Jobs in the Netherlands

Any citizens from the EU/EEA countries can live and work in the Netherlands, or Holland as many people call it. People from outside this area will need a work permit, which the employer will have to apply for. Employers will have to prove that no one in the EU could fill the vacancy before a work permit can be issued.

There are many ways to search for vacancies in the Netherlands, the Internet is one of the most widely used ways, but a lot of people initially use ‘Uitzendbureau’s” (or temp agencies) when they arrive in the country.

Thanks to the nature of temporary work, uitzendbureaus often have jobs that do not appear on the internet, and often offer jobs that are suitable for people who have just arrived in the country. Don’t expect to be appointed managing director of a large company through them, but they will be able to get your local career going. Many Dutch companies use temporary staff to have a form of extended trial period. Dutch law stipulates that the trial period can only be a short period of time. Hence temp staff.

How do you go about applying for a job in the Netherlands?

You have to be brief and to the point on your CV (resume) and in your application letter. It is important that you indicate why you are applying. Do not waste a company’s time by applying for a job where you don’t meet their requirements. You might think you are suitable, but if you don’t tick the boxes, you won’t even get a chance to talk to the employer. You simply get ignored. In this current economic climate, there are many applicants to choose from, so make sure you show why you are the best candidate. Equally important, you should make sure that your certificates and titles are valid in the Netherlands. If necessary have your diploma’s translated by a verified translator.

So, who can apply for a job in the Netherlands?

EU/EEA Nationalities

In principle, the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA) allow residents of these areas to live and work in any member state. Current members are Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Germany, Finland, France, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Poland, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Romania. However, Bulgarian and Romanian citizens still require a work permit « Tewerkstellingsvergunning (TWV) »  in the Netherlands.

Social Security Number (BSN)

In order to be able to work in the Netherlands, you have to have a social security number (in Dutch, a BSN or Sofi number). This number means that you have registered with the tax authorities and the social security system. If you plan to stay longer than three months, you must register in the municipality where you live, which will issue you a social security number. If you plan to stay for a shorter period, however, or if you continue to live in another country while you are working in the Netherlands, you must apply to the tax authorities for a Sofi (social and fiscal) number.

If you are employed, your employer will withhold social contributions and wage tax from your salary, which will then be transferred to the government agencies concerned. For more information and the addresses of tax authority offices, see or ring 0800 – 0543 (inside the Netherlands) or +31 555 38 53 85 (outside the Netherlands).

Residence Permit

Residents of the EU/EEA member states do not require resident permits. After you have been here for three months, you should register with the IND (Immigration and Naturalisation Service). For more information, see the IND website at IND


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