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Living in the Netherlands

There are a number of things you need to think about when you move to the Netherlands. This is how we can help.

If you already live in the Netherlands or are planning to move here soon, you will know that there are a lot of things you need to do. The bank can actually help you with some of them. Like understanding how the Dutch do their banking and deal with insurances and money, and helping you find the home that best suits your needs. Welcome.

Good to know

Registration

You must register in the municipality you will be living in. You will be given your citizen service number (BSN) when you do.

Health insurance

Health insurance is compulsory in the Netherlands. This goes without saying when you consider that an average doctor's consultation can be expensive and surgery is often unaffordable. Basic health insurance covers you for the most important services.

Registering your car

If you are bringing your car with you, you will have to register it as quickly as possible. You will also have to apply for a Dutch registration plate. And you will need insurance.

30% ruling for expat employees

If you are coming to work in the Netherlands, you and your employer may be able to benefit from an attractive tax scheme. Your employer may compensate you (tax free) for extra costs - so called 'extraterritorial costs' - that you incur. Your employer is also allowed to pay out 30% of your salary, including the compensation, tax free. This ruling is particularly attractive if you plan on buying a home.

Living in the Netherlands

Renting

There are estate agents that specialize in rentals for expats. But you can also look for a place yourself if you want to. There are a lot of sites for rentals and estate agents on the web.

Buying

The process that you have to go through to buy a home in the Netherlands has two positive aspects compared with that in many other countries. Some countries require that you take out a mortgage before you start looking for a home. Here, it's the other way around: first you find a home, then you look into the financing options. It is wise, though, to talk to the bank first so you know how much you can spend on your new home.

The second difference is that you do not have to make a substantial down payment. Expats are generally pleasantly surprised when they hear that they can borrow up to 101% of the market value of their home. If you are eligible for the 30% ruling, you can even take out a higher loan.

Buying a house: the requirements

In order to buy a home in the Netherlands you must meet the following requirements:

  • You must have been living in the Netherlands for 6 months and

  • You must have a permanent contract or a letter of intent, or provide income documents for the last three years.

How to pay the Dutch way

Money will get you anywhere. But things are not the same everywhere. How do the Dutch deal with money?

A Dutch bank account

A Dutch bank account makes living in the Netherlands a lot easier. You will need a Dutch bank account to pay your rent and the gas and electricity bills. Salaries are usually paid into a Dutch bank account, and some stores don't accept foreign debit cards.

Automatic direct debits

Most Dutch pay their recurring costs, such as the rent, mortgage or energy bills, by direct debit. The advantage of automatic direct debits is that you don't have to worry about missing payments. And you can always ask the bank to reverse an incorrect debit.

The debit card rules

You can use your debit card to pay for almost everything. In the Netherlands, we even have a verb for debit card payment: we 'pin'. Note: Some stores and cash machines do not accept foreign debit and credit cards. That's why it's a good idea to have a Dutch debit card.

iDEAL

When you shop on Dutch websites you will often see the option to pay with iDEAL. iDEAL will take you straight from the web store to your bank's secure internet banking environment. Most of the information will have already been filled in for you, which makes the payment process really easy. Almost all of the Dutch banks are connected to this payment system.

Credit card

Even if the debit card is the main means of payment, a lot of Dutch also have a credit card. A credit card is handy for larger expenses and online purchases. Or to book a trip or a hotel. It also has the benefit that online purchases are insured under specific conditions against theft, loss and damage, and that the full amount is debited from your account once a month.

Banking through your computer ...

Who doesn't like convenience? Most Dutch do their banking online and every bank offers it. No additional costs are charged for the service and you can do almost all your banking, including transfers and payments outside the Netherlands. No transaction fee is charged for payments and transfers inside the eurozone.

... and phone

If you have a smartphone, you can do your banking on the move. Both internet banking and the app enable you to check your bank balance whenever and wherever you need to. ABN AMRO's Mobile Banking app is also available in English, Spanish and German. Very handy! The Dutch have almost entirely transitioned to mobile banking. More than 76% of the Dutch use their bank's app.

Do your banking when it's convenient for you

Almost all of the banks give you the option to apply for a current account online. ABN AMRO is one of them. It takes about two weeks to process an online application. As soon as you have a current account, you can apply for Internet Banking and open a savings account.

What are you waiting for?

The Dutch love their insurances: the must-haves

The Dutch have insurance for virtually everything. On average, each person has 5 damage insurances. One of the main reasons is that insurance is relatively cheap in the Netherlands and you get a lot out of it. Some insurances are even compulsory. These are the must-have insurances:

Liability Insurance

Covers you for accidental damage to someone else's property. The cleaning costs that you may have to pay after spilling coffee on someone are probably not worth mentioning, but accidently injuring someone or scratching someone's car with your bicycle in a narrow street can be expensive. The premium depends on your personal situation, but in general, a liability insurance will cost you about €3 a month.

Home Contents Insurance

Another must-have, even if you're renting a furnished apartment. A glass of wine is easily spilt over your laptop. And if you drop your smartphone or it ends up in the washing machine? The premium depends on your personal situation, but in general, a home contents insurance around €10 a month. 

Car Insurance

Whether you bring your car with you or buy one here, you must take out at least the compulsory third-party insurance. If you cause an accident and are not insured, you could find yourself in a very stressful and costly situation. The monthly premiums differ too much between type of car and age to state an average premium, but they are generally negligible compared to cost of repairing the damage.

Other practical insurances

There are more insurances that can make your stay in the Netherlands easier. Such as travel insurance, which is particularly attractive for globetrotters. Read more about the Netherlands and insurance.

Personal support for expats: International Client Desks

ABN AMRO has special staff with years of experience helping expats in the Netherlands. They work out of five specialized branches: the International Client Desks. The advisers can help you with everything you will run into as an expat. And with your banking and insurances. They will also help you find a home and take out a mortgage.

All of the expat advisers are fluent in English. And because they have years of experience and different backgrounds, they know what it's like to be an expat. There's a reason why we're the market leader in bank services for expats and more than 3,000 customers have come to us for mortgage advice.   

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