The Netherlands is a very popular location for expats. Out of a population of 17 million, there are an estimated 200,000 expats living in the country, an increase from 75,000 in 2015. The majority of these (64 percent) come from elsewhere in Europe, and eight percent come from the Americas. In 2021, over 5,000 Americans moved to the Netherlands, making the U.S. the 11th most common country of origin for immigrants to the Netherlands.
Why are people moving to the Netherlands? Good employment opportunities, moderate climate, excellent healthcare, and safety are some reasons. People who have moved to the Netherlands for employment have found it a good place to work. The Netherlands also has an excellent healthcare system: CEOWorld Magazine ranked it No. 11 in the world for healthcare quality.
In this post, we’ll describe some benefits of moving to the Netherlands that attract many expats. If you’re looking to move overseas and the Netherlands is on your list of potential destinations, you may find this information helpful.
Benefits of Living in the Netherlands
Good Employment Prospects
The Netherlands is Europe’s most advanced and industrialized country. A lot of American companies from Nike to Tesla have a presence in the Netherlands. The government provides strong incentives for foreign companies to set up or move to the country. An example is the 30 percent rule: for qualified companies, 30 percent of earnings are tax-free. These incentives entice international businesses to move to the Netherlands, which leads to more employment prospects for international residents.
Additionally, many Dutch companies like Shell, Heineken, and KLM hire internationals, especially those with specialized skills such as engineering, science, or IT. Major industries include construction, chemicals, oil and natural gas, and financial services, retail, and transportation. Amsterdam is a financial and business center, while The Hague is strong in human-rights law and sustainable energy. The pharmaceutical and healthcare fields are also sources of hiring.
It’s good that the Netherlands offers abundant employment, because you’ll find it hard to move to the Netherlands from the U.S. without a job lined up. In most cases you will need to have a job offer first and then apply for a work permit. Applicants with skilled positions like engineering, IT, and finance are given priority in receiving work permits.
Good Work Culture
While the Dutch are known to be disciplined and hardworking, they also enjoy a lot of free time and employee rights, more than many Americans. Dutch employees work fewer hours than the average European and value their family time and leisure activities. Dutch workers are also entitled to at least 20 days of paid leave each year in addition to national holidays. Some companies offer even more paid leave, along with subsidized transportation to and from work.
The Netherlands has a relatively low crime rate compared to other European countries and to the U.S. It ranks number 16 among the world’s safest countries. The typical Dutch resident takes following rules very seriously. Although drugs and alcohol are readily available, they are regulated; drinking isn’t allowed under the age of 18 years, and open containers aren’t allowed in public except during festivals.
The Dutch are generally known for friendliness and tolerance. The country welcomes people of all races and cultures, so international travelers and tourists quickly blend in. It’s not uncommon for people to have conversations on public transportation or while waiting in line at the store. The Dutch also don’t place great emphasis on social or economic status, so people of various backgrounds commonly socialize together in a bar or restaurant.
The Netherlands has a moderate oceanic climate, featuring mild winters and cool summers. Overall, the weather is better than many parts of the U.S. It doesn’t get as hot as in the Southern U.S. or cold as in the Northern U.S. There are no natural disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, or tsunamis to worry about. The weather can change quickly, however: it can be pouring rain and thundering in the morning, then sunny and humid in the afternoon. This makes it hard to predict what the weather will be each day, as it can change almost in an instant.
Residents get to enjoy all four seasons, from ice skating in the park in winter to riding a boat on the river in the summer, to watching the leaves change colors in the fall.
English is Very Common
Immigrants and visitors from the U.S. and other English-speaking countries will feel at home in the Netherlands because English is spoken almost everywhere. It’s practically the second official language. Approximately 60 percent of college courses and 70 percent of graduate courses in the Netherlands are in English, and all international school classes are taught in English. The Netherlands has many world-class international universities with classes taught completely in English.
The Netherlands has among the highest proportion of English-speakers in Europe. People will speak English in the office, on the bus, and in the supermarket. Also, the Dutch language is similar to English, and many universities and communities offer Dutch language classes.
Dutch culture is very Americanized. American TV shows and music, American consumer products, and even ads for American products are very common. Many Dutch people use American products and drive American-made vehicles like Harleys and Dodge Ram trucks.
Good Organization and Infrastructure
Tax rates in the Netherlands are higher than in the U.S., but this is reflected in better public facilities. The roads are well-maintained and the public transportation system is organized and efficient. The Dutch people value organization in general, and strict rules enforce societal organization and standardization. Trash containers must be placed at specific locations at specific times, and not on or close to the street.
The Dutch way of communicating is very direct compared to typical American conversation. The Dutch people are very polite and accommodating. However, they tend to say what they mean and do what they say. This directness is apparent when asking for an opinion or talking with bosses or colleagues at work. While people may seem more blunt than Americans, clear speaking and responses lead to greater efficiency and knowing exactly what people are thinking and feeling.
Easy to Travel
The excellent public transportation system makes it easy to get around by bus, train, and ferry. Since the Netherlands isn’t a very large country, you can quickly tour the country and enjoy the many parks, museums, and beautiful scenery.
The Netherlands is also centrally located between Belgium and Germany, and a short distance from Luxembourg and France. There are five airports in the country that offer short flights, but you can also take a road trip or a train to explore around Europe.
People are moving to the Netherlands because of its strong employment prospects, good work culture, and natural beauty. If you’re planning a move overseas, give All Around Moving a call. We’ll make your move easy and stress-free.
We hope you found this post, Why Are people Moving to the Netherlands? useful. Be sure to check out our post, Planning Tips when Moving Overseas for more great information.
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