The Short Guide 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. While you might know how to open a bank account, do you know how to open a bank account in the Netherlands? In Dutch? Okay, to be honest, neither do we. While we may not know how to open a bank account in Dutch, we certainly know how to open a Dutch bank account.

What you need to open a Dutch bank account

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. Then, you need a proof of address, regardless if it's an apartment or student housing. Furthermore, you need your BSN number.

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

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 enrollment, or your letter of enrollment at your university or college.

A man with transferwise on his phoneChoose your Dutch bank


There are two big bank transfers you will likely make before your semester starts.

  • First month's rent
  • Tuition fee

And let's face it - international transfers are usually very expensive, and take forever (i.e. 3-5 working days). To make your life easier, and the start of your semester less stressful, you can use Transferwise for your first payments in the Netherlands. When making international transfers, you'll get the real exchange rate, know exactly how much you're paying and the money will usually arrive within 1-2 days. Go ahead and compare the price with your current bank.

Bunq Bank

Bunq is an alternative solution if you don't want to go with traditional banking. 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 made for studentsHow 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. 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 information, simply go to the ABN Amro homepage and search 'international student'.

You'll have to bring all the relevant documents and perhaps 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!

A woman holding silver laptopWhat's the next step after getting your Dutch bank account?

After you have applied and opened your bank account, a few things will happen. Firstly, your card 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 sent via post or you might have to go to the bank branch to pick it up yourself.

If you've received your card, the pin and your bank codes, 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! 

Showing 4 comments
  • Doug

    ING ban sent us a letter saying they were dropping USA clients, no more banks for USA residents. We have had NL accounts for 50 years now it is too much trouble for them to follow USA regs.
    ABN long ago cancelled all of our investments accounts, on short notice.
    All of these banking sites are out of date.

    • nadiya

      Do these changes also apply to student accounts?

  • Ivan

    Well, it seems to be a kind of “Catch- 22” type of an unresolved situation:

    Step 1 – you got a letter of enrollment from the university – that’s OK and easy

    Step 2 – you have to own proof of address in Netherland – but how rent a housing without having a BSN number and already opened bank account?

    Step 3 – to apply for BSN number, you have to show proof of address – the same impossible mission like step – you cannot have a proof of address.

    Step 4 – opening a bank account – proof of address and BSN needed…go back to step 2..

    Sorry , but I feel really confused – is there any solution for this?

    • Kristian

      Hi Ivan,

      Great question. There are a couple of things can do, two of which I’ve listed below;

      1) You may sign up for bunq. You do not need a BSN to register with bunq – you’ll only need to add the BSN within 3 months after registering.
      2) It is unlikely that you are will be required to have a BSN when signing a rental agreement. Thus, after you sign the rental agreement, you can register yourself at the municipality and receive a BSN. You may then go to a bank of your choice and sign up for a bank account.

      Rock on,

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