Salary, minimum wage and payslips in the Netherlands

When you start a new job in the Netherlands it's always a challange to understand how your salary is calculated, how much tax you are paying and how to read your payslip. You may also wonder if you are receiving a fair wage.

Here is some general information to help you understand how salaries are taxed, what salary you can expect (depending on your experience and industry) and what the minimum wage is in the Netherlands.

Gross salary and net income in the Netherlands

One of the most important things to understand about your Dutch salary is the difference between your gross and net salary.

Gross salary

Your gross salary (bruto salaris) is the total amount of your salary before tax and other costs are deducted.

Net income

Your net income (netto salaris) is your salary after income tax, social security payments and pension contributions have been deducted.

Net salary

The net salary is the amount that is deposited in your bank account each month.

When discussing your salary, your employer will almost always refer to the gross monthly amount. Be sure to check the net amount as there is a quite a difference between the two values.

Calculating your net Dutch salary

For example, if your salary is 2.500 euros gross per month, (32.400 euros a year including 8% holiday allowance), then after taxes and social security contributions you will take home around 1.880 euros net per month.

Use the salary calculator to get an indication of your net monthly income. (Note: you will need to first calculate your annual income.)

Bonuses, holiday pay and remuneration packages

In addition to your standard monthly salary, in the month of May you will receive a holiday allowance equivalent to 8% of annual earnings (roughly one month’s salary). This is to cover your summer holiday expenses.

Some employers also offer performance-based bonuses which may be paid out on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis. Other benefits can include a company car, phone or the coverage of your monthly travel costs.

Highly skilled migrants recruited from abroad often enjoy even more attractive remuneration packages, with the coverage of relocation, initial accommodation / short stay and (sometimes) the fees for international schools for their children.

Your monthly salary, holiday allowance and any bonuses or benefits all add up to equal your total annual income.

Understand your Dutch payslip

In the Netherlands employees receive a payslip (loonstrook) from their employer each time they are paid. The payment breakdown on Dutch payslips can be hard to interpret. Here is an overview of the main terms used:

Payslip top section: personal details

Periode - The relevant time period (week or month)
Personeelsnummer - employee number
Salaris / uurloon - gross salary (pre-tax)
Bijz. tarief / heffingskorting (ja) - tax rate (percentage) / general tax credit (yes)
Verzekerd voor WW, WiA, ZW, Zvw - social security you are covered for / contribute to
Datum in dienst - date you entered employment
Burgerservicenummer (BSN) - your Dutch social security number
Functieomschrijving - job description

Payslip middle section: salary breakdown

Omschrijving - description
(Normale) gewerkt uren - (normal) hours worked
Salaris - gross salary based on hours worked
Brutoloon - gross salary before tax and other deductions
Loonheffing - the amount deduced as prepaid tax and as social security contributions
Sociale verzekeringen (SV) - social security contributions
Reiskostenvergoeding - refunds such as transport costs
Nettoloon - net salary after tax, deductions and refunds. This amount appears at the bottom of your payslip and is the final amount that is deposited into your bank account

Payslip bottom section: holiday hours

(Opgebouwd) vakantiegeld - (accumulated) holiday leave (in hours)

Social premiums on your payslip

Your payslip may also state which social security premiums (sociale verzekeringen) you contribute to (and are covered by).

Salary, minimum wage and payslips in the Netherlands

Social security premiums can include:
AOW (Algemene Ouderdomswet) / OP-premie - pension contribution
AP-premie - disability pension
ANW (Algemene nabestaandenwet) - widow benefit contribution
AWBZ - special health care needs contribution
WAO (Wet op de arbeidsongeschiktheidsverzekering) / WIA (Wet werk en inkomen naar arbeidsvermogen) - benefits for inability to work due to sickness
WW (Werkloosheidswet) - unemployment benefit
ZW or Zvw (Zorgverzekeringswet) - paid sick leave

Average income in the Netherlands

According to the 2017 Macro Economic Outlook (Macro Economische Verkenning) by the Centraal Planbureau (CPB), in 2016 the median gross income for a working person in the Netherlands was 36.500 euros annually, or 2.816 euros gross per month.

A salary can vary greatly from the median income as it is influenced by age, sector, professional experience and hours worked. We explore some of these factors in the tables below.

Average salary in the Netherlands by age

Age groupAnnual income (gross)
15 - 25 years11.900 euros
25 - 35 years30.600 euros
35 - 45 years38.400 euros
45 - 55 years40.200 euros

Source: CBS, year: 2013

Salary indicator for new careers

Below is an overview of entry-level salaries in the Netherlands. These amounts are based on the average starting salaries of Dutch high school and university graduates one and half years after they completed their studies.

Starting salaries by industry

SectorMonthly salary (gross)
Visual arts1.300 euros
Art history / archeology1.800 euros
Physiotherapy2.000 euros
International business / languages2.050 euros
Retail management / small business2.150 euros
Industrial design2.200 euros
Accountancy2.300 euros
Management / economics / law2.300 euros
Artificial intelligence2.400 euros
Business / business economics2.500 euros
IT2.700 euros
Fiscal economics3.000 euros
Medicine3.200 euros
Dentistry4.000 euros

Source: Gemideld Inkomen

Salary indicator for advanced careers

If you are more advanced in your career, or you were recruited from abroad, most likely your salary is already higher.

To get a specific indication for your salary in the Netherlands make use of the Salariskompas (in Dutch). Besides providing a tailored salary guide, this site can also indicate the benefits, number of holidays and working hours (including overtime) that apply to your specific field and sector.

Minimum wage in the Netherlands

The legal minimum wage (minimumloon) in the Netherlands is based on age and is revised every six months in line with inflation. The minimum wage is based on a full-time employee working between 36-40 hours a week.

Minimum wage in euros from January 1, 2017 (gross)

AgePer dayPer weekPer month
20 years44,04220,20954,25
21 years51,92259,601.124,90
22 years60,87304,351.318,85
23 & older71,61358,051.551,60

Minimum wage by hour per week in euros from January 1, 2017 (gross)

Age36 hours38 hours40 hours
20 years6,125,805,51
21 years7,226,846,49
22 years8,468,017,61
23 & older9,959,438,96
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