Moving to the Netherlands from the US

Congratulations! You’ve made the voortreffelijk (excellent) decision to consider the Netherlands as your next home. To help you along the road to making your final decision, we’ve got you covered with our exhaustive guide to all things Dutch.

Whether you’re moving to the Netherlands alone or moving to the Netherlands with a family, we’ve got everything you need right here, from education to neighbourhoods and house prices. And we promise not to use any double Dutch.

We can also offer you free quotes for shipping your possessions. If you fill in the form at the top of this page, you can see how much moving to the Netherlands would cost.

Tips for moving to the Netherlands

Cost of shipping to the Netherlands

We’ve calculated the average international shipping rates and durations for some of our most sought-after journeys from the US to the Netherlands.

The rates are sourced from WorldFreightRates.com, and are based on the port-to-port transportation of a 20ft container of used furniture worth $53,620 – the typical value of the contents of a three-bedroom house (according to Admiral Insurance.) These prices were last updated in August 2019.

The durations are sourced from SeaRates.com, and were also last updated in August 2019.

OriginDestinationCostDuration
New YorkAmsterdam

998 ()

10.5 days
Los AngelesAmsterdam

3,313 ()

25 days
HoustonAmsterdam

1,692 ()

16 days

Please note: these container shipping costs exclude typical add-ons such as door-to-door delivery, professional packing/unpacking, and basic insurance cover. Our shipping suppliers normally incorporate these services into their prices, so expect some discrepancy between the rates given here and the quotes you receive. These estimates should be used as an indication only.

Select the size of your move to get free quotes

Cost of flying from origin country to the Netherlands

If you want to transport your prized possessions by air instead, you should know that air freight can be up to 18 times more expensive than ocean freight, according to Transporteca

Sometimes, though, speed is more important than expense. If you’re in one of those situations, here are the costs of moving your belongings to the Netherlands by air.

The prices are based on the transportation of household goods worth $53,620, weighing 250kg, and measuring 110cm x 110cm x 123cm.

OriginDestinationCostDuration
New YorkAmsterdam

2,429 ()

3.5 days
Los AngelesAmsterdam

2,429 ()

3.5 days
HoustonAmsterdam

2,429 ()

11 hours

Cost of living in the Netherlands

It’s going to be a culture shock when you leave the land of the free for the land of windmills and tulips, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. 

To help you with the transition, we’ve gathered all the most important price information – starting with the cost of living you can expect in Nederland, and how it compares to the US.

Don’t worry, though: out of all the Dutch cities, only Amsterdam made it into Mercer’s 2019 Cost of Living Survey, which ranks the 209 most expensive cities in the world. It came 58th, behind White Plains, New York and Beirut, Lebanon.

Even so, you should consider how Dutch prices contrast with what you spend in your American home, and adjust your budget accordingly.

 NetherlandsUS
Milk, bread, rice, eggs and cheese for a week$13.54$14.26
Inexpensive restaurant meal$16.65$15
Bottle of beer$3.88$6
Cinema ticket
$12.21$12
Monthly gym membership$31.67$36.12

(Data comes from Numbeo.com and is correct as of August 2019)

VAT

It’s also worth noting that the VAT (value-added tax) rate in the Netherlands is 21% on most goods. Some products, such as food and medicine, have 9% VAT.

There is no VAT in the US, but you’ll be familiar with the concept of sales tax, which is somewhere between 2.9% and 10.5% depending on which state you’re in (unless you live in Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, or Oregon, which don’t have sales tax.)

Expat healthcare

If you’re an international student under the age of 30, you’re not required to take out health insurance, and can continue to use the insurance plan you have in your home country.

Otherwise, you need to purchase health insurance within your first three months of living in the Netherlands. This equates to a monthly premium of around €118 ($131) per month. If you’re unlucky and need extra treatment, you’ll have to pay an “own risk” amount, which is capped annually at €385 ($427.)

Part of your salary will be taxed by the government, and a fraction of that sum will go towards funding the Netherlands’ universal healthcare system.

 

Do you need private insurance?

If having private healthcare gives you peace of mind, and if you can afford it, then go for it.

That's why we've created our list of recommended healthcare providers. From there, you can request free quotes from whichever company suits your needs.

 

Can you use the state healthcare services?

Definitely. In fact, as mentioned above, it’s the law for anyone with a residence visa. You have to sign up within three months, and you have to pay a monthly premium – but you’ll enjoy world-class healthcare as a reward.

Public transport in the Netherlands

 NetherlandsUS
Cost★★★★★★★
Availability★★★★★
Quality★★★★★★
Speed★★★★★

Driving in the Netherlands: how does it compare?

