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Moving to Amsterdam

If you want to move to Amsterdam, you should prepare for a lot of searching. There is a limited amount of space in this city, which makes looking for a home a big challenge. Finding a job is also not easy, especially if you are not speaking the local language fluently.

One of the most important things to know before moving to Amsterdam is the fact that the city is quite small. On the one hand, each corner of the city is easily accessible, but on the other hand, flats are limited and expensive there.

When it comes to the relocation process in Amsterdam, it is not very complicated. People from Canada, Australia, US, and EU do not require a visa to immigrate to the Netherlands. However, work and residence permits are often required, and if you want to stay there, you must register at the local council.

Relocating to Amsterdam

Amsterdam has a lot to offer when it comes to both work and entertainment. It is an international city, so you can communicate in English in most places. Amsterdam is a modern place with a rich history. It is also well adapted to cyclists because the bicycle is the most popular mode of transport there.

Even if it is buzzing with life, it is still a very green city, with many parks and nature areas around. The capital of the Netherlands also offers many educational possibilities, including many international schools.

Pros and Cons of Moving to Amsterdam

Job Opportunities

Many big international companies have their headquarters in Amsterdam and they are hiring employees from different countries. They often require the knowledge of a few languages; however, English is the most popular business language.

Rich Culture

Amsterdam offers many concerts and art exhibitions of different kinds, there are also multiple museums and historical places. You can also find numerous cafes and restaurants around as well as enjoy an exciting nightlife with interesting bars and nightclubs.

City in the Heart of Europe

The capitals of the Netherlands location allows people to travel easily throughout Europe. Numerous train and bus connections can take you fast to Brussels, Paris, or Hamburg. Amsterdam has also the third-largest airport in Europe, which makes it easy to reach many destinations in the world.

Problems with accommodation

A large amount of the city’s housing market consists of social housing, which is usually unavailable to immigrants. This makes it even more difficult to find a place in this city with an already limited number of accommodations. Moreover, it is hard to find a furnished flat in Amsterdam and those that are available are often very expensive and disappear quickly.


Amsterdam can be quite expensive. Even if groceries, transportation, and daily costs of living are quite moderate, the housing prices are very high. The rental may constitute a large part of your payment.

Things you should know before removal to Amsterdam

  • Everyone living in Amsterdam needs to pay annual municipal taxes.
  • Almost all the parking spaces in Amsterdam are payable.
  • Shops are usually open from 9 AM to 6 PM on Monday­–Saturday and from 12 PM to 5 PM on Sundays, some supermarkets are operating until 8 – 10 PM. Banks and post offices are only open on workdays from 9 AM to 5 PM.
  • Remember that the service charges, for example in restaurants are a part of your bill, so you do not need to leave a tip, however, it is still usual to leave a 5–10% tip extra.

Is it hard to move to Amsterdam?

The biggest problem in moving to Amsterdam is finding a job and accommodation. If you have both, there shouldn’t be any additional problems with the relocation to the capital of the Netherlands. Of course, bureaucracy can be complicated sometimes, but if you are employed and have a rental contract, it will not be so difficult.

Removal to Amsterdam with a pet.

The general requirements for bringing a pet are the same in the whole country. To enter the Netherlands a pet needs:

  • to be not less than 15 weeks old;
  • to have a microchip;
  • to be vaccinated against rabies.
  • to have a pet passport and proper documentation

If you have a dog, you must register him at the local town hall within two weeks. Since 2016, there is no dog tax in Amsterdam.

Other animals need a pet’s health certificate, signed by a veterinarian.

Visas and work permits in Amsterdam


Citizens of the EU, EEA, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland are excluded from obtaining an entry visa and are free to travel to the Netherlands whenever they wish. However, citizens of other countries still need to apply for a visa before travelling to the Schengen area.

Remember: even if you don’t need a visa to enter the country, you will still need to register with the local council.

These, who want to stay more than 90 days in the Netherlands and come from countries outside the EU or EEA need a provisional residence permit (MVV). Only citizens from Australia, Canada, USA, Japan, South Korea, and New Zealand do not need the MVV but they should apply for residence within three months upon arrival to the country.

Residence Permits

Immigrants who do not need a visa but still need a residence permit can go to the Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND). The ones who need a visa should obtain a residence permit before entering the country by submitting documents to a local embassy or consul. The costs of the application depend on the type of future work. It’s usually ca. 300 EUR. After submitting, the application and making the payment you will receive the residence permit within 90 days.

Remember that all your documents should be legalized and translated into English, Dutch, French, or German.

If you apply for a permanent residence permit, you will probably need to take the Dutch Civic Integration Exam. You should therefore learn about Dutch history and culture and know some fundamental language skills. However, this doesn’t apply to people who only want a temporary permit.

Work Permits

Whether you will need a work permit to work in the Netherlands depends on the reason why you are moving there. Some people only need one permission (GVVA) to live and work in the Netherlands. Others will also need to apply additionally for a work permit (TWV).

You do not need a work permit if you came to the Netherlands as a highly-skilled worker or from EU/EEA countries or Switzerland.

If you get a job offer earlier, people hiring you can request a work permit from the government.

Requirements and Documents

Everyone who moves to the Netherlands needs to register at the local council.

You should schedule an appointment at the nearby City Office within five after arrival to the country. If you don’t do that you will pay a fine. People under the age of 16 cannot register on their own.

These documents are required for registration in Amsterdam:

  • passport/ID card
  • birth certificate
  • rental contract or house purchase proof
  • marriage or divorce certificate

Additional documents (such as employment contract) may be also required, depending on your nationality.

You need to deregister as well, one month before leaving the Netherlands.


After registering at the local council, you will get a citizen service number (BSN). You need this number to work, open a bank account, obtain health insurance, or even to visit a doctor.

Living and working in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a unique and diverse place with small-town vibes. There are many green areas, cafes, wonderful parks, and different markets and shopping spots.

The main disadvantage of this city is the lack of space and available accommodations. However, due to the fact that the city is not so vast, it is easy to travel there.

Amsterdam is the headquarters of many international companies; the job market is offering excellent opportunities there. However, getting a job there is not so easy and takes some effort. The main problem for many is the language barrier. Even if English is the business language, many companies require also Dutch and, in some cases German from their employees.

But, once you get a job in Amsterdam, you will enjoy working there. The main advantage is the work-life balance. The Dutch take their work seriously but avoid overtime working and are flexible in terms of working hours. That, combined with tax allowances, makes working in Amsterdam very encouraging to many foreigners.