Netherlands: New survey of expat housing and schooling

A recent study in the Netherlands found expats receive no financial aid with housing or schooling. Additionally, popular relocation areas such as Amsterdam are becoming increasingly expensive to live.

Housing in Amsterdam
Preliminary research by the International Community Advisory Panel (ICAP), has indicated that 63 per cent of people considered to be expats get no financial help from their employer in paying school fees and 77 per cent of new arrivals get no help with paying for housing.Despite the feelings of a lack of support over half of the 700 people who took part in the surveys have no plans to leave the Netherlands within the next five years at least.The Netherlands is a key Brexit-path location, with a number of organisations, particularly those in the financial sector, considering it as an alternative location for a European base when the UK leaves the EU.

Redefining expats in the Netherlands

Robin Pascoe, chairwoman for ICAP, said, “We need to redefine what we mean by expat because most international workers these days do not get generous housing and school deal packages from their employers.”“In addition, most internationals in the Netherlands to work came here by choice and live here for much longer than a couple of years. Not only can they not afford the fees for international schools and expensive ‘expat’ housing, but they want their children to integrate into the Dutch community.”

Choosing an international schools or a Dutch school

Dutch government policy currently focuses on investing (nearly €11m) on creating additional international school places in Amsterdam and The Hague.“While the decision-makers at international companies will benefit from this new money, we believe there are enormous gains to be made if the government invested properly in helping the children of new arrivals integrate into the Dutch school system,” said Deborah Valentine, director of ACCESS, a not-for-profit organisation supporting the Netherlands international community, and a member of the ICAP board. Around half the parents in the ICAP survey send their children to Dutch schools and seven in 10 parents are happy or very happy with the quality of their children’s education.

Increasing price of housing in the Netherlands

Housing is another area of concern for expats. While they are often blamed for forcing up rents, particularly in Amsterdam, ICAP research shows 79 per cent of expats say they cannot afford to pay more than €1,500 a month in rent. In addition, four in 10 want to buy a place to live because it will be cheaper than renting.“New arrivals have no network, they don’t understand the Dutch system and they often have no choice but to pay rents that Dutch people would consider absurd because they need a place to live,” said Ms Pascoe. “It is easy to blame expats for the shortage of affordable housing but we should remember it is landlords not tenants who determine what the rent should be.”The ICAP is an independent foundation, founded in 2016 to build a bridge between the Netherlands’ international community and government and civic organisations.ICAP’s next survey will be look at healthcare and will be carried out in the autumn.For more on the ICAP research, please contact Robin Pascoe on 0645241999 or email For related news and features, visit our International Assignments section.Relocate’s new Global Mobility Toolkit provides free information, practical advice and support for HR, global mobility managers and global teams operating overseas.Global Mobility Toolkit download factsheets resource centreAccess hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online DirectoryClick to get to the Relocate Global Online Directory  

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