How to prepare for your move to the Netherlands
Whether you will be living solo or with family, have a job waiting or are winging it, there are lots of things you need to think of in advance of making your move to the low countries. To get you started, Amsterdam expat dentist Tandarts Jordaan has put the most important things in a tidy, little list for you; get these sorted and you’ll soon be able to start calling the Netherlands "home".
You’ll need somewhere to live, of course. If you are an expat moving for a new job here in the Netherlands, your employer can undoubtedly help you with temporary accommodation and the steps outlined here. Handy that.
If you’re arranging accommodation yourself, know that the Dutch are some of the best networkers in Europe. So, use what contacts you have and ask them if they know anyone who can help you out. Putting your networking skills to the test can be a great way to make new friends and also be the quickest way to get what you need. Last year, nearly a quarter of the Dutch found their new job via personal networking. It works.
Housing in the Netherlands can be pricey, especially in the major cities. The average rental property in Amsterdam is currently upwards of 1.500 euros per month. If you’re just after a room in a house-share then you’re still looking at 500 euros plus. What can be very useful in speeding up the process of settling down is if you have Dutch friends and can stay with them for a while.
Visiting the municipality
Not necessarily the most obvious place to start at, you would think. But as soon as you have arrived, make an appointment at your local area municipality office (gemeente or stadsdeelkantoor). Take all your relevant documentation with you, including proof of your new address and "sign in". Only once you have registered at your new abode, will you be able to access services and the wealth of information that the council officers can provide you with.
This is your social security number, allocated to you at the council when you first arrive. With this, you are able to legally work in the Netherlands (taken you have all the necessary visas too, of course). You also need it to pay taxes, use a hospital, and register for pretty much any essential service: e.g. bank, doctor, dentist, schools and health insurance.
Health Insurance (Zorgverzekering) is a must-have here. In fact, you're legally obliged to obtain cover. If you have a new contracted job, this is usually organised via your employer, so ask HR. If you´re a freelancer or your partner or children can´t be covered on the company plan, Zorgwijzer.nl is a good place to start your hunt for a suitable plan.
Subsidised health insurance is provided by the Dutch government for those on a low income or who are unemployed. If you have any doubts or questions, contact an expat service centre, for example, IN Amsterdam at the World Trade Center; they know all the ins and outs of this and the other initial hurdles you will need to get over as you start expat life here.
Once you have your registration, BSN and health insurance in order, finding primary care providers is pretty easy. Most areas in cities and large towns have neighbourhood health centres where a number of general doctors work together. Very often, you also have additional services, such as the chemist, family planning or health visitors, under the same roof.
Dental care, on the other hand, is more of a treasure hunt. Dental is not covered under the obligatory basic health insurance plan (Basispakket), so if you want full dental care, you need to ask your health insurer about a supplementary dental packet for your policy (Aanvullende verzekering).
The Dutch government maintains good oversight on dentistry, so you can focus on the quality of care, customer service and hygiene when looking for a dentist, because the prices are capped and the same across the country.
Then you still have to set up your home, compare and organise service providers, from your water and electricity to your Wi-fi. And find suitable schools for the kids, if you have them!
If it all feels a bit much, you could try a relocation service. They take all the facility stuff off your hands: hunting down the best deals and managing the paperwork. They can even help you find insurers or cleaners. All you have to do is sign up over the phone or online and they will keep you posted on the progress.
If you are looking for a dentist in Amsterdam, Tandarts Jordaan on the Westerstraat caters specifically to expats. Not only does Tandarts Jordaan offer highly trained dentists and excellent quality of care, but the team also provides all services in English, correspondence included!
Emergency appointments, advice and extended opening hours are all par for the course at this practice, helping expat families with busy urban schedules.