Internationals in the Netherlands

There are between 50,000 and 75,000 expats living in the Netherlands. These expats are part of the 500,000 internationals living in the Netherlands. These figures are according to research by the national statistics office of the Netherlands, the CBS (Central Bureau Statistics). Their definition of an expat is someone who was born outside of the Netherlands and does not have Dutch nationality, aged 18 to 75 and earns a salary in the upper end of the norm in their sector. Expats are mostly living in the international hotspots in the Netherlands, these can be found under the international cities in the Netherlands.

Lifestyle in the Netherlands

What can you expect as an expat coming to the Netherlands? There are some things that are very common in the Netherlands, that may be very uncommon in your own country.

First of all the Dutch like to ride their bicycle. Amsterdam is voted the greatest cycling city in Europe! Riding their bicycle to work the Dutch are not avoiding traffic jams, hunting for parking spots and avoiding guilty feelings about CO2 emissions.


Not only in their free time, but during work as well, the Dutch tend to share their opinions about everything in a very direct way. This saves up a lot of time and emotional angst, if something is not as you think it should be, just share it with the other party! Lying to someone or making up excuses will not win you any favours. Because of this directness, the hierarchy in most companies in the Netherlands tend to be very horizontal.

Another thing that the Dutch are very good in, which makes living in the Netherlands as an expat easier, is the high level of English language that the Dutch are speaking. 90% of Dutch people speak English, which makes it easy as an international to communicate with Dutch people. Many expats have no difficulty in creating a social circle because of this.

International cities in the Netherlands

The cities that are the most attractive are Amsterdam and Eindhoven. These cities both have their own pages about living in Eindhovenliving in Amsterdam. Be sure to read those pages for information about the cities!

The step of going international can be scary, but Xelvin will provide you with everything you need to know. Check out the vacancies in the Netherlands and find out the next step in your career!