Moving to the Netherlands

The Netherlands is a modern state long at the forefront of global trends in government, banking and commerce, and expats will have the pleasure of integrating into a society at ease with 21st-century living.

The famously flat country of clogs, tulips and windmills is highly regarded for its tolerance and liberal ideals – and its laidback local residents aren't easily offended. A secular state that respects diversity, the Netherlands has long been a popular expat destination, with its cosmopolitan population reflecting this.

It's not for nothing that one of the country's most famous stories involves a small boy bravely saving his town by plugging a leaking sea wall. Its famed dykes, like the waterways that criss-cross the country, are a dominant feature of Dutch life. Most of the population lives on land below sea level that's been reclaimed from the ocean.

The Netherlands is a country of middle-sized towns where even the capital, Amsterdam, has less than a million inhabitants in the city itself. That said, the Randstad – which contains Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht – is populated by over 8 million people.

The country has an extensive transport system and one of the best healthcare systems in the world. Added to this, the Netherlands is home to excellent schools and expats will have access to both local and international institutions.

With its cities often ranked amongst the most liveable in the world, expats moving to the Netherlands will enjoy an excellent quality of life and should not take long to integrate into society once they’ve mastered the Dutch language.

Fast facts

Population: 17 million

Capital city: Amsterdam

Neighbouring countries: The country is bound by Belgium to the south, Germany to the east and the North Sea to the northwest.

Geography: Situated on Western Europe's northern coast, the Netherlands consists of very flat terrain. Much of its land has been reclaimed from the sea and sits below sea level. 

Political system: Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy

Major religions: Mostly secular with a Catholic, Christian and Muslim minority

Main languages: Dutch is the official language. English, French and German are also widely spoken and understood. 

Money: The Euro (EUR), divided into 100 cents. There are ATMs everywhere, and expats can easily open bank accounts.

Tipping: Service charges are often included in the restaurant bill. If they aren't, tipping 10 percent for good service is perfectly acceptable.

Time: GMT+1 (GMT +2 from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October).

Electricity: 230V, 50Hz. Two-pin European-style plugs are used.

Internet domain: .nl

International dialling code: +31

Emergency contacts: 112

Transport and driving: Cars in the Netherlands drive on the right-hand side of the road. The country has an extensive transport system and it's unlikely expats will need a car.

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