Moving home is both exciting and stressful, but when you are packing up to move to a new European country such as the Netherlands, you need more than just a few packing boxes and a self-drive truck to relocate your home, your family, your pets, and your new life.
Careful planning is key to any move overseas, and there are many things to consider, so we have put together this 2 Part Blog Series on moving to the Netherlands, which is packed with useful information, packing tips and guides, currency news, information on visas and immigration, and just about everything else you could possibly need to know for your upcoming move to Holland.
Moving to the Netherlands: Check-List
When planning a new start in a new country, a check-list is always useful. Allowing yourself plenty of time to finalise the smaller details will make your move much less stressful, so if possible, give yourself at least 2 – 3 months, and start with the all-important paperwork first to make sure you can reside legally in the Netherlands for the duration of your intended stay.
While different people will have different check-lists, here’s an overview of what you may need to cover when planning your move:
Geography: Where do you intend to live in the Netherlands? Get to know the country.
Visas & Immigration Documentation (residency permits etc.)
Find out if your driving licence will be valid in the Netherlands
Source International and/or European Moving Companies for quotes
Put your house / apartment up for rent or sale
Contact Real Estate Agents for long or short-term accommodations in the Netherlands
Inform your local doctors, dentists, schools and embassy that you are moving overseas
Contact Schools in the Netherlands to register your children
Contact what will be your local doctor and dentist to register your family
Register with the Embassy in Holland
Contact local banks to find out what you need to open an account
Enrol in an online language course so you know at least the basics before you arrive
Make sure everyone in your family has a valid passport
Ensure pets have all necessary travel documents and vaccinations
Pack up your home
Book your travel arrangements to the Netherlands
The list is extensive, we know, but if you are relocating to the Netherlands with your job, much of the above will be covered by your employers, so find out what is already being done, and what you need to do, and your move to the land of clogs, windmills and tulips will be smooth and stress-free!
Relocating to the Netherlands: Getting Visas and Residency Permits
Fondly referred to as ‘The gateway to Europe’, the Netherlands is a vibrant, energetic and densely populated country that attracts expats from all over the world. If you are already a citizen of the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you are legally allowed to live, work and study in the Netherlands, and as such, your move will be relatively simple. However, if you intend to stay for longer than 3 months, you will still need to register with the immigration office and the Municipal Personal Records Database (BRP) to receive a citizen service number (Burgerservicenummer), which acts as a social security and tax number.
If you are a non-EU/ EEA or Swiss resident, otherwise referred to as a ‘Third Party National’ the process is slightly more complicated, but still very doable. Usually, in this instance, your employer will obtain a work permit on your behalf. The Netherlands now offer a single permit that acts as both a residency card (verblijfsvergunning) and a work permit (werkvergunning), referred to as the GVVA, which is ideal for people relocating to Holland for more than 3 months.
If you are not being sponsored by an employer, you may still enter the country under the highly skilled migrant scheme, known as ‘Knowledge migrant’ or ‘Kennismigrant’. For further information on entry visas and requirements, contact:
Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND)
Loket kennis- en arbeidsmigratie
7600 AE Almelo
Telephone: +31 (0)88 043 0430 (Monday to Friday, 09:00-17:00)
Double Dutch: Learning the Language
There are two official languages in the Netherlands, Dutch and Frisian. While English is widely spoken, it is always appreciated when new citizens learn the local language to help integrate into the community, and if you intend to seek employment while you are there, speaking Dutch is essential.
While Dutch is a complex language, it is great fun to learn, and you can do so online before you move to the Netherlands with a course such as Babble.com, or sign up for lessons on arrival, where you will speak face-to-face with local residents. Contact the Dutch Language Institute for further information:
Money Matters: Eurozone
Since 2002, the official currency of the Netherlands is the Euro. Upon arrival in your new home, you will need to set up a bank account straight away so that you can pay utilities, access debit and credit cards, and become part of your new society. The Euro is considered a strong and stable currency, and as it is used right across the EU, it makes travelling to nearby countries much easier.
Local News & Politics
While the Netherlands is, undoubtedly, one of the most liberal countries in the European Union (same-sex marriage, prostitution, euthanasia, abortion and soft drugs have all been legalised here), it also has a reputation of being one of the most bureaucratic countries in the EU, and so you’ll find that ‘rules’ and ‘red tape’ apply to almost everything that you want to do.
Expats can find this frustrating, but it is the way of this rule-loving land, and so you should be prepared to spend plenty of time queuing for paperwork and traipsing from one office to another to get all the stamps and signatures you need.
But it’s not all bad… the Netherlands is listed on the Global Peace Index as one of the safest countries to live in the European Union and crime rates are low. In fact, a third of all prison cells are empty here, and the most commonly reported crimes are related to bicycles (there are over 13 million of them!).