 NetherlandsUS
Cost of a new Toyota Corolla

26,677 ()

20,617 ()

Cost of a litre of petrol

6.81 ()

2.77 ()

Cost of bills in the Netherlands

No one wants to arrive in a new country, ready to explore its culture, culinary delights, and clogs, only to be greeted by a series of bills asking for terrifyingly high amounts.

Here’s what you can expect to be paying when you’re living in the Netherlands, as well as how these costs stand up against American prices.

Bill (monthly)NetherlandsUS
Gas and electricity

133 ()

175 ()

Water

18 ()

38 ()

Internet

42.75 ()

44 ()

Income tax for average wage (including federal taxes)10.9%22%

Transferring money to the Netherlands

If you’re about to move to the Netherlands, you’ll probably need to convert some of your savings into euros. 

However, it’s best to avoid using high street banks for this process, as you’ll usually have to pay high fees, and you won’t get the best exchange rate. 

That’s why we’ve done our research and compared all the major money transfer services on the market, so you can choose the right one. Check out our expert ratings and find the best money transfer provider today.

Climate in the Netherlands

Does it snow in the Netherlands?

Absolutely! When you’re living in the Netherlands, you can expect to welcome fluffy white flakes 25 days per year, all between October and April.

During this period, it snows once per week on average, peaking in December, January, and February, when you can expect to wake up and see a beautiful festive scene outside your window once every few days.

Because snow is an inevitability in the Netherlands, the Dutch have come up with wonderful ways to embrace those frozen fractals. These include ice skating, Christmas markets, the Amsterdam Light Festival, the Deventer Dickens Festival (which yes, celebrates famous British Victorian author Charles Dickens,) and a winter celebration at Kaatsheuvel-based theme park Efteling.

Average temperature per month in the Netherlands (2018)

MonthTemperature (°C)
January
3
February4
March6
April9
May13
June15
July18
August17
September15
October11
November7
December4

Average rainfall per month in the Netherlands (2018)

MonthRainfall (mm)
January45
February37.8
March35.1
April25.6
May39.3
June40.5
July53.8
August47.2
September49.7
October52.1
November51
December51.1

Housing costs in the Netherlands

By now, you’ll be starting to see why the Netherlands is the fifth-happiest country in the world, according to the World Happiness Report. The cat’s out of the bag – or as the Dutch say, nu komt de aap uit de mouw (“The monkey’s out of the sleeve.”)

So if the temperate climate and beautiful snowy winters have you looking forward to living in the Netherlands, then gather your Dutch courage, dive in, and choose your new home. If you fill in this form, you can even get shipping quotes from our professional suppliers.

Cost

AmsterdamRotterdamThe Hague
Renting 1 bedroom (per month)

1,513 ()

1,062 ()

915 ()

Renting 3 bedrooms
(per month)

2,465 ()

1,719 ()

1,568 ()

Buying (per square foot)

628 ()

323 ()

307 ()

(Data comes from Numbeo.com and is correct as of August 2019.)

Average house price in the Netherlands: $343,492

Average apartment price in the Netherlands: $293,261

Cheapest place to buy a house in the Netherlands: Delfzijl

The best neighborhoods in the Netherlands

Best for families: Amstelveen, Amsterdam

This area on the outskirts of the Dutch capital, which is home to around 90,000 people, is a tribute to the multiculturalism you can expect to enjoy while living in the Netherlands.

With Indian restaurants, a Japanese kindergarten, and thousands of other expats living there, this is the perfect place for your family to enjoy life to the fullest. Your kids can attend the International School of Amsterdam, and enjoy the many parks that grace Amstelveen.

Best for students: Oosterpoort, Groningen

If you decide to live in Groningen, you’ll be choosing a university city where 60,000 students live and learn amongst a population of 200,000.

As well as the University of Groningen (one of the top 100 universities in the world,) Groningen is also blessed with plenty of museums, parks, and beautiful architecture.

In the diverse neighbourhood of Oosterpoort, you’ll be able to rock out at a concert or see a play at De Oosterpoort, the largest pop music venue in the northern Netherlands.

Groningen may be around 6,000 years old, but it’s become the youngest area in the country – and it shows.

Best for singles: Enschede, Twente

This city in the east of the country is wonderful if you’re moving to the Netherlands for work, and don’t have a family to take into consideration. Enschede is an entrepreneurial and high-tech hotspot – and it’s not all business.

It’s also home to the Netherlands Symphony Orchestra, Rijksmuseum Twenthe, and sporting facilities that will allow you to try everything from water skiing to regular skiing.

And if you want to see live sport, you can watch Twente’s soccer team, which won the top Dutch league (the Eredivisie) in 2010.

Best for hipsters: Buiksloterham, Amsterdam

Amsterdam-Noord is undoubtedly the coolest region in the Netherlands at the moment, and Buiksloterham is the jewel in its crown.

