Expat Exchange
Free MembershipSign In

Moving to The Netherlands

PassportCard
PassportCard
PassportCard
PassportCard

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Feb 05, 2023

Summary: Expats and digital nomads move to Netherlands for its high quality of life, excellent infrastructure, and vibrant culture. The country is also known for its progressive attitude towards digital nomads and expats, making it an attractive destination for those looking to live and work abroad. People can find a place to live in Netherlands by searching online for rental properties, or by using a real estate agent. The most popular cities for expats and digital nomads in Netherlands are Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht, and The Hague.

What do I need to know before moving to The Netherlands?

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to The Netherlands, they said:

"Before moving to the Netherlands, it is important to be aware of the cost of living, especially in regards to accommodation as prices may be quite high in certain areas. It is beneficial to research areas to live in and find out what type of housing and lifestyle best suits you. You should also consider the excellent public transport system in the Netherlands when choosing your living arrangements. In terms of culture and language, it is wise to have some basic knowledge of Dutch language and culture if you plan to stay long-term. English is commonly spoken in urban areas, but being able to communicate basic Dutch phrases to shop owners or local authorities will likely be highly beneficial. Other points to consider include whether you meet the eligibility requirements for a residence permit and that you ensure your original documents are organised and valid before you arrive in the Netherlands. Lastly, although a friendly and welcoming country, it is important to stay up to date with the relevant local rules, laws and customs," remarked another expat who made the move to Netherlands.

"Think long and hard about how you would live your life, what kind of life you really want. I chose to transition from working outside the home (US) to working at home (writer), so we wanted an urban, Dutch lifestyle. I actually enjoy wandering up to the shopping street to buy my daily groceries and run errands in the late afternoon. We use public transportation for everything except my picking up the kids from school (20 min. away) 3 days a week when they're in the middle of sports and activities (as they're in high school and have tons of homework). My husband walks to/from work, and we're able to eat meals as a family. My friends who live in the 'expat enclave' near the school 1) have no Dutch friends, 2) don't really speak any Dutch and 3) their husbands are 'ghosts' in their families - never around due to long commutes," explained one expat living in The Hague, Netherlands.

Answer Question & View More Answers

PassportCard

PassportCard Introduces an innovative approach to expat and digital nomad health insurance with no out-of-pocket expenses, no paperwork and no long claim processing, facilitating payout on the spot when you really need it. Outstanding service validated with more than 2 million customers for over 20 years. Get a quote from our partner, PassportCard.

Learn MoreGET A QUOTE

PassportCard

PassportCard Introduces an innovative approach to expat and digital nomad health insurance with no out-of-pocket expenses, no paperwork and no long claim processing, facilitating payout on the spot when you really need it. Outstanding service validated with more than 2 million customers for over 20 years. Get a quote from our partner, PassportCard.

Learn MoreGET A QUOTE

How do I find a place to live in The Netherlands?

We asked expats how they chose their neighborhood and found a place to live. They answered:

"Finding a place to live in the Netherlands can be relatively straightforward depending on the city or region you are moving to. You should decide whether you want to rent or buy a home, as well as what type of accommodation you want. Researching neighbourhoods to find an area that best suits your needs is an important starting point. Once you’ve identified good neighbourhoods, you should search popular rental sites and local newspapers to find a suitable place. If you’re considering buying a home, you should approach a real estate agent or contact relevant property developers and owners. They will be best placed to guide you through the process. Whichever route you take to finding a new home, you should make sure you visit it in person before signing any agreements," commented one expat who made the move to Netherlands.

"We were fortunate in that my husband was here 6 months ahead of the family. He used that time wisely visiting neighborhoods and nearby towns to get the 'vibe'. He also spoke with anyone and everyone - where did they live, did they like it, did they wish they lived elsewhere, what did they wish they'd done differently. Through this we made the tough decision that we wanted an urban, Dutch experience, not 'expat suburbia' as if we were counting the days until we left. Then we honed in on the best neighborhoods within easy walk/commute, and went for best layout on a quiet street near (but not too near) good shopping and public transportation. We used a rental agency but we'd done the tough work," remarked another expat in The Hague, Netherlands.

Answer Question & View More Answers

Homelike Rentals

We've partnered with Homelike, to connect expats and newcomers with temporary accommodations in Netherlands. If you're moving to Netherlands, rent a short-term, furnished apartment or home for the first few months from Homelike and take your time figuring out the best place to live in Netherlands.

SEARCH RENTALS

Homelike Rentals

We've partnered with Homelike, to connect expats and newcomers with temporary accommodations in Netherlands. If you're moving to Netherlands, rent a short-term, furnished apartment or home for the first few months from Homelike and take your time figuring out the best place to live in Netherlands.

SEARCH RENTALS

What is a typical expat home or apartment like in The Netherlands?

"Expat homes and apartments in The Netherlands typically feature modern interior design, with contemporary furnishings and accessories, as well as energy efficient appliances. Most apartments come with outdoor balconies or terraces and modern amenities. Apartments in cities, such as Amsterdam, tend to be less spacious than those in Dutch suburbs or small towns. In general, Dutch apartments come unfurnished, so renting or expats purchasing apartments in The Netherlands usually need to arrange their own furniture," commented one expat who made the move to Netherlands.

"We rent a 'rijtjeshuie' which is basically a 3-story brick 'town house' on a quiet street in a relatively upscale neighborhood, near a popular shopping street that is a great mix of everyday requirements (good grocery store, hardware stores, drug stores, great specialty stores and also fun boutiques and upscale stuff to window shop). It's fairly typical in this part of Den Haag/The Hague, although probably a bit on the bigger side than some," remarked another expat in The Hague, Netherlands.

Answer Question & View More Answers

What is the average cost of housing in The Netherlands?

If you are thinking about moving to The Netherlands, cost of living in probably a key consideration. Expats commented about the cost of housing:

"The average cost of housing in The Netherlands is typically higher than the average cost across other European countries," remarked another expat in Netherlands.

"Factoring in space/square footage, probably a little less. Depends on what you came from and where you settle here. It isn't cheap," said another expat in The Hague.

Answer Question & View More Answers

PassportCard Introduces an innovative approach to expat and digital nomad health insurance with no out-of-pocket expenses, no paperwork and no long claim processing, facilitating payout on the spot when you really need it. Outstanding service validated with more than 2 million customers for over 20 years. Get a quote from our partner, PassportCard.
PassportCard International Health Insurance

PassportCard Introduces an innovative approach to expat and digital nomad health insurance with no out-of-pocket expenses, no paperwork and no long claim processing, facilitating payout on the spot when you really need it. Outstanding service validated with more than 2 million customers for over 20 years. Get a quote from our partner, PassportCard.
GET A QUOTE

Should I buy or rent a home in The Netherlands?

If you have not spent a lot of time in The Netherlands, you should rent before even thinking about buying. We asked expats there about the buy vs. rent decision:

"When deciding whether to buy or rent a home in The Netherlands, there are many factors to consider. The cost of purchasing a house in The Netherlands is often relatively high, however the cost of renting can also be quite expensive. The taxation for owning a property can be substantial, and if you intend on staying for a short period of time, renting may be the more attractive option. Ultimately, it comes down to your individual circumstances - are you looking to settle down permanently or just for a short period of time? Do you have the financial resources available to purchase a house? Are you willing to take on the risks associated with owning a property? Taking all these factors into consideration will help you decide whether to rent or buy a home in The Netherlands," commented one expat who made the move to Netherlands.

Answer this Question

What should I pack when moving to The Netherlands?

We asked people living in The Netherlands to list three things they wish they had brought and three they wish they had left behind. They responded:

"When moving to The Netherlands, it is best to pack your essentials such as clothing, toiletries, and medication in an organized manner. Make sure to bring a valid passport and other applicable documents. Some items you might also want to consider bringing include an electrical adapter, appropriate outdoor clothing, an umbrella, and a bike lock if you plan to travel by bicycle. Packing items to make your new home feel more like home, such as blankets, decorations, and kitchen items, is often a good idea as well. Any necessary items to complete chores or hobbies should also be included," replied a member in Netherlands.

"We downsized and generally packed well, but I'd say we should have brought more jeans, running shoes, voetbal cleats. (Items are much more expensive here and there is less selection.) Left at home? More of the 'stuff' that may fit in American closets (but you really don't use). I continue to weed out clothes that are too big/small/never worn. We find that we like to update our photos/paintings and artwork based on our travels, so we need to downsize some of that. (Tom Frost at Expat Alley wrote a great post about living with less because you outgrow your stuff and have new experiences.) I thought I was being ruthless but I need to be more so as closet/storage space (especially the hanging kind) is at a premium," commented one expat who made the move to The Hague.

Answer Question & View More Answers

Quickly and easily find trusted moving, insurance, relocation and other providers with Expat Exchange's Moving Planner. Select which of our trusted partners you would like to hear from and we'll do the rest.
Plan Your Move to Netherlands

Quickly and easily find trusted moving, insurance, relocation and other providers with Expat Exchange's Moving Planner. Select which of our trusted partners you would like to hear from and we'll do the rest.
Get Started Now

What cultural faux pas should I try to avoid making in The Netherlands?

We asked people in The Netherlands if they could share any humorous cultural blunders they commited. For new expats, keep in mind that these incidents are an inevitable part of expat life. Learning to laugh about them is the key!:

"In The Netherlands, it is considered impolite to accept a compliment without immediately thanking the person. It is also seen as rude to talk about religious or political issues in a public setting and to show up late to social gatherings. Additionally, it is generally disliked when someone attempts to tip the server or bartender in a restaurant," said another expat in Netherlands.

"It was when I was coming by trian from Amsterdam to The Hague. One dutch woman tried to speak in Indonesian language to me. It was funny at the first place, cause I looked so stupid trying to find what she is talking about. And when I said: Sorry I don't understand. She explained that she spoke Indonesian to me. I said that we are from Kazakhstan and we do speak russian and kazakh. She just smiled and faced towards the door. Somehow embarrassing and funny," remarked another expat who made the move to The Hague.

Answer Question & View More Answers

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

PassportCard International Health Insurance

No out-of-pocket expenses, no paperwork and no long claim processing, facilitating payout on the spot when you really need it.
GET A QUOTE

PassportCard International Health Insurance

No out-of-pocket expenses, no paperwork and no long claim processing, facilitating payout on the spot when you really need it.
GET A QUOTE

Contribute to Netherlands Network Contribute
Help others in Netherlands by answering questions about the challenges and adventures of living in Netherlands.

PassportCard
PassportCard

Copyright 1997-2023 Burlingame Interactive, Inc.

Privacy Policy Legal