Moving to Netherlands

The Netherlands, also known as Holland lies in Western Europe, bordering the North Sea and in between the countries of Belgium and Germany. Geographically, it is located at mouths of three major European rivers namely, the Rhine, Maas or Meuse, and Schelde. It has a coastline that is 451 kilometers long. The climate here is essentially varying between temperate and marine, with cool summers and mild winters. The terrain consists mostly of coastal lowlands and reclaimed land called ‘polders’ along with a few hills in southeast of Netherlands.

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General Information

The Netherlands gained their Independence on 23 January 1579 when the then Union of Utrecht broke off from Spain, though it was not until 1648 that Spain agreed to recognize their independence. The Kingdom of the Netherlands was formed in the year 1815 and thereafter, in the year 1830 Belgium seceded and became a separate kingdom. The Government type hence is a constitutional monarchy. The Netherlands lies in the Central European Time Zone or CET which is 1 hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time or GMT+1. The population here is close to 16.5 million. The official language is Dutch and currency Euro. Although the European Monetary Union introduced the euro as a common currency to be used by financial institutions of member countries on 1 January 1999, it was only after 3 years that the euro became the sole currency for everyday transactions within the Netherlands, as was with the other member countries. The Netherlands boasts of a prosperous and open economy, but it relies heavily on foreign trade. The economy is known for its stable industrial relations, moderate levels of unemployment and inflation, a sizable surplus of current accounts, and a vital role as a European hub of transportation. Industrial activity is predominantly restricted to food processing, electrical machinery, chemicals and petroleum refining.

Public Holidays

Netherlands has 10 Public Holidays yearly which are the following (dates may vary):

  • January 1 New Year’s Day
  • April 16 Easter
  • April 17 Easter Monday
  • April 30 Queen’s Birthday
  • May 5 Liberation Day
  • May 25 Ascension
  • June 4 Pentecote
  • June 5 2nd Pentecote Day
  • December 25 Christmas Day
  • December 26 Second Christmas Day

The capital is Amsterdam, while The Hague is the seat of government. The civil legal system essentially incorporates the French penal theory and the constitution does not permit judicial review of acts committed by the States General; it does accept the compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, although with reservations. For administrative purposes, there are 12 provinces into which this country has been divided; these are: Drenthe, Flevoland, Friesland (Fryslan), Gelderland, Groningen, Limburg, Noord-Brabant, Noord-Holland, Overijssel, Utrecht, Zeeland, Zuid-Holland. There are a few dependant areas like Aruba and Netherlands Antilles.


Amsterdamis the capital city of The Netherlands, although not the seat of Government and is one of Europe’s great destinations, equally popular with tourists and those looking for business opportunity. There is a concentric network of canals and waterways that cover the city and have more than 1000 bridges. The canal tour hence is a popular way of getting a true glimpse of the city in its entire splendor. The oldest part of the city is caled Nieuwmarkt which is located near the first canals namely Herengracht, Keizersgracht and Prinsengracht; and was built to protect the city from invasion. The city is also famed to be a center for diamond cutting for a long time and one can still see diamond cutters at work. Amsterdam boasts of 53 museums, 61 art galleries, 12 concert halls and 20 theaters and a special canal boat called the ‘museum boat’ links 20 of the city’s major museums. Important among these is the Rijksmuseum, a humungous art gallery that is home to the works of many of the country’s artistic luminaries like the Dutch master Rembrandt and Van Gogh, as well as numerous European masters. Another in this league is Anne Frank’s House, Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art, and the Heineken Brewery which is the Dutch national brewery.

It is a good time to consider relocating to the Netherlands, since today it is proving to be an important part of the European Union in terms of the economic and social progress it has made. It has done away with its laid back and ancient image and replaced this with its string of well developed cities, including the exciting and cosmopolitan capital city of Amsterdam which is one of Europe’s greatest cities. So also, other cities like Arnhem, Eindhoven, The Hague, Utrecht and Rotterdam all bring with it their own charms apart from being The Netherlands’ bigger historical cities. At the same time, away from the cities, the archaic land of windmills and tulips still do exist in the scenic beauty of the countryside, along with a number of coastal towns and resorts, many with pristine beaches and interesting culture and heritage.


Before moving to the Netherlands, it is necessary to procure the appropriate type of visa in order to gain legal entry into the country. A visa is issued only on the successful validation of certain conditions. These conditions can either be general, or conditions that are more specific and apply to your stay as a self-employed person in the Netherlands. Important general conditions are that you must in any event possess a valid passport, not have a criminal record, have health insurance and have sufficient means of financial support. Further to these, each category of visas have additional conditions that need to be met before the visa can be granted and you can get on with relocating to Netherlands.