As well as cinemas, cutting-edge restaurants, and a film museum, the former industrial district-turned-hipster neighborhood on the water also boasts a virtual reality arcade, an adults-only playground, and a 3D-printed canal house.

Working in the Netherlands

Working in the Netherlands is a joy. Not only is it one of the happiest countries in the world, but it also has the third-shortest average working hours in Europe. These facts may be connected.

And don’t worry: despite these short hours, the country’s economy is stable and growing. 

The Netherlands has the 17th largest GDP (Gross Domestic Product) in the world, according to the International Monetary Fund. In fact, in April 2019, unemployment went below the level it was when the Great Recession happened in 2008 – meaning the country has fully recovered from that disastrous period in the global economy.

So, what can you expect to make when you’re working in this stable, improving economy? Well, the average annual salary across the Netherlands is $40,000, but you’re likely to be paid more than the average if you move to a big city like Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, or Eindhoven – as you can see for yourself below.

CityAverage annual salary
Amsterdam$53,396
Rotterdam$47,036
The Hague$59,174
Eindhoven$52,550

(All information comes from PayScale.com, and is correct as of August 2019.)

Work visas 

To get the kind of salaries quoted in the table above, you’ll need a Netherlands working visa

European Union citizens don’t need a visa to live or work in the Netherlands; they just need to register with their local personal records database and get a Citizen Service Number if they’re staying for longer than four months. It’s slightly harder for Americans, but not by much.

If you’re a US citizen whose company is sending them to work in the Netherlands, you won’t need a temporary residence permit (MVV). Instead, your employer will apply for a visa which allows you to live and work in the Netherlands (a GVVA.)

If you’re moving for a new job, you should apply for a Single Permit, which also acts as a combined residency and working visa. To qualify for this visa, you’re required to:

  • Make at least €1,766.45 ($1,957) per month, including holiday allowance
  • Work for a company that’s in the Chamber of Commerce’s Commercial Register

You may fit into one of many other different sub-categories of employees who are allowed to live and work in the Netherlands, but must apply in different ways. If so, the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) has you covered with its guide.

Jobs in the Netherlands for students

If you’re moving to the Netherlands for university, we get it. It’s a wonderful place to study, plus you can travel to all the parts of Europe you’ve always dreamed of seeing. Visit Rome one weekend, then Reykjavik the next – the continent is your oyster.

Your institution will apply for your visa, and will pay the required fees. After the application is accepted, you’ll be able to live in the Netherlands for the duration of your studies, plus three months. The visa will be valid for up to five years in total. 

All you’ll need to do after you arrive in the Netherlands is:

  • Pick up your residence permit
  • Register at your local Municipal Personal Records Database with your birth certificate
  • Make an appointment with the Area Health Authority to undergo a tuberculosis test within three months of your arrival

And if your intra-European wanderings leave you a little strapped for cash, never fear. Your student visa will allow you to enter paid employment for up to 16 hours per week, or full-time employment during June, July, and August.

Schools in the Netherlands

The Netherlands can provide your children with a wonderful level of education. In 2018, 248 schools in the Netherlands were ranked “excellent” – and that was 49 more than the year before, showing that Dutch schooling is on the rise.

If you enrol your kids in the country’s free state education system, you’ll just be asked to give a voluntary annual contribution – somewhere in the range of €900 ($998) – though this will vary depending on your income level.

For those of you who would like to send their children to an international school, the private nature of these institutions means that you’ll be spending thousands, or even tens of thousands of dollars per year. It all depends on your personal preference.

Best public school: Kandinsky College, Nijmegen

This multicultural secondary school has been rated “excellent” four years in a row, offers its pupils flexible study hours, and puts a large emphasis on student care. If you want the best, Kandinsky has you covered.

Best private school: International School of Amsterdam (ISA)

This 55-year-old institution offers English-language International Baccalaureate programs to students from preschool to grade 12. It’s accredited by the Council of International Schools and Eco-Schools, which encourages kids to start sustainable initiatives.

Watch out, though: whereas state schools are free, enrolling your child in grade 7 at ISA will cost around €29,000 ($32,000) for the first year.

Conclusion

The Netherlands is a welcoming country that’s relatively easy to move to, has pretty happy citizens, and places the same cultural emphasis on waffles, potatoes, and beer that you’ll be familiar with in the US. 

And if you have any concerns, het zit wel snor – which literally translates to “it sits like a mustache”, though its meaning is more like “don’t worry”. Dutch people have a reputation for being kind and generous, so you’re likely to make friends in your new surroundings.

With better healthcare, cheaper housing, and excellent schools, living in the Netherlands will be a blast for you and your family. If you’d like to get free quotes for shipping your belongings to your new home, fill in this form, and start your new life in this tulip-filled paradise.