Business and Mobility into the Netherlands

The Expat Management Group is a corporate group of legal en relocation experts with offices in Amsterdam and Brussels. Pauline Son, Director Operations and Sales of the relocation department, is sharing some insights in the Dutch local business and mobility situation today.

The homepage of the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency gives some convincing arguments for international corporations to invest in the Netherlands:
  • You can't beat our location. We're no island. We're on the continent, close to Europe's 500 million consumers, not to mention your business customers.
  • Our infrastructure is first class. Our world-class airport, top-ranked seaports and high-speed road, rail and broadband networks are second to none.
  • We are fluent in English. Some 90% of Dutch speak English — the language of business worldwide — and many people are multilingual.
  • We have an awesome business climate. Just ask BASF, Bloomberg, Cisco, Danone, Embraer, Fujifilm, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Kikkoman, MarketAxess, SABIC, Tata Consultancy Services and hundreds of other multinationals thriving in Holland.
  • We roll out the orange carpet. The Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency offers all assistance for corporates for starting up their branche. Expat Management Group gladly supports you with all immigration and relocation assistance you might be looking for.
In this article, we describe some developments in 2020 relevant for internationals in Dutch economy and society, the year that Covid-19 has effected us all. To explain where Dutch society stands today, I would like to use the “2020 Study Investment Climate”  by the American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) which gives an interesting description of the phases Protection, Recovery and Retooling in response to the corona infection in the Netherlands.EMG-in-text-banner1The first phase, ‘Protect’, entails the measures taken in the first few critical weeks – to protect citizens from mass unemployment, to identify which crucial sectors need to be kept functioning and to support businesses as to prevent structural, irreversible damage to the economy.The second phase is geared towards ‘Recovering’ and restarting the economy. Questions that need to be asked here are on the one hand about the trade-offs and conditions of the gradual re-opening of the economy, and on the other, the degree of support for individuals and businesses suffering from remaining (partially) closed. Clear communication of the considerations underlyingdecisions on re-opening and supporting sectors is crucial, as is a clear phased return plan to help businesses prepare and adjust, to the extent possible.The third phase is ‘Retooling’, which refers to preparing businesses and individuals to thrive in the ‘new normal’. This is explicitly not a ‘return’ to before. Rather, it is firstly a recognition that the situation has changed, and secondly a proactive approach to reviewing and adjusting resources and priorities so that the economy will thrive, not just survive, in the new normal.
(Source: Visual and data: Bain & Company)It looks like we are somewhere in between recover and retool.The importance of foreign companies in the Netherlands cannot be understated. Either directly or indirectly, foreign companies are responsible for an estimated 1.5 million jobs. Yearly foreign companies spend €2.6B on R&D, amounting to 30% of all private R&D spending in the country. In turn, the Netherlands has a lot to offer and remains a popular location for foreign companies. Almost 400 companies made a move to the Netherlands in 2019, expecting to spend €4.3B in investment and generate 14.000 jobs in the first three years after their move.(Source: Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency) Obviously, the country should not only be attractive for foreign companies to set up a branch but also for international employees, no matter if they work for a Dutch company or an originally foreign company. Already in the past, the Dutch government created several arrangements for international employees to make a move to the Netherlands easier or more attractive. Some of these are:

The 30% tax reimbursement ruling

The 30% reimbursement ruling (also known as the 30% facility), is a tax advantage for highly skilled migrants moving to the Netherlands for a specific employment role. When the necessary conditions are met, the employer can grant a tax-free allowance equivalent to 30% of the gross salary subject to Dutch payroll tax.

No integration course

To make it easier for international employees and their partners to move to the Netherlands, they will not have to go through the Dutch integration course.

No driving test.

Internationals and their partners who can prove that they obtained the 30% tax facility can easily exchange their foreign driver’s license for a Dutch one. They do not have to pass an exam, which otherwise will be requested.

Medical care

The medical care is considered of high level, with mandatory health insurance for all. Some cultures tend to be unpleasantly surprised about the waiting time to see a specialist, but once they have been there, they usually fully appreciate the treatment. The insurance covers most of the costs with a reasonable amount still to be paid by the individual.


For children’s education, internationals have several options. A possibility is to attend one of the international schools, which are available in several languages, however, limited to certain areas in the Netherlands. Some of these schools are private with relatively high school fees (up to around €20.000 per child per school year), some are subsidized by the Dutch government for much more attractive school fees. Please note that all international schools tend to be fully booked from April/May before the new school year starts in August. Alternatively, more and more international children go to local Dutch schools. This is partly due to the fact that more internationals stay in the country for an unlimited period as they are on a local employment contract. Advantages are no, or low school fees and children will be able to socialize with Dutch children in their own neighborhood. Usually, a one-year bridging class to learn the language is requested and offered at several schools. The reputation of Dutch education, especially of higher education, is very good.


Finding a rental home tends to become somewhat easier since corona has affected the country. We are still not fully up to speed with newly arriving internationals and as a result of this, more properties are available for rental and in some locations, rental prices can be negotiated more but not everywhere. In a recent report of the Dutch Association of Real Estate Agents (NVM) was published:Rent per square meter has risen in almost all major cities, except for Haarlem, Rotterdam, The Hague and Groningen, which all saw a decrease in price. The largest increase was noted in the second quarter of 2020 in Almere, where the price rose by 29.5 percent to €12.12. The largest decrease occurred in Rotterdam, where the price fell by 3.9 percent to €13.22. Incidentally, the average rent per square meter was €12.41 in the second quarter of this year.Buying a house might also be a good option, but to able to get a mortgage, usually, the international will rent a property for the first year. The interest in mortgages is extremely low, around 1,5% even.Since the beginning of March, limited internationals were able to arrive in the country. We see a significant change in this today and a lot of our clients have restarted facilitating the move of inbound employees. Referring to what AMCHAM described as the recovery and retooling of the economy, we see the government actively trying to present financial support to companies to pay the salaries of their employees in case the turnover seriously has decreased. The Dutch are expected to keep 1,5 meters distance, which probably will continue as a basic guideline for a long time. In business live, the expected new normal will be to continue with partly working from home. Luckily the NFIA confirmed that the broadband networks are great!Expat Management Group can fully assist with the relocation assistance needed to start up live in the Netherlands. Please check out our article in the Immigration section, for more details about Covid-19 immigration consequences and how to fullfil all legal immigration requirements. Our team at Expat Management Group is ready to serve you!

Get in touch with Expat Management Group.

Read more  in our dedication immigration section or visit our Coronavirus resource center

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