If you are thinking about moving to Amsterdam, this guide will hopefully help you with your decision. We have split this guide into several sections and have highlighted the key points that you will need to consider before booking your flight!
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Non-EU/EEA nationals need to apply for a residence permit (Machtiging tot Voorlopig Verblijf – MVV) if you move to Amsterdam for a period of longer than 3 months. You can apply for this permit with the alien police (Vreemdelingenpolitie). Residence permits are usually valid for one year.
You must register with your municipality after moving to Amsterdam. This is also the case if you are an EU/ EEA citizen. Highly skilled foreign workers can usually register at IN Amsterdam in the WTC building located in the Zuid district.
Everyone else needs to register with the administration office in the district where they live. You must present your passport, the rental agreement or sales contract of your accommodation as well as birth and marriage certificates if applicable. Contact your municipality beforehand and enquire about the necessary documents.
For EU/EEA nationals, a move to Amsterdam is hassle free. You only need your passport or national ID to enter the country. People from outside the EU often require an entry visa (Machtiging tot Voorlopig Verblijf — MVV). Entry requirements vary depending on your country of origin. If in doubt, consult Netherlands and You, or get in touch with the Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service. If you are a foreign national with a Schengen visa for the Netherlands then you will be able to travel to other countries in the Schengen area for up to three months.
Non-EU residents who come to Amsterdam to find a job also require a work visa. This is usually organised by your employer. The company will have to prove to the UWV Werkbedrijf that you are the only candidate qualified and willing to fill this position. You can arrange for your work permit after your arrival in Amsterdam however, please be aware that this may take up to three months.
If you are staying in the Netherlands for less than a year, your stay is usually classed as temporary and you don’t need to take out the compulsory Dutch health insurance, but you will need health insurance of some kind.
If you hold the European Union Health Insurance Card (EHIC) you will be covered while your stay is temporary (as decided by the insurer in your home country). If your stay is not temporary or as soon as you have a residence permit, you must take out a Dutch healthcare insurance policy.
There are many comparison sites for healthcare and lots of cover options available.
Locations around Amsterdam
If you didn’t want to live in the vibrant main hub, other locations around Amsterdam Centraal include: Utrecht, Haarlem, Bussum, Almere, Hoofddorp, Badhoevedorp, Diemen, Loosdrecht, Hilversum, Zandvoort, Aalsmeer, Heemstede, Weesp and Vinkeveen. These are all linked by the amazing travel network and bike lanes so you could visit in your spare time.
The 30% reimbursement ruling (better known as the 30% ruling) is a tax advantage for highly skilled migrants moving to the Netherlands for a specific employment role. When the necessary conditions are met, the employer can grant a tax-free allowance equivalent to 30% of the gross salary subject to Dutch payroll tax.
There are many well-known companies located in and around Amsterdam (with more coming) who are always looking for people with international skills:
ING, ABN Amro, Deutsche bank, Rabobank, Van Lanschot Bankiers, HSBC, Triodos, BNP, Barclays, Citi Bank, Volksbank, UBP
Financial and Professional Services:
McKinsey & Company, Accenture, Arcadis, PwC, Deloitte, EY, Aegon, Generali, Allianz, Knab, Goldman Sachs, KPMG, Alix Partners, PwC, Grant Thorton, Cargill, Paypal, EY
ASML, HP, Microsoft, HP, Antea Group, TomTom, Centric, Cegeka, Accenture, IBM, Naspers, Nokia
Novartis, Roche, Janssen, MSD, UCB, Teva Pharmaceuticals, Apotex, Pfizer, Sanofi, Biogen, Alliance Healthcare
Ablynx, Cargill, Amgen, Gilead Sciences, Novo Nordisk, Abbvie, GE Healthcare, Alexion, Shire, Applikon, IDEXX
Shell, Esso, Akzo Nobel, BASF, Solvay, BP, Univar, Lyondell Basell, Esso, Lanxess, Total
PepsiCo, Heineken, Unilever, Ahold Delhaize, Heinz, Hunkemoller, Jumbo, EG Group, Bijenkorf, Scotch & Soda, Kwantum, Gall & Gall
Idexx, Naspers, Nokia, DHL, PostNl, Bpost, CEVA logistics, Volkswagen, KLM, TUI, Triodos, CZ
International schools in and around Amsterdam:
- The British school of Amsterdam (age 3 to 18)
- Amsterdam international community school (age 3 to 18)
- Amity international school Amsterdam (primary school)
- Florencius international school Amstelveen (age 2 to 12)
Cost of living
The average cost for groceries in Amsterdam is around €400 a month, for a family with 2 kids.
The total cost for unlimited travelling by metro and tram (GVB) through Amsterdam is €47,50 a month for an adult, travelling by train (NS) costs €333 a month.
Cost of housing
The average cost of housing in Amsterdam (4 people) is €300.000 for an apartment close to/in Amsterdam. Those moving here from abroad can only start looking at mortgage options after 6-12 months (this does depend entirely on your situation, you can start making enquiries as soon as you move). Renting is typically a good alternative.
Cultural hot spots in Amsterdam are all the museums around the Rijksmuseum and the Dutch National Opera.
Beaches in and close to Amsterdam: Blijburg, Strandzuid and Oudekerkerplas Strand.
Some of the best restaurants and fine dining in Amsterdam include; Ciel Blue, Sushi Samba, Panache and Restaurant Vermeer.
Festivals: Lowlands, Foodtruck festivals
You can see a list of the concerts in Amsterdam in the upcoming months:
The price of renting a boat to go through the canals in Amsterdam are around €100 (12 pers).
Biking in Amsterdam is very common, you can either buy one or rent one (€10 per month – www.easyfiets.nl).
The ArenA, Ziggo Dome and AFAS Live have a variety of international artists visiting each year.
Sport is an integral part of Dutch culture. The Ajax stadium is based in Bijlmer and a season ticket is around €750. If football isn’t your thing, then not to worry. There are also plenty of other options including rugby, cycling, swimming, ice hockey, running, ice skating and rowing clubs to name a few.
The Netherlands has a variety of transport options including Metro, Train and Tram which travel to different parts of the country and also connect to other European countries. You can buy yourself an anonymous Chipkaart to top up and receive discount fares until you find a permanent residence. Once you have done this, you can register for an OV Chipkaart.
Useful websites to visit for more information:
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