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Study and Work in the Netherlands – All You Need to Know

If you’re looking for information on how to study and work in the Netherlands, then you’re in the right place. This post will guide you on all you need to know about study and work in the Netherlands. The Netherlands, which is popularly known as Holland, is a beautiful country in mainland Europe. It is the first non-native English speaking country to offer English-taught courses to international students. International students can study degree programs in the Dutch or English language, thus making it a great study destination for all international students.

Studying in the Netherlands is similar to other top studies abroad destinations in terms of duration.

  • Ph.D.: 4 Years
  • Master’s Degree (MA, MSc, MEng): 1-2 Years
  • Bachelor’s Degree (BA, BSc, BEng): 3-4 Years

The higher education system in the Netherlands is made up of three different types of institutions. These include Institutes for International Education, Universities of Applied Science, and Research Universities. The Dutch higher education system is made up primarily of three different types of institutions. 

These are Research Universities, Universities of Applied Science, and Institutes for International Education.

Certain degree levels are only available from each institution type.

  • PhDs: Available only at Research Universities
  • Masters: Available at all Institution types
  • Bachelors: Available at Research Universities and Universities of Applied Sciences

Important Information About Studying in the Netherlands


Since all degree programs in the Netherlands run for more than one year, all international students will require an entry visa called Machtiging tot Voorlopig Verblijf (MVV) in Dutch or Provisional Residence Permit in English. The MVV will grant you access into the country for six months; once you’re already in the country, you need to apply for a Residence permit- your chosen institution will help you in the process.

A Provisional Residence Permit (MVV) will only be granted if your application meets specific requirements, including but not limited to:

  • You must have a valid passport
  • You have sufficient financial means
  • All required fees have been paid
  • You have a letter from your host university stating you have or will be enrolling

You can visit the Dutch embassy in your home country to get more information on your country’s visa requirements.

English Language Proficiency Test

Before you can study in any Dutch institution, you will be required to take the English Language Competency/Proficiency Test. You will need to score nothing less than 6.0 in IELTS or TOEFL 550 (Paper Based) and a score of 213 (Computer Based). Other language tests may be required from your chosen institution. Make sure you confirm from your chosen university to know the language tests you’re expected to take.

Cost of Studying & Living in Netherland

The official currency in the Netherlands is the Euro (€). Students from Switzerland and other EEA countries should expect to pay an annual tuition fee of about €2,060. While students from other countries can expect to pay €6,000 to €15,000 for bachelor’s programs and €8,000 to €20,000 for master’s programs. However, you must note that the cost also depends on your chosen higher education institution. Most Universities in the Netherlands offer two different payment plans, and you can also apply for a tuition fee grant or loan.

The approximate cost of living is €800 to €1,100 a month for typical student life.

Discounts are available for students on many leisure activities, and you can cut down transport costs by buying a discount card for rail transport.

The standard living costs are

  • Rent – €350-€800 per month
  • Clothes/Entertainment – €100 per month
  • Insurance (if you are not an EHIC holder) – €80 per month
  • Study Materials – €50 per month
  • Groceries/Eating Out – €180 per month

If you want to study in the Netherlands, finance is one of the first things you need to consider. Working while studying is the best way to earn extra cash to support you while studying. Studying and working is permitted in the Netherlands based on your nationality. However, your employers will have to apply for a work permit on your behalf.

All you need to know about Study and Work in the Netherlands

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Work Eligibility

There are restrictions on who can work in the Netherlands while studying and under what conditions. And sometimes, trying to figure this out can be a bit difficult. This is because your work eligibility in the Netherlands is dependent on certain factors like your country, the type of visa you have, and other factors on the type of work.

Here are some specific steps that will help you figure out whether you’re eligible to work in the Netherlands while studying or not.

EU Citizens

If you’re from any of the European Union countries, there are few requirements for what you need to work in the Netherlands while studying:

  • BSN (Burgerservicenummer): A BSN is a unique number given to every citizen of the Netherlands. You needed to apply for one immediately after you start studying in the Netherlands.
  • Insurance: if you wish to work in the Netherlands, you must possess Dutch health insurance. If you don’t have one, then a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) can cover that.

