General information about looking for a job

General information about looking for a job


I am looking for work in the Netherlands


As a citizen of the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, you have it easy: You don’t need a residence permit or a work permit. So you can go ahead and look for a job in the Netherlands.

Are you a citizen of a non-EU country? Then you need a valid residence permit, which shows that you are allowed to work in the Netherlands.

If you do not have a residence permit, you should ask your Dutch employer to apply for a work permit for you. A work permit is a prerequisite for being allowed to work in the Netherlands.

The legislation in this area is complex. For more information, please contact the UWV or the Immigratie- en Naturalisatiedienst (Immigration and Naturalisation Service).

Do you have the right qualifications, an open attitude, speak Dutch or are you willing to learn the language? With a job search in the Netherlands, you broaden your search spectrum and thus your chances of finding a job. In addition, you increase your future prospects, as many companies value experience abroad. And finally, exposure to new tasks and different perspectives can be personally enriching.

Applying for a job in the Netherlands

Are you looking for a job? Then take a look at the Netherlands. The Grenzinfopunkts will be happy to help you with partners from our network.

What requirements do I have to meet?


The demand for trained staff is also high in the Netherlands, especially in technical professions, ICT and healthcare. However, please bear in mind that the qualifications required in the Netherlands may be different from those in Germany.

Before you start looking for a job, it is therefore important to ask yourself some questions:

-Are my professional skills and experience of interest to Dutch employers?

-Is the profession I want to work in regulated? Think of jobs in the health or education sectors, for example.

-Will my educational qualifications or diplomas be recognised in the Netherlands?

-Do I have additional qualifications or specialised knowledge that could be of particular interest to Dutch companies?

-What would be my added value as a German in a Dutch company?

-Am I willing to acquire additional qualifications?

-What about my Dutch language skills?

When working abroad, it is not only professional skills that play a role. Your so-called “soft skills†are also in demand. Especially in the Netherlands, employers place a lot of emphasis on social skills and the ability to work on a team.

Therefore, it is good to deal with the following questions before you start looking for a job:

-Am I prepared for the so-called “culture shock� Think about cultural differences such as a different management style or different manners.

-Have I ever lived or worked in another country? If so: How did I fare there? Can I draw on experience, e.g. when settling into a different working environment?

-Do I already have contacts in the Netherlands who could possibly support me?

-How does my family feel about this? Also think about, for example, longer travel times or a possible move to the Netherlands.

The better you deal with such questions beforehand, the smoother you will succeed in finding a job in the Netherlands and settling into a new working environment.


Diploma assessment


If you want to work in a state-regulated profession, such as teaching or nursing, your German degree must be officially recognised in the Netherlands.

There are three organisations in the Netherlands that assess and recognise educational qualifications and diplomas:

Internationale DiplomaWaardering [International Assessment of Educational Qualifications and Diplomas]

Samenwerkingsorganisatie Beroepsonderwijs Bedrijfsleven SBB [Organisation for Cooperation between Vocational Education and Training and Business] for vocational training courses

Nuffic [Netherlands Organisation for International Cooperation in Higher Education] for the higher education sector

On the Europass website, you can find explanations of certificates of German vocational education and training, including in English. These explanations can be used to inform Dutch employers about the contents and qualifications of your training.

The Europass website offers a similar service for university degrees.


Learn Dutch


For other professions, language skills play a more important role, e.g. if you have to maintain customer contacts or express yourself in writing. The demands on your Dutch language skills are then correspondingly higher. For highly qualified specialists in international companies, English may be sufficient.

In a private environment, knowledge of Dutch is also helpful, e.g. if you are invited to a colleague’s birthday party or want to order a roll at the bakery during your lunch break.

If you already speak Dutch, you can find out your level on the Dialang website. The tests cover writing, grammar, vocabulary, listening and reading.

If you want to learn Dutch or refresh your existing Dutch knowledge, there are several possibilities:

  • Especially in the German-Dutch border region, there are many adult education centres that offer Dutch courses.
  • Dutch courses are also offered in many Dutch municipalities.

In both cases, find out about the possibilities locally.

