Moving to the Netherlands from the U.S. can be an exciting adventure, but it’s also a serious undertaking, and it’s important to know your stuff about Dutch immigration law beforehand. Here, we’ll cover the most important things you need to know to make your move as seamless as possible.
Curious about how much your move might cost? Use our moving cost calculator to get a rough estimate before moving all the way to Europe.
The basics of moving to the Netherlands
For starters, a residence permit is necessary for any relocation to the Netherlands. A prospective resident can submit Dutch visa applications for several different types of residence permits, including a work permit. And good news: the cost of a work visa in the Netherlands is usually less than $330 (though costs vary based on where you’re from, what qualifications you have, and how long you plan on staying).
The best course of action, though, is to consult a Dutch lawyer who can explain the immigration process in detail. Thankfully, many Dutch people also speak English, so even if you don’t speak Dutch, you should be able to find a lawyer who’ll be able to communicate with you. (If you’re keen to learn the Dutch language, free apps like Duolingo are a great way to get your feet wet.)
The legal requirements for moving to the Netherlands will depend on whichever visa you decide makes the most sense for your move. The transition is easier if you’re already a citizen of another EU/EEA member country, but don’t worry, plenty of Americans have successfully made the move too!
You must also show proof of sufficient income as well as government approval of your potential employer if you’ll be