Whether you're looking to make a few extra bucks on the side or if working is the next logical step in your career plan, work in the Netherlands can be hard to come by and get a handle on. College Life is here to help you. All the info you need, in one place, so you can focus on getting that dream job.
What Kind of Work is Available
As a potential member of the Dutch labor market, you must be asking yourself what opportunities are yours for the taking. You can find work in the Netherlands in four different ways: a full-time job, an internship, a traineeship or a part-time job.
What is part-time work? Part-time work in the Netherlands is working shorter hours, for example, 10-15 hours per week. This makes a part-time job easily combinable with your studies and other potential extracurriculars.
There are many different kinds of part-time work that you can apply for which require varying levels of experience. For most of them, you don't particularly need to speak Dutch, however, speaking some basic Dutch is always a plus. Review the job description or double check by getting in touch with the employer beforehand to understand what language requirements you need to meet. On job boards, you can filter for non-Dutch jobs, or use platforms that only focus on non-Dutch jobs (e.g. College Life Jobs).
Check out our guide to part-time jobs for a more detailed overview of what you can expect from part-time jobs in the Netherlands.
After your studies, you will likely want to look for a full-time job. Full-time jobs typically consist of 36-40 hours of work per week, though the standard is 38. If you're thinking about working full-time in the Netherlands, it is highly recommended to try to learn some Dutch. This will open the door to more jobs, and it will also help you integrate at work better. If everyone at work is speaking Dutch with each other, it might be hard for you to form relationships with your colleagues.
Networking is the key to professional success, especially when you're starting out. To find a full-time job that is at your level and in your field of interest, it is important to network. Your network is the best way to hear about jobs that are available, and get a company interested in you by having a common connection. This will widen your connections and bring you one step closer to your dream job.
What to expect
So what exactly can you expect from a full-time contract?
Under Dutch law, you are entitled to at least 4 times the number of hours of your work-week for vacation. For example, if you have a 10-hour workweek, you are entitled to 40 hours of vacation.
If you are ill for a long period of time, you are entitled to 70% of your pay during the first 2 years of your being ill.
Working hours and overtime
Your contract will specify the different amount of hours you are expected to work and the compensation you can expect for hours worked beyond that (overtime).
Some contracts might stipulate that you are not allowed to work for competitors of your current employer in the future. Usually, this clause is only valid for a set number of years.
If you're working as a temporary employee at a company, they are required to inform you a month before the end of the contract whether or not they wish to extend the contract.
There's also a difference between fixed and permanent contracts. Fixed periods are renewable periods of employment, however, these periods cannot be longer than 24 months. Additionally, the contract can be renewed a maximum of three times. After that, the contract becomes a permanent contract.
Check out our guide to entry-level jobs for more information!
At many universities in the Netherlands, you may need to complete a minor, exchange, or internship as a requirement to complete your studies. If you choose to do an internship, you should find one relevant to your studies. You can also do an internship outside of your study program as a means to explore your interests in a professional setting. Do note that internships can be paid or unpaid.
If you're an international (non-EU) student, when you are doing an internship in the Netherlands as part of a study program in the Netherlands, it is not necessary for your employer to apply for a work visa for you, as an internship is included in your student visa. If you're completing your education abroad and are coming to the Netherlands to do an internship, you need to apply for a residence permit if the internship exceeds 3 months, and get a work permit through your employer. EU and Swiss nationals do not.
Want a more in-depth coverage of the situation? Our guide to traineeships and internships has got you covered.
A traineeship is like an internship but offers a more concrete experience and on hands experience. Usually, these are reserved for young graduates who are trained at a particular company for a period of time to work at that company in the near future. Traineeships can also be paid or unpaid.
There are two kinds of traineeships:
You are a current student and looking to gain some knowledge about what future work conditions will be like. Typically, you are completing your higher education in another country. Your employer must apply for a Single Permit for you, and you must have proof of exiting the Netherlands prior to the stipulated end date.
You have recently completed your higher education and are now looking to gain work experience for a company in your home country. You also need to get a Single Permit, as well have proof of your return to your home country. In this case, you must already be employed in your home country and your apprenticeship cannot exceed 24 weeks.
Extensive information about what conditions you need to meet can be found here.
Check our guide for tips and more details!
Can You Work in the Netherlands?
There are quite some restrictions on who can work in the Netherlands and under what conditions. This is largely dependent on where you are from, the kind of Visa you have, and other relevant aspects pertaining to the conditions of your stay here in the Netherlands.
If you are an EU citizen, there are fewer requirements in order for you to work in the Netherlands. First of all, you need insurance. If you want to work in the Netherlands, you need Dutch health insurance. If you're unemployed, a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is sufficient.
Second of all, you need a BSN (Burgerservicenummer). A BSN is a unique number provided to each citizen of the Netherlands. You need to obtain one the moment you start studying in the Netherlands, within 5 days of moving in.
This is all you need in order to be employable in the Netherlands. As you are an EU citizen, you are granted free access to the labor market like a Dutch native.
As a non-EU citizen, the conditions surrounding employment are slightly more complicated.
Like EU citizens, non-EU citizens need both Dutch health insurance and a BSN number. Luckily, you are required to take out Dutch health insurance if you study in the Netherlands, so you should be covered on the insurance front. The same conditions apply for a BSN as for an EU national.
If you're planning on working full-time, you'll need both a visa and a residence permit. The single permit (which is the most common permit) is both a residence and working permit which actually needs to be sponsored by your employer in order for you to be eligible to work here. You need to be employed at a company that is recognized by the IND (Immigration and Naturalization Service of the Netherlands). This company will then apply for a working permit for you, as you cannot do it yourself. A list of companies that are registered can be found here.
