How to get a job in Amsterdam: 8 steps

28.06.17
6 minute read
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In recent years, Amsterdam’s become a hub for both national and international businesses. In fact, on top of the many Dutch brands that call Amsterdam home, the city plays host to quite a few international companies and number is constantly increasing.

While there are many attractions to working in the Netherlands, one of the most exciting possibilities is a flexible work week. While the standard for Dutch businesses is still the traditional 40 hours, Amsterdam is becoming well known as a place where employers are willing to entertain non-traditional hours, shortened work weeks and remote employment. The Netherlands is often viewed as one of the best countries for a work/life balance and the overall quality of life. The Netherlands is the most English-proficient non-English speaking country in the world, making it a great city for American expats seeking employment.

So, what’s the best way to find a job in Amsterdam? This guide outlines the 8 steps for becoming employed in the Netherlands.

1. Figure out whether you’ll need a visa

Working in the Netherlands requires a residence permit and often a work permit as well. Your eligibility for permits depends heavily on your nationality and background.

For example, you aren't required to obtain a residence permit or a work permit to get a job in Amsterdam if you're from the following member nations: European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA, including Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway) or Switzerland. One notable exception, however, is migrants from Croatia who will still need to obtain a work permit for their first year in the country.

For U.S. citizens, you’ll need a single permit issued by the IND, which covers both your residence permit and work permit. While the qualifications to obtain a single permit are pretty basic, it’s best to familiarize yourself with what you’ll need. You can check out information on the steps and qualifications for obtaining your permit, as well as research other types of visas (including the Highly Skilled Migrant program), at the Immigration and Naturalization Service’s website.

2. Think about what job sectors are prevalent in Amsterdam

While there are plenty of Dutch jobs available, some industries are bigger than others in Amsterdam. The Netherlands is quickly becoming known for its tech industry, and has always been an international center for consumer goods. Amsterdam is also a hub for creative industries, advertising, gaming, fashion, research and life sciences.

Not sure if you’ll be able to find a job in your sector? iAmsterdam has an excellent resource for researching your industry’s prevalence in the city.

3. Check out online listings

One of the best ways to search for jobs in Amsterdam is online. Some of the most helpful sites include:

  • iAmsterdam’s Job Search includes open positions in many industries, specifically roles for non-Dutch speakers.

  • Amsterdam Jobs Online is only available in Dutch but was created by the Public Employment Service in the Netherlands, and contains over 70,000 job listings.

  • Expatica job listings are largely English-focused if you’re looking for a position that doesn’t require you to speak Dutch.

  • LinkedIn is just as good for finding jobs in Amsterdam as it is in the US.

  • JobsInAmsterdam lists a wide range of open positions across many industries and is geared towards expats.

Specifically looking for an internship? Try GraduateLand's range of internship listings, or StartUs for positions at new and small companies.

4. Find a recruiter

Amsterdam also has an abundance of agencies and recruiters that can be helpful in your job search. Some of the best reviewed agencies include:

  • Undutchables works exclusively with expats and foreigners, and has extensive expertise in placing candidates in English-speaking jobs.

  • Aquent is a trusted US-based recruitment agency with offices in Amsterdam.

  • Octagon is a large, international agency with a wide network in the Netherlands.

  • Adams Multilingual Recruitment specializes in finding jobs for non-Dutch speakers.

5. Do some networking

If you can visit Amsterdam before your move, it’s a good idea to attend a few networking events. While the city is full of foreign residents, the job market can still feel like a game of “who you know.” Luckily, there’re lots of job fairs and ways to meet other professionals.

A good first step is checking out iAmsterdam’s comprehensive list of job fairs in the area. The site stays up to date with information about networking events happening in the city.

If you don’t see anything right away on their calendar, Dutch News offers a list of clubs and organizations in the city. If you find one that seems like a good fit, it might be best to plan your trip around their events calendar.

Eventbrite's networking meetups and Eventful's events for professionals have a lot of listings as well. Also check out I Am Expat's gatherings specifically geared towards expats and English speakers.

Even if you can’t make it Amsterdam it’s still a good idea to try networking. This can be as simple as joining expat groups on Facebook, finding professional groups on LinkedIn or reaching out to your social networks to see if you have any existing connections in the Amsterdam area.

6. Make sure your CV is up to date

While there are a plethora of jobs available in the Netherlands, it’s important to remember that there is also a large number of candidates gunning for them. If you want to land a role, you need to make sure your CV is up to date, and stands out from the crowd.

If you need help with basic tips for writing your resume, you may want to try reading Monster.com's CV help and CareerPerfect resume writing guides’s guides. If you speak Dutch but want to make sure your resume translation is perfect, it’s worth sending it to a professional translation service to check for mistakes. If you’re not sure your resume writing or design are strong enough, consider hiring a professional on UpWork or Fiverr to spruce it up.

7. Make a great impression

Once you’ve got a job offer, it’s important to make a great impression at your interview. While most job interviews are similar, it’s important to remember there’re some cultural differences in the Netherlands. Some good things to keep in mind are:

  1. Be direct. Dutch people tend to speak plainly, so leave the jargon out. The quicker you can get to your point, the better.

  2. Don’t be overconfident. Going into your interview you may find you have more experience than many other candidates, or even your interviewer. That’s pretty common in the Netherlands. The Dutch tend to spend 7-17 years on their higher education. It’s likely they were still getting advanced degrees while you were climbing the corporate ladder. While your experience is meaningful, don’t be smug about it. In Amsterdam, having had a lot of jobs isn’t usually an advantage.

  3. Know your stuff. As pointed out above, the Dutch are big on studying. They’ll expect you to have done your research on the company and the position. If you’re not able to slip your knowledge about the business in easily, make sure your questions are backed up by personal research, and not things you could easily find out online.

  4. Be on time. Of course being on time to an interview is important everywhere, but in the Netherlands timeliness very serious. Being even a minute late will likely cost you the job.

For more interview tips, check out Undutchables’ interview preparation guide.

8. Make The Move

Congrats! You have an offer on the table.

Next you’ll need to find an apartment. Luckily, that’s easy enough since Amsterdam is such a foreigner-friendly city. There’re lots of sites and agencies geared towards helping expats find rental apartments in the city.

Amsterdam Tips has broken down some of the best ways to find apartments including, what you should expect to pay and where in the city is best to live. Alternatively, Expatica’s guide for finding a flat is a good place to start if you’re already feeling confident. This source includes links to some of the more reputable rental agencies in the city.

Once you have everything in order for your move to Amsterdam, you’ll likely need to convert your money to or from Euros. If you plan to open a bank account there or know someone with a bank account there, consider using TransferWise in order to get the most out of your money. Not only does TransferWise use the real mid-market exchange rate to convert your money, but your money is received and sent via local bank transfers in both your home country and in Amsterdam.

TransferWise is the smart, new way to send money abroad.

Find out more