1Get your citizen service number
The main and most important thing when moving to the Netherlands is to get your BSN. Your citizen service number allows governmental and non-governmental organisations to identify you in all official communication. You will need a BSN for all administrative tasks like finding a job, opening a bank account etc. You will get your BSN when you register at the municipality, which you are meant to do within four weeks after arrival in the Netherlands. Most Town Halls allow you to make an appointment online. Avoid unnecessary delays and consider planning the date while you are still in your home country.
2Avoid a catch-22 situation
Many internationals find themselves in a bit of a tricky situation after the arrival: You need a residential address to get your BSN, you need a BSN to find a job, and you need to have a job to find a place to live. To avoid this catch-22 situation, you can register with a postal address of your employer – if you are one of the happy ones that already found a job in the Netherlands – or someone you know in the Netherlands. To do so make sure you have written consent from the postal addressee and make sure you’ll bring all necessary documents to the appointment with the municipality.
3Learn some basic Dutch
Yes, the Netherlands is international-minded, and people are generally willing to speak English. However, this does not apply to the private sphere. If you want to make Dutch friends or are looking for an apartment or job, you will hugely benefit from speaking Dutch. Download an app like Duolingo or book an online Dutch class before you move to the Netherlands.
4Arrange your housing in the Netherlands
Finding a place to live in the Netherlands can be tricky. There are multiple websites and Facebook groups where you can find available rooms. Shared housing is pretty popular in the Netherlands, not only among students. Most houses organise group viewings to find the candidate who fits the place the most. Consider visiting the Netherlands a couple of weeks before you move. If this is not possible for you, try to arrive a couple of days earlier to give yourself enough time for your apartment hunting. Stay open to temporary solutions like Trustedhousesitters.com or Airbnb, as they will provide you with some extra time to build up a network you can use for your search. Be aware that there are scammers in the Dutch housing sector. If it seems too good to be true, it might be. Read more about it in Mathilde’s story.
5Arrange your income
Whether you are a student, a young professional or a job seeker, you might want to consider how to cover your living costs in the Netherlands. First of all, and we surely don’t tell you anything new here, it might be handy to have some savings when moving to a foreign country. Many registration fees will have to be paid, and you’ll need to be able to provide a deposit for your room or apartment (mostly once or twice the monthly rent). Lastly, you want to have some extra money to explore the Netherlands. If you are a student, check if you are entitled to student finance. If you are a job seeker, check our job seeker section for tips on where to find job openings, how to dutchify your CV and much more.
6Enjoy your time
Starting your life in the Netherlands drags you out of your comfort zone, and you might feel uncomfortable from time to time. Struggling from time to time is part of the deal. Always keep in mind what you will get in return. Stay open-minded, and don’t let administrative tasks stand in the way of your Dutch adventure. Especially don’t forget to enjoy your time in the orange country.
How to move to the Netherlands?
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