a boat tour or water taxi, the canals are charming to see, and you can plan routes to find different parts of the city by water.
  • The Garden of Europe – If you’re a lover of nature, Keukenhof (aka the Garden of Europe) is a vast 70-acre area with lots of flower exhibitions, walkways, and restaurants. It’s truly a picturesque place to visit just outside of the town Lisse.
  • The Village of Marken – Truly a sight to behold as this small village has attracted many people every year to take in its quaint and adorable sights. Though it’s not very big, people love the old town feel from cobblestone streets and small wooden houses and fishing boats. There are even festivals where people dress in traditional clothing and make clogs using the original equipment.
  • The Magical Amusement Park of Efteling – Efteling is the biggest Amusement Park in the nation located in Kaatsheuvel. The park has many different zones that are based on ancient myths and Dutch legends. It truly is a beautiful place to see some of the old myth lore of the nation while enjoying many of the rides and lush gardens.

Hopefully, you’ve gotten to know a bit more about the nation, and you’re warming up to the idea of living overseas.

Children picking tulips in a field
The culture in the Netherlands is very much a melting pot

Relax and Enjoy your Life in the Netherlands

Now that you’ve gotten more familiar with this great nation, you can start making your plans to move abroad and start your new life. Before you do, make sure you contact a reputable international moving company with excellent international moving services and a reliable team of Netherlands movers. If you have a vehicle that you want to be delivered to you, you can also opt for overseas vehicle shipping. Now go out and enjoy your time and new life as an expat.