You do not need to apply for this permit if you are considered 'free on the labor market': this means that you have already worked in the Netherlands for more than 5 years.
If you're a student here in the Netherlands and you want to stay, after completing your studies, you need to switch the reason for your residence permit. This can be to a permit for highly skilled migrants or the single permit or a Zoekjaar visa if you do not yet have a job and would like some time to find one. For more information on changing statuses, visit this website.
A "zoekjaar" is the period you are granted after completing your studies to look for work in the Netherlands or explore other educational opportunities. You need to apply for this within three years of completing a Bachelor's or Master's degree in the Netherlands. Check out our guide for a breakdown of the whole application process and College Life Accelerate if you need a little boost.
Where to Find Work in the Netherlands
There are many places where you can find part-time work in the Netherlands. Here are some of the best:
- College Life Jobs: Find part-time jobs looking for international students
- Your university job board: Sign up for the "vacatures" or "vacancies" channel via your university email account to receive updates about part-time job vacancies.
- Via friends or acquaintances: Brush up on your networking skills and hit up the people you know. Your network is very important when looking for a job as they can put in a good word for you or know when a job is the right fit.
Full-time jobs are somewhat trickier to come by than part-time jobs because they are more long-term and typically involve more responsibilities. This means a strict recruitment process and competition with other applicants. Nevertheless, these are some good channels through which you can easily find open positions.
- College Life Jobs: Find full-time jobs specifically for recent international graduates. This makes it easier to find work in the Netherlands.
- LinkedIn/Networking: one of the most important resources for finding a job is your social and professional network. Knowing someone who knows someone can get you very far when looking for a job. Sometimes it sets you apart from other candidates or gets you a foot in the door.
- University Alumni Network: Dutch universities are working on making their alumni networks more organized and accessible. These networks are extremely valuable and these alumni can teach you a lot about potential jobs and their work experiences.
- Open days at companies: study associations, faculties, as well as university-wide committees, organize open days or career events for students. These days teach you about the environment of the company, the work atmosphere, what is expected from employees, and brings you into direct contact with the employees working there. This is a great way to establish a personal relationship with a company and thus open the door to a job opportunity.
- College Life Jobs: If you decide to do an internship during or after your studies, you can find openings for international students here.
- Company websites: Many companies publish openings under the "Careers" section of their website. This is so that they get applications from individuals who had a specific interest in the company. If a company interests you, be sure to check out their website for potential internships.
- LinkedIn/Networking: Again, your network is one of your most valuable resources. Don't be afraid to use it.
- College Life Jobs: In addition to information about part-time work, internships, and full-time jobs, College Life also has a database for traineeships.
- Company websites: Like internships, company websites often have traineeships. This is because traineeships prepare you for work specific to that company so they'd like to attract traineeship candidates who are interested in that company specifically.
Entering the Labor Market
Your work experience depends on a lot of things, but a major factor is the kind of company for which you decide to work. There are many different kinds of companies, which will define the kind of tasks you'll have, the work atmosphere, and the intensity of your work.
A start-up is a company that is small and up-and-coming. A start-up typically has around 10-15 employees. This means you'll be quite close with your colleagues and will be working closely with them often. Working at a start-up is also very dynamic since such a company lacks the bureaucratic systems of an established company. This means you'll likely be doing several different tasks, and thus learning a lot about how businesses, acquisitions, marketing, and customer relations work.
However, start-ups might have some drawbacks. Usually, you'll have to learn on the job since there won't be extensive training programs in place for you prior to your employment. This means you'll have to do a lot of self-teaching. If this isn't something for you, working at a startup could be challenging for you.
A scale-up is slightly larger than a start-up and has up to 500 employees. This also means that the company is a few years older, and thus will have some systems in place. A scale-up can be dynamic like a start-up because it might still be establishing certain techniques or relationships. It can also have some attributes of an existing corporation because it already has a few years of experience. Either way, a scale-up is also a great place to learn and develop yourself as an employee, especially when you're fresh out of university.
Full-sized Company (Corporate)
Expect the workforce in such a company to be 500 employees and higher. Such a company has established its hierarchy, systems, and positions, and therefore is very systematic. There will likely be clear-cut procedures in such a company, and your role will likely be very well defined. Working in an established company is great because it teaches you a lot about corporate life, professional relationships, and how companies operate in general. You will less likely be involved in various positions as is the case with start-ups and scale-ups, however, this can allow you to really delve into your position. You'll be an expert in no time.
Why You Should Work in the Netherlands
Working in the Netherlands has its obvious benefits, and some other benefits you might not have considered before. The best way to find out whether working next to your studies or directly after your studies is for you is to talk to people who have done it, or give it a try yourself.
As a student, you can never have enough additional income. A job, whether part-time or full-time, can help you scrape together some extra funds to go see that DJ you've been dying to see live, or take that trip around Europe you've been dreaming about.
As an international student, it can be difficult to feel fully integrated in the Netherlands. Finding a job and working with locals together with other internationals can really help you feel more at home and get into the Dutch way of life.
Experience is perhaps one of the most important reasons you should want to look for a job. Jobs, whether part-time or full-time, can teach you a lot about yourself and your interests. If you think you might like something, doing a job for a period of time in that field can really help you understand whether you actually like it, how you approach a working environment, how you work with others, and how you solve problems. A job enhances both your work experience and personal development.
You're probably tired of hearing about this at this point, but it's important to always keep this in the back of your mind. Having a CV with work experience is worth much more than one without. It shows you're exploring your interests and learning how to work in a professional environment.