March 2023: 9 things expats in the Netherlands need to know
February: blink and you’ll miss it! This means that, though it might be hard to believe, March has already arrived, bringing with it the start of tulip season - and tax season. Worry not, IamExpat is here to make sure you stay on top of things this month: here are nine things expats living and working in the Netherlands need to know about in March 2023.
1. The Netherlands to vote in provincial and water boards elections
You might be wondering how the Netherlands can be going to the polls again - it hasn’t even been a year since the last election. Unlike last year’s local elections and 2021’s national election, however, March 2023 will see people across the country go to the polls to vote for their representatives on the provincial councils and water boards.
While only Dutch citizens are eligible to vote in the provincial elections, the good news is that many expats will be able to vote in the water board elections. Polls are open from 7.30am to 9pm on Wednesday, March 15, and voting is open to everyone over the age of 18 with either Dutch or EU citizenship or a Dutch residence permit.
2. Workers at dozens of Dutch hospitals to strike
The collective labour agreement for hospital staff - which covers over 200.000 workers in the Netherlands - expired on January 31. Last month, trade unions announced that workers at over 50 Dutch hospitals would be striking in mid-March in an attempt to bargain for higher wages and better working conditions. Unions have since confirmed that, on March 16, departments at 64 hospitals will be operating so-called Sunday shifts on strike days: this means only emergency care will be available.
3. Tax season begins: File your Dutch tax return from March 1
It’s a time of year that many dread, but sadly tax season has arrived once again. As of March 1, everyone living in the Netherlands can submit their annual tax return (belastingaangifte) for 2022. You can fill it in yourself online (all you need is a DigiD) or you can consult a tax advisor for additional guidance. While extensions are possible, please note that the deadline set out by the Dutch tax office (Belastingdienst) is May 1, 2023.
4. ABN Amro and ING raising interest rates to 0,5 percent
In other finance-related news, March 1 also marks the day that two major Dutch banks, ING and ABN Amro, increase the interest rates on savings accounts from 0,25 to 0,5 percent. Rabobank made the same change on February 16.
5. Schools in Northern and Central regions to reopen after Spring break
Families in the Northern and Central regions of the Netherlands had better make the most of the final few days of school holidays this week, as Dutch schools in these parts of the country will reopen their doors on March 6.
6. Schiphol Airport cap on passenger numbers to come into effect
Looking forward a couple of weeks, March also marks the month when Schiphol Airport reinstates a cap on passenger numbers in order to limit disruption during the spring. From March 31 through to mid-May, the airport is reducing the number of departing travellers by 5 percent on each day.
7. More Dutch public transport strikes throughout March
The Netherlands has been plagued by various public transport strikes over the past several months, as regional workers battle for higher wages and better contracts and working conditions. At the end of February, trade unions announced that a new six-week strike period would be starting on February 28, with thousands of employees across the country due to strike on the following dates:
- Thursday, March 2
- Monday, March 6
- Wednesday, March 8
- Friday, March 10
- Tuesday, March 14
- Wednesday, March 15
- Monday, March 20
- Wednesday, March 22
- Friday, March 24
- Wednesday, March 29
- Thursday, March 30
Up to 13.000 workers employed by operators such as Arriva, Qbuzz, Connexxion and Keolis, could be taking part, but it’s not yet clear exactly how many and which public transport services will be affected. Click here for more information about the six-week strike period.
8. Daylight Savings to start on March 26, 2023
With spring right around the corner, be aware that March is also the month that Daylight Savings Time (DST) starts. This means that, on the night of Saturday, March 25, the clocks will be going forward by one hour. The good news? The evenings will be lighter for longer. The less good news? You’ll be losing one precious hour of sleep.
9. Keukenhof to open its doors on March 23
Continuing the theme of spring, as the weather warms up and the days get longer, March will see the return of one of the Netherlands’ most popular attractions, with Keukenhof opening its doors on March 23. While the Keukenhof gardens certainly offer the perfect chance to enjoy hundreds of tulips in all their glory, there are other places in the Netherlands where you can enjoy the fleeting yet beautiful tulip season.
Thumb: Nick N A via Shutterstock.com.
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