Other possibilities are offered by language schools in the Netherlands, such as:

You can also look for a professional language trainer for Dutch, learn Dutch at a language school in Germany or get a self-study language course with audio CDs.

Dutch courses can be subsidised by the Employment Agency or the Job Centre under certain conditions and according to the administrator.

Whichever method you choose, you will find that a few words of Dutch will open many doors!


Applying for a job in the Netherlands


The application procedure in the Netherlands is a little less formal than in Germany. It is not unusual to apply by e-mail. The cover letter is packed in the e-mail and the CV is sent as an attachment.

If a large number of applications are received, many recruiters use the telephone for a preliminary interview. This saves time and sometimes a long journey. If the interview is positive, an invitation for a personal interview usually follows.

Unlike in Germany, lateral entrants also have a chance in the Netherlands. In such a case, it is important to emphasise professional experience, personality and motivation in the application.

Generally, the following applies: Apply in the language of the job advertisement. If you do not yet speak Dutch or speak it insufficiently, you can also apply in English. Of course, you should mention that you want to learn Dutch as soon as possible.

Are you writing your letter in Dutch? Then it is best to have it checked by a Dutch native speaker so that your application documents are error-free.

In the Netherlands, it is usually enough to send a cover letter and a CV. Nowadays, you can usually send them via an online portal or by e-mail. Only send copies of certificates or other documents if this is explicitly requested.

The cover letter should not be longer than one page. In your letter, briefly and concisely address the following points:

  • where you found the job
  • why you are applying to the Netherlands
  • what your motivation is for the job
  • why you are the right person for the job.

In a Dutch application letter, the emphasis is not only on your professional skills, but also on you as a person. According to the Dutch view, work experience and skills are not necessarily tied to specific industries, but can also be applied across industries.

The CV can also be kept short – two pages are enough. In addition to your personal data, mention the following (chronologically or antichronologically):

  • -Education after secondary school
  • Work experience including skills and project involvement
  • -Secondary occupations and social commitment (if relevant to the job)
  • -Skills and competencies
  • -References.

Listing interests and hobbies is not essential, but gives a fuller picture of you as a person. A photo is also not obligatory, but is becoming more common in the Netherlands in recent years, probably influenced by social media.


Find out about the company beforehand, e.g. via their website. Write down the questions you want to ask about the job and the company. This shows good preparation and interest. Make sure you can answer some frequently asked questions:

-Tell something about yourself.

-Why do you want to work for us?

-Why are you the ideal person for this job?

-How do you function on a team?

-What are your strengths or weaknesses?

-Why do you want to change jobs?

Take copies of your educational qualifications, diplomas, job references and other relevant documents with you so that you can show them on request.


Foreign names are often difficult to understand, especially when you hear them for the first time. However, addressing your interviewer by name helps to create a pleasant conversational atmosphere. Therefore, find out beforehand – preferably when confirming the appointment – who will be taking part in the conversation. This way you can address each person by name.

During the interview

The atmosphere at a job interview is generally more relaxed in the Netherlands. Also, interpersonal chemistry is considered more important in the Netherlands than in Germany. The interview is usually attended by the future manager (frequently the managing director in smaller companies), the HR manager and often a future colleague.

Part of the interview, especially at the beginning, is often some small talk. This is a relaxed way to get to know each other a little better. It also helps to reduce nervousness a little. After the round of introductions, they will ask questions to get the best possible picture of you. They also want to know whether you fit into the team as a person – in the Netherlands, this is valued just as highly as professional qualities. In between, ask questions at the appropriate time. This shows you are interested and creates a real exchange.

The application procedure usually lasts two rounds of interviews. In a second interview – possibly with other interview partners – you go into more depth. You may also be invited to an assessment or asked to give a presentation. Usually, the employer makes the decision afterwards.


I come from a non-EU country


If you do not have EU nationality, your employer in the Netherlands will in many cases have to apply for a work permit. Whether you also need to apply for a residence permit (possibly in combination with a work permit) depends on your nationality. You can find more information about this on the IND website (the website is available in Dutch and English).

General information about working in another EU country

The following animated film provides general information about working in another EU country and the consequences for your social security. For your specific situation, please contact an adviser at a Grenzinfopunkt.