Working in The Netherlands | Employment in Holland

If you want to come and work in the Netherlands, you probably have many questions. What are the legal criteria to be able to work in the Netherlands? How do you do get a visa? Are you allowed to work in the Netherlands?
Together Abroad Jobboard informs about all these questions.

In order to be able to work in this country you should have a valid:

  • Visa and work permit
  • BSN number

Work permit in Holland

If you have a nationality of a EU country, the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, you don't need to have a visa/residence permit or work permit. This is known as the freedom of movement of workers. THe citizens form Bulgaria and Romania canalso work freely starting form 1/01/2014.

If you have Chroatian nationalitiy the residence permit is not required, but you do still need a permit to be able to work in the Netherlands.

The rest of the nationalities do need to have both residence permit and work permit in order to be able to work in the Netherlands with the exception graduates from Dutch reserach Universities and Universities of Applied Science (HBO). Due to the new job seeking year regulation for international students from outside the EU/EEA who have successfully completed a degree in the Netherlands. They can remain in the Netherlands for an additional year to look for a permanent position as high skilled professionals. During the search year they require no permit for working in the Netherlands.

Citizen Service Number (BSN) in Holland

You are not allowed to work in the Netherlands without Citizen Service Number (BSN, Burgerservicenummer). This is a unique identity number for your contacts with the state. You will get your Citizen Service Number when you register with a Dutch municipality.
If you are not registered with a Dutch municipality and you cannot get a BSN, you can use a so-called ‘sofi number’ (an abbreviation of social-fiscal number), which you will get from the Tax and Customs Administration.
For more information go the the site of the Tax Services

Finding a Job in Holland

Finding Employment in the Netherlands

Since English is the working language of many commercial organisations in the Netherlands, including most of the international and multi-national companies based there, it is often more important to be able to speak fluent English than to speak Dutch when seeking employment there. For native speakers of English and other languages seeking low-skilled work, there are also many employment opportunities in the many international call centres located in the main cities of the Netherlands.

There are various ways to find a job in the Netherlands, which include checking the job vacancies sections of the national or regional press, looking on internet jobsites, applying direct to employers, or using employment or recruitment agencies. However, over 60% of all job vacancies are filled reportedly filled by informal methods, so a good network of contacts in the Netherlands might be the most valuable source of information on jobs in your area of expertise. You can also join business networking associations such as, a web-based English-speaking club which holds regularly meetings throughout the Netherlands.

Many jobs are advertised in English in the Saturday editions of the national press, with different newspapers specialising in particular types of vacancies. For example, NRC Handelsblad is a useful source of information on management-level posts, De Volkskrant specialises in public sector, academic and medical vacancies, De Telegraaf and the Algemeen Dagblad advertise many administrative and technical jobs, and Het Financieele Dagblad has adverts for jobs in the financial sector. Additionally, the free magazines Metro and Spits, which can be found on weekdays in rail and bus stations, carry many job advertisements, as do several classifieds papers which are on sale weekly and include Via Via, De Partikulier and Intermediair.

There are also many online jobsites advertising vacancies in the Netherlands, and many of these allow jobseekers to post their own CVs for perusal by prospective employers. Useful online sources of information on jobs in Holland include EURES, the European employment services website for jobseekers and employers throughout Europe, the website of the Centre for Work and Income (CWI) at, Holland's public employment services, and the websites of private employment agencies. In the Netherlands, employment agencies generally deal with vacancies for non-specialized areas of work, while recruitment agencies assist people with various types of specialist or senior level jobs. A word of warning on the use of agencies: any legal job in The Netherlands requires a work permit, whether it is obtained through an employer or through the CWI. Without a work permit hiring a foreign national is illegal. Another stumbling block may be that most jobs advertised through agencies require a command of Dutch.

It is also very common for jobseekers in the Netherlands to approach companies direct to enquire about employment opportunities, or to apply for vacancies advertised on their websites.

Around 4% of all employees in the Netherlands work via recruitment agencies which post them on a temporary basis to other organisations. If you are allowed to work in the Netherlands without a work permit you might be able to find temporary work through agencies such as USG, Undutchable, Adams Recruitment, Unique Multilinqual Services, Madison Parker, Randstadt, Manpower and Start.

When applying for jobs in the Netherlands, you should send your Curriculum Vitae (CV), along with a covering letter explaining why you are interested in the post and why you feel that the company should employ you. Unless applying to a large multinational organisation, your covering letter should preferably be in Dutch and should be no longer than one page; your CV should be tailored to the post you are applying for, and should ideally not exceed two pages. It should include details of your work experience, followed by your education, arranged in chronological order. Application forms are also sometimes used by larger organisations, or for online applications.

For an expat moving to the Netherlands, getting the right direction is very important. It's important that one knows which steps and direction to take. Linda is an exceptionally talent counselor, her advice has helped me land a job within a week of coming to the Netherlands. I am grateful for her mentoring and look forward to a great working relationship in the future.

Dr. Hrishiraj S | Clinical Research & Affairs Manager

Together Abroad provided expert advice on personal branding including developing a top-notch, market-aware CV, highly tailored job applications, and approach strategies with potential employers in the Netherlands. Furthermore, I found them be highly knowledgeable in key related fields such as recruitment strategy, immigration law, contracts, labor agreements, and (un)employment benefits. I would recommend Together Abroad to anyone who needs professional help with transitioning to a new career.

A. Aboufirass | Structural Engeer

Linda is a big mind. She thinks about things that the rest normally overlook. The insight she has about the dutch job market can only be achieved through years of experience and persistence.

Her business savvy is complemented by her mastery of understanding the client's needs and requirements. For my career I could say, she was the “Mary Poppins”, who guided me through thick and thin and helped me to land a career in the Netherlands

S. Bhattacharjee | FP&A Manager

If you are going to enlist the services of a "Career Coach" look no further. The only person you want in your corner is Linda van Orsouw. As an expat, you absolutely want to work with a highly skilled and knowledgeable professional who knows their way around the Dutch career/employment/job market. Linda assisted me in writing and positioning my CV, helped me organize and prioritize my list of opportunities, coached me through mock interviews and was there when I got offered a senior position only 2 months later. When asked I will only refer to Linda and "Togetherabroad".

Mr. C. Joubert
Lead Workplace Strategy Consultant 


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