The various categories of visas and corresponding specific conditions are listed below:

  • Business Visa and Work Permit: Those of you, who desire to work in The Netherlandsas a self-employed person, need to satisfy the following specific conditions, apart from the general conditions. These are that you should be aged below 60 and have the required qualification to practice your profession.A work permit is also generally necessary along with this. Information about permits can be obtained from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. For those who wish to run a business in the hotel and hospitality industry, you can contact the local council in the area where you intend to establish your business. It has to be kept in mind that what ever be the business venture, it must comply with the Dutch economic interest and must make a positive contribution to the Dutch economy.
  • Working or Employment Visa: For those of you who want to work in the Netherlands, apart from the general conditions, You must have a temporary residence permit also called MVV (not required for citizens of certain countries like those belonging to the European Union among others), proof of job with an employer in the Netherlands in the form of a letter of appointment and also a work permit that your employer must procure from the Centre for Work and Income.
  • Long Term Visa: A stay in the Netherlands for more than three months, calls for the procurement of a valid long term visa also called a Temporary Residence Permit also called the MVV on entry. This is a special visa which can be used to apply for a residence permit later. The MVV should be applied for in person at the Dutch embassy or consulate in your country of origin or else, the country where you have your permanent address or residence. The purpose of your stay in the Netherlands decides the exact outcome of the procedure. Certain countries like Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland, or the United States are exempted from this procedure.
  • Short Term Visa: Depending on the home country, foreigners who intend to come to the Netherlands for a short stay of a maximum of three months will require a short term visa. As with the long term visa, countries like Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland, or the United States are exempted from this procedure. A short term visa can be demanded in instances of visiting the Netherlands like holidays or other tourism related activities, business tours or conferences, visiting family and friends, participating in sporting events, etc. A valid application for a visa for short-term residence of a maximum of three months requires that your passport or travel document must be well within date. In addition to this, you need to take care not to prove to be a threat to national security or international relations of the countries and also must have sufficient financial resources to rely on.
  • Family Reunion Visa: This type of visa also requires a valid Temporary Residence Permit (MVV) on entry of the stay will be for longer than 3 months.
  • Visa for EU Citizens: Being a citizen of any of the countries of the European Union, entails that you are not required to apply for a residence permit in the Netherlands, however, having proof of legal residence in your home country can prove to be useful, for instance while opening a bank account. Apart from this, all other documentation and criteria remain the same as that would apply to a citizen of any other country in the world.
  • Student Visa: Studying in the Netherlands brings with it a different set of rules for students from the EU. However, criteria like having a provisional enrollment at an educational institution, signing of a written declaration of temporary residence and a sufficient and continuous means of monetary support are common to all students.
  • Relationship Visa: While moving to Netherlands, for such a visa to be granted, it is necessary for the individuals seeking this type of a visa to have a continuous and exclusive relationship and as soon as you have arrived in the Netherlands, you must live together at the same address, in one household. Both must both be single and above the age of 18. You must have an official, legalized, document stating you are not married and a relationship declaration as well as a guarantee declaration needs to be signed.
  • American Entrepreneurs Visa: Special Visa Opportunities exist for Americans who wish to set up a business venture in the Netherlands.

Shipping to the Netherlands

While shipping to the Netherlands, it is important that the shipping documents state customer’s contact address and telephone number which are required for processing an import license. Some of the documents that are required are copies of your passport, work contract, certificate of residence, residence agreement and request for import permit, inventory of items being shipped etc. It is best to plan the move and decide on an agent to take help from early, since this will help you plan time lines and expenses beforehand. While choosing an agent it helps to locate one which has flexible options in terms of sea or air freight containers and can assist in the customs clearance process. Lift van packing, insurance protection, storage in a Customs Bonded and alarmed warehouse etc. are other important factors.
The import of used household goods and other personal effects are duty-free under various circumstances like, having lived in the Netherlands for at least the last 12 months or within the EU for at last the last six months; transfer of principal residence to this country, the goods have been used by the owner for at least one year before importing them; the goods shall not be sold for at last the next 1 year within the Netherlands etc. dutiable or restricted items are new household goods which are less than 6 months old, alcohol, tobacco and other food products, electrical appliances, antiques and works of art etc. All weapons and ammunition must accompany license and registration documents issued by the Police. Medicines without prescription, large amounts of precious metals and drugs and narcotics, explosives etc. are some of the prohibited items. Keeping these few aspects in mind can go a long way in ensuring that shipping to the Netherlands is smooth and hassle free.

You might want to read about:

Useful links:

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Tourism :
Customs :
Government :
National Library :
Education :
Shipping Inspectorate :
Climate :

Consider moving to another European country?

You’re welcome to read more on Gateways International Moving website about relocations to other major European countries such as: France, Germany, England, Spain, Switzerland, Italy, Ireland, Sweden, Norway, Portugal and many more..