Expat skills wanted in the Netherlands?
October 21, 2007 10:06 AM   Subscribe

As a foreigner, I was wondering what skills or degrees are the key to getting hired to work in the Netherlands.

I have a somewhat of a jack-of-all-trades work background, and would like some direction of what to pursue that would make me attractive to Dutch employers. I am aware of having to learn the language, which I'm moving along well with.

I've discussed it with several people who are well versed in Dutch employment and realize how much of a challenge it will be, but I'm still determined. From what I've seen browsing employment sites for expatriates it seems IT is the way to go.

Going back to school isn't out of the question for me. Any ideas?
posted by AdamOddo to Work & Money (8 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Well ... I am living it and have been for some years. I am assuming that you will be moving to Amsterdam!

(I see youn are in florida ... do you have any idea how cold it gets here?)

Dutch languang is not necessary ... there are many expats who work without dutch as many workplaces are english speaking. Call centers are a common option as there are many multilingual callcenters in NL and skills, other than fluency in a foreign language, are not required. However the work sucks! Professionals with experience can generally find work in their field in the larger "engels gesproken" employers ... however you would generally need a degree or significant work experience first.

There are a number of specialist multilingual recruiters; put the following into google to find some of them: "dambusters" "undutchables"

TomTom is always looking for 1st level help desk analysts ... an interest in computers is all that is required.

Interview NSS is also often looking for callcenter people

I assume that you have an EU Passport or a visa sorted out ... if not you may have problems! If you are not EU you will need to do the "inburgeringcursus" or "how dutch are you" test after your working holiday permit expires.

You may well want to look at the website www.expatica.com
posted by jannw at 10:30 AM on October 21, 2007 [3 favorites]

If you've got any kind of IT affinity at all, you can easily get a job in one of the many multilingual helpdesk/support centers. Speaking any european language will help, as these are usually providing support for the rest of Europe, and the environment can be quite fun, if working with people from all over Europe is something that you'd find attractive. These are low pay jobs, but they will pay your bills. As there's a high turnover rate, they're always looking for people. Employers in the Amsterdam area are, for example, TomTom, Unisys, HP, Hecc, Sykes, and others. Put your resume on monsterboard.nl, the agencies will call you.

Now, if you're looking for a good job, that's a different story.
posted by dhoe at 10:31 AM on October 21, 2007

Check out Undutchables.
posted by Brian James at 10:36 AM on October 21, 2007 [1 favorite]

"...well versed in Dutch employment and realize how much of a challenge it will be..."

Keep in mind there also will be cultural challenges; I'm an American who has lived in London for a little over ten years, and have worked (twice now!) for The Big Dutch Bank. In fact I'm currently employed by them, but prolly moving on due to recent M&A activity. My present position has me dividing time between London and Amsterdam.

Anyhow, have you ever worked with Dutch people, particularly in an all Dutch environment? The decision making process is rather different from how Americans act. Also you're going to find some things that Americans might consider relatively unimportant matter. At times a lot.

I'd suggest before you pull up stakes and emigrate to The Netherlands you take an extended holiday there (if you haven't already). This will give you a chance to sample the curious weather, as well to network locally. Done right, you'll get a better view of Dutch culture and gain some insight into what you might encounter living and working in The Netherlands full time.

My wife is Dutch, we keep a second flat in Amsterdam (our main home is in London), and in spite of spending perhaps a year living there over the past decade I'm continually discovering little - and significant - differences between Americans and our very close cousins.

A totally wonderful culture, but I have encountered Americans living and working there that couldn't wait to leave.

Finally, before you do start working there you should look closely at the take situation. Foreigners can get what's called a a 30% ruling; basically capping taxes on your in country earnings at that level. There also is what's called a wealth tax on global assets. I believe this is 1.2% and much be paid in advance but it's best to verify all these details with a professional.

Sidenote: I avoid these issues as I'm careful to spend less than 182 days a year in The Netherlands - that's why I don't know all the ins and outs of local taxation.
posted by Mutant at 12:33 PM on October 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


"...look closely at the tax situation."
posted by Mutant at 12:45 PM on October 21, 2007

I knew some scandinavians working for the support desk of a major dutch bank. They were a fun loving crowd to be sure.
So; yes the work probably isn't great. But socially you can have a lot of fun with an international young crowd.
posted by jouke at 1:27 PM on October 21, 2007

btw how did your learning dutch work out?
posted by jouke at 1:27 PM on October 21, 2007

Best answer: Another option: I know an American who started a business in the Netherlands and he said there was a special work visa for this purpose. Can you take your jack-of-all-trades experiences and form that into a viable business?
posted by kamelhoecker at 8:27 PM on October 21, 2007 [1 favorite]

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