Despite being amongst the smallest countries in Europe, the Netherlands has a strong economy. With plenty of career paths, going Dutch could be the answer…
The Netherlands has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the European Union (EU) and lots of job opportunities for foreign workers. Those with skills and experience in engineering, finance, IT, marketing, sales and customer service are in great demand.
The Netherlands is also home to a wide range of international and multinational companies including Royal Dutch/Shell Group, Phillips, Unilever, Heineken and ING Group.
Job market in the Netherlands
The largest sector in the Netherlands is business services, which accounts for approximately two-thirds of its gross domestic product (GDP). Nearly 80% of the Dutch workforce is in the services sector, involved in areas such as transportation and financial and business services.
The agriculture and food sector is a vital part of the Dutch economy, with the Netherlands exporting three-quarters of its agricultural produce.
The Netherlands is Europe’s largest producer of natural gas, with some of the world’s biggest chemical companies also based there.
Other in demand professions in the Netherlands include those in healthcare, tax and education.
To search for the latest jobs in the Netherlands, visit:
Work experience and internships in the Netherlands
As in many other countries, the Dutch hold work experience in high regard.
Multinational company Philips offers international internships to graduates from all types of backgrounds. To find out more, see Philips.
For those interested in teaching English in the Netherlands, read i-to-i Teach English in the Netherlands. There are numerous schemes available that don’t require you to speak Dutch.
Internships and summer work placements for students can also be arranged by securing:
- placements for business and economic students at AIESEC UK;
- course-related, engineering, science and technology placements with IAESTE UK.
Volunteering in the Netherlands
Voluntary work is well worth considering if you can afford to live without any form of regular income. Most voluntary work across Europe is rewarded with free accommodation and main meals.
The European Commission (EC) funds a scheme called The European Voluntary Service (EVS), which is a scheme aimed at people aged 17 to 30 wishing to volunteer abroad. It offers young people the chance to work for free for up to 12 months in a number of European and non-European countries.
Opportunities vary from placements concerned with sport and culture to others focused on social care and the environment. For successful applicants, accommodation, travel, food and insurance are all covered by a European grant and you even receive a personal allowance each month.
The majority of Dutch people can speak English. However, it is also important to learn basic Dutch to get by in the workplace.
Learn some key phrases before you set off by visiting BBC Languages.
Dutch visas and immigration
According to the EC, EU citizens have the right to:
- move to another EU country to work without a work permit;
- enjoy equal treatment with nationals in access to employment, working conditions and all other social and tax advantages;
- stay in the country even after employment has finished.
For more information and to check what conditions and restrictions apply, see:
- European Commission – Free Movement EU Nationals
- Europa – Work-Related Rights
- Europa – Workers and Pensioners
If you are going to work in the Netherlands, you will need a Citizen Service Number (Burgerservicenummer or BSN). This is a unique identity service number that you can apply for at your local municipality. Workers must also insure themselves against the costs of medical care.
Find out more
- Search for jobs at Expatica – Looking for work in the Netherlands.