Non-EU Citizens

  • Insurance: Non-EU citizens studying in the Netherlands are expected to have Dutch Health insurance. If you want to work, these health insurance will cover you in the insurance space.  
  • BSN (Burgerservicenummer): A BSN is a unique number given to every citizen of the Netherlands. You needed to apply for one immediately after you start studying in the Netherlands.
  • Time Restrictions: For part-time jobs in the Netherlands, non-EU students can work for a maximum of 16 hours per week. However, as a freelancer, you can work for unlimited hours.
  • Residence Permit with Authorization: if you have been working while studying when you graduate, you need to switch the reason for your residence permit. Generally, you should switch your residence permit to a residence permit for highly skilled migrants, or you can get a residence permit for finding a job if you don’t have a job already and wish to find one upon your graduation.
  • Zoekjaar (Search Year): A “zoekjaar” is generally a grace period the Dutch government grants you after completing your studies to look for a befitting job in the Netherlands or further your studies. You need to apply for this directly upon your graduation and pay the required fee. You can only apply for a “zoekjaar” once after completing each study. Consequently, you must apply for a “zoekjaar” within the first three years of completing your bachelor’s or master’s degree in the Netherlands.

How to Apply for a Working Permit

To get a working permit in the Netherlands as a student, you need first to secure a job with a duly recognized company by the Immigration and Naturalization Service of the Netherlands (IND). It is the company’s responsibility to apply for a working permit on your behalf, as you are not allowed to apply yourself. A list of the registered companies in the Netherlands can be found here.

Benefits of Working While Studying in the Netherlands

Working while studying in the Netherlands comes with lots of benefits; however, you need to balance your schedules so that your work does not affect your academic performance. Here are some benefits

  • Earn extra cash

Studying abroad as an international student is capital intensive, and as a student, you can never have enough money. Having a job (whether part-time or full-time) is an excellent way of earning extra cash to meet up with other pressing financial needs that may arise during your study.

  • It’s an avenue to meet new people and network

As an international student, it can be difficult to feel at home in the Netherlands. Finding a job will allow you to work very closely with other locals, which can help you feel more at home and get in the Dutch way of life.

  • Experience

On-the-hands experience is probably one of the most important reasons why you should consider working while studying. Jobs, whether full-time or part-time, can help you practice all the things you have been studying. If you’re passionate about your course of study, finding a part-time job in the area of your field can help you better understand some techniques, how you solve problems, and work with others. A job enhances your personal development and work experience.

  • CV Building

There is hardly any job offer nowadays that does not require some sort of work experience. The only way you can gather experience to add to your CV is by working while studying. Having a CV with work experience positions you to land high paying jobs than those without work experience in their CV. It shows that you are learning how to work in professional development.

Job and Company Types in the Netherlands

There are different types of types in the Netherland with varying levels of commitments and responsibilities; this means some are part-time, long term, full time, etc.

  • Part-time

Part-time jobs in the Netherlands are jobs that require you to work for 10-15 hours per week. They are the best type of jobs for international students who wish to work while studying in the Netherlands. There are different types of part-time jobs available, requiring different levels of experience and commitment. For most of them, you don’t need to speak Dutch; however, being able to speak Dutch is an added advantage for you. Review every job description you see to know what their language requirement is like. You can search on job boards for non-Dutch jobs or use job platforms that share non-Dutch jobs (like College Life Work).

  • Full-time

After you complete your studies in the Netherlands, you might want to look for a full-time job immediately and settle down in Holland. Full-time jobs require you to work for an average of 36-40 hours per week, although the general standard is 38 hours per week. If you’re seeking to work full time in the Netherlands, it is advisable to wait until you complete your studies and learn some Dutch.

This will position you to attract more high paying jobs and integrate more into Dutch culture.

  • Internship

Most universities in the Netherlands will require you to complete an internship as a minimum requirement for your graduation. If your course of study requires you to do an internship, make sure you do it in a company or organization related to your field of studies. However, you can also choose to do your internship outside your field of studies as a means of exploring your passion in a professional setting. You should also note that internship can be paid or unpaid.

If you a non-EU (international student) doing your internship in the Netherlands as part of your study program, your employers will not need to apply for a work permit as internship is duly covered for in your student visa. However, if you’re an international student studying outside the Netherlands but wish to do their internship in the Netherlands, you must apply for a residence permit if the internship is to exceed three months and get a work permit through your employers. EU and Swiss citizens do not have to undergo this process.

  • Traineeship

A traineeship is designed to introduce new graduates into a new job position. It is also designed for fresh graduates where they undergo the training for a period of time to work with the company in the nearest future. A traineeship can be paid and unpaid.

There are basically two types of traineeships:

Trainee- This is a situation where you are currently studying in the university but seeking to gain some experience about what working in a particular field will be like. Your employers must apply for a single work permit on your behalf.

Apprentice- an apprentice is one who has completed their higher education and is now looking to gain work experience in their home country. You need a single permit with proof that you will exit the Netherland after the period of apprenticeship.

Major Job Roles in the Netherlands

Works are split into categories in the Netherlands. This mostly depends on your field of specialization, the kind of work experience you have, and what you have studied in the university. Sometimes you might not find yourself fitting into any of the categories, but no worries, as most of the categories are flexible. Here is a breakdown of the categories

  • Accounting

If you’re studying courses in International Business, Accounting, Finance, Business Administration, or Economics, you should look for jobs around the Accounting industry. Accounting and Bookkeeping is an important component of every company. Therefore there are lots of opportunities available in the Netherlands.

  • Customer Service

Customer service jobs require you to work with lots of clients of a company to help them solve their problems.

  • Data Scientist

As a Data Scientist, you’ll be analysing lots of data which companies will use to make conclusions that will position the company for more growth.

  • Design

If you’re a student of Art, then the field of design may be the best field to work. This field includes advertising, clothing design, web design, among others.

  • Education

Being in the Education sector means you will be entering into the field of teaching. This can be at various levels, whether at the university level, high school, or elementary school.

  • Engineering

If you’re an engineering student, there are different sectors you can work in based on your area of specialization like civil engineering, geotechnical engineering, electrical engineering, aerospace engineering, computer engineering, mechanical engineering, civil engineering, and many others.

Top Cities to Work In

Although the Netherlands is a small nation, each of its cities is unique. Some cities have more job opportunities than the others especially for international students, and some are more fun to work in. the opportunities available for you vary based on where you live in. therefore it is advisable to check the job opportunities available in each city before you choose where to live in.

  • Amsterdam

Amsterdam is popularly regarded as an international city. It is often said that more international reside there than the Dutch people. Therefore as an International student in the Netherlands, Amsterdam should be one of the best locations you should choose to live in because of the numerous job opportunities available there. The city is international-friendly; this means there are more English speaking jobs available in the city, more openness to foreigners, and more internationally oriented careers.

  • Den Haag

Den Haag (The Hague) is regarded as the International hub of the Netherlands. It is the capital of international relations and politics for the Netherlands, and therefore it is very international in itself. Many internationals and ex-pats live in the city; therefore, it’s a great city to look for jobs while studying.

  • Rotterdam

Rotterdam is fast becoming a popular city. It is unique in itself, and unlike other Dutch cities, it is very modern with a clear business district and skyscrapers. Rotterdam is a great location for international students to find jobs.

  • Eindhoven

Eindhoven is one of the best cities to live in as an Expat in the Netherlands. It continues to attract more Internationals than any other city because the major language for business in the city is the English language. More so, it is a very cosy city and friendly, you’ll easily get jobs as a student studying in the Netherlands.

Finding a Job in the Netherlands

Part-time jobs in the Netherlands

There are many places where you can find a part-time job as an international student in the Netherlands. Here are some:

  • College Life Work: You can find part-time jobs that suit your level of expertise here in a concise and organized manner
  • The university: use your university email account to sign up for the “vacatures” or “vacancies” channel. Here you can receive updates on the latest part-time job offers.
  • Through friends or acquaintances: your friends and acquaintances can help you in finding a good job. Build a network with other internationals living in the Netherlands; who knows, you might get jobs through them.

Full-time jobs in the Netherlands

Full-time jobs are harder to get than part-time jobs because they are more long-term in nature and require more commitment and responsibilities. Therefore it involves a stricter recruitment process and is highly competitive. Notwithstanding, here are some good sources to find full-time jobs

  • College Life Work: get updates on full times jobs for fresh graduates here
  • LinkedIn/Networking: one of the most important sources to find full-time jobs in the Netherlands is through LinkedIn and other professional social networks
  • University Alumni Network: you can also get full-time jobs through your University Alumni network. Dutch Universities have a robust alumni network that is organized and accessible. These networks are very helpful when it comes to finding job opportunities and offers for graduates.

Student Visa & Work Permit in the Netherlands

The Netherlands continues to be one of the best study destinations for international students due to their high-quality education and low cost of living. The visa requirement depends on whether you’re an EU or Non-EU citizen.

EU citizens

EU citizens do not need a residence permit or student visa to study or work in the Netherlands. However, if you plan to say for a long time, you must register with the municipality as soon as you arrive.

Residence Permit

If you’re not an EU citizen and planning to study in the Netherlands, you must obtain a residence permit. If you plan to stay for more than three months in the nation for any reason whatsoever, you must obtain a residence permit.

You must make sure you enter the Netherlands with the right visa because if you arrive with a short stay visa, you’ll not be allowed to apply for a residence permit. You’re expected to apply for the residence permit within the first five days of your arrival.

After you have completed your studies in the Netherlands, you can apply for a valid residence permit for up to five years. But to qualify for this, you must have a contract of employment.

In conclusion, If you’re looking for where of the best countries that support study and work, then the Netherlands is one of such. We hope this concise guide was helpful.