A beginners manual to opening a Dutch bank account

There are always those things that you need to do, but don't quite know how to do. One of those might be opening a bank account. Yes, you're thinking 'um...I know how to open a bank account, I'm not 5...'. Right you are. However, do you know how to open a bank account in Holland? In Dutch? Okay, neither do we, to be honest. While we may not know how to open a bank account in Dutch, we certainly know how to open a Dutch bank account in Holland.

Things like student finance, allowances, and insurances are no-brainer must-haves. Oh, and a bike; we are in Holland, after all. But aside from these things, there's something else you need: a bank account. You definitely need one when you are studying in Holland. For instance, you need it to pay your tuition and rent, buy your food, go out, receive your studiefinanciering, and much more. So, we are here to save you from becoming a blundering mess attempting to speak a few sad Dutch phrases to the lady at the bank. Yes - here's a beginners manual to opening a Dutch bank account.

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Get your documents in order

First things first: what sort of documents and papers do you need to open a Dutch bank account? Here's what you'll need:

EU students

As an EU student, you'll need valid proof of identity, like a passport or ID. A driver's licence is not always accepted, so watch out for that. Then, you need a proof of address, be it an apartment or student housing. Furthermore, you need your BSN number. You can read all about this magic number here.

Finally, most banks will ask for proof of enrolment, or your letter of enrolment at your university or college.

Non-EU students

Hello, lovely non-EU students. You will need to bring your resident permit with you, as well as your BSN number. Additionally, you will have to show proof of registration with the Foreign Police (Vreemdelingenpolitie)

Like with EU students, some banks will want to see proof of enrolment, or your letter of enrolment at your university or college.

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Choose your bank

One thing all the following options have in common is that you must physically go to the bank (or local branch) and set up an account. You can't set up a new bank account by phone or through the Internet. It just doesn't work. Just Google the nearest branch to you, and get your gear and head on out the door!

Bunq Bank

There's also something called Bunq Bank, which is an alternative solution if you don't want to go with the traditional banking route. With a free account, you get an online banking account. With premium or business, you get 2 Bunq worldwide Mastercards and a Maestro card. Everything is on your phone; you don't need to visit a bank branch or do any paperwork. Some other cool features of Bunq include opening group accounts. If you are going on a night out, or want to go on holiday together, you can use a group account. Furthermore, you can request money that you are owed.

You can read more about Bunq and their products here.

ABN Amro

ABN Amro has a really easy system for setting up a bank account. When opening an account with them, you get a debit card, a credit card and the ability to do online banking. You can contact them directly to make an appointment, which you can have in English.

ABN Amro also has bank accounts specifically dedicated to students. How cool is that? With the ABN Amro Student Account, international students can set up an account in the Netherlands. With this, you'll get a World Card (debit), internet and mobile banking. Plus, if you want to go the extra mile, you can also get the accompanying Student Insurance. With this, you can get liability, accident and home insurance. You can read more about this on our Insurances page! To  find all of this, simply go to the ABN Amro homepage and search 'international student'.

You'll have to bring all the relevant documents, and perhaps even your employment contract if you work. Once you've set up your Dutch bank account, you'll get your card, PIN and activation code in the post!


Rabobank is another student favourite. Here, you can also get a student package for free! With the Rabobank student account, you get a debit card as well as internet and mobile banking. Plus, you can also apply for a credit card (find out more about debit vs credit here). You can also get student insurance with Rabobank, as well as other student discounts. You can find out more about the Student Package here.

To set up your account, all you need to do is make an appointment at a local branch. When you get there, make sure to bring all the necessary documents!

(Pro tip: this site is in Dutch, so use Google Translate!)

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What's the next step in getting your Dutch bank account?

After you have applied and opened your bank account, a few things will happen. Firstly, your card (most likely debit) will be sent to you by post. Some banks might ask you to come pick it up, but normally you'll get your card in the mail. You might either be given your PIN code with your card, or get it a bit later. This might also be posted to you, or you might have to go to the bank branch to pick it up yourself. Safety first, you feel?


And now, you are ready to go! Now you can transfer funds into your account, receive financing, or go on a shopping spree...

Any experience with Dutch bank accounts? Let us know!