Things you should know before moving to the Netherlands

The Netherlands is very attractive place for IT professionals. There is a pretty good balance between safe living environment and great tech scene. But what do you have to know about life before moving there? Take your cup of coffee and continue reading. 

First, let’s talk why the Netherlands are so attractive for software development pros. There are:

·      High salary levels

·      low living- and rent costs

·      great work/life balance 

·      internet speed 

·      good university quality.

Second, accordingly to the OECD Better Life Index the Netherlands is ranked high. As report shows 82% of people in the Netherlands have more positive experiences in an average day than negative ones. Isn’t it inspiring?

And third, if you think should you move there with your family, definitely you should.  The happiest kids in the world are living in the Netherlands. Parents earning good and have enough time to spend with a child.

There are some more things you need to know before moving to the Netherlands:

Keep your documents ready 

Be aware your visa, bank account and Dutch health insurance (it is necessary!) are done and everything is legal. To make it easier for you here is short to do list:

·       Sort your visa/work permit

·       Find a job and a place to live 

·       Register at your local municipality

·       Open a bank account

·       Handle your Dutch health insurance

Minimum Wage

The minimum wage in the Netherlands is one of the highest in Europe. Minimum wage on 1 July 2019 was set at €1,635 per month for people older than 21 years old for a full-time job.  If you are younger you will get less.  The government adjusts the minimum wage twice a year, on 1 January and 1 July.

Generally, annual gross salary of 45,000–55,000 EUR would be enough and no matter where you settle.

Work and life balance

The Dutch usually work around 36–40 hours per week in their jobs. And it is not allowed to work more than 60 hours a week. Most of jobs are done during 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., so after you come home there is still time for sports, family, walking around or just being lazy.  

Personal borders

In Netherlands people love to do things together. They enjoy social life most of all. But there is often a strict line between professional and private lives. It is uncommon to spend time with colleagues in non-professional circumstances. Search for friends somewhere else. 

High taxes 

People working in the Netherlands pay around 35% income taxes if they have a proper job. There are additional taxes if you are particularly rich and/or have a large amount of savings.

Tax rates on fuel in the Netherlands are one of the most expensive in Europe. Add here paying road tax on your car. So you definitely should think about buying bicycle. 

Buy a bicycle

Most probably you have seen photos with lots of bicycles in Netherlands. So many people enjoying going to work cycling. In Amsterdam for instance,  800,000 bikes are used throughout the city! It’s not only about saving money, but also about less traffic, being in shape and saving environment. 

Be on time

Make sure you have enough  time to get on location. Remember about traffic and public transportation delay. For the Dutch, punctuality is everything: early is on time, on time is late, and late is unacceptable. Sure, exceptions can be but don’t make it your habit.

Work ethics 

Business etiquette in the Netherlands is all about getting things done. People tend to be very direct and outright.  Business meetings can start with short introduction quickly evolving into business negotiations. A typical Dutch worker is focused, honest, and efficient, so it is expected from the expats as well.

Honesty is the key

If you disagree with someone’s point, don’t keep it inside. Dutch people are open to discussions. Keep it direct and short and  if someone disagrees with you, don’t be offended! Nothing personal, just maximum concentration on result. 

Finally, keep attention on addressing business colleagues and partners by their last name until they invite you to do otherwise. The open and respectful Dutch business etiquette allows for the ultimate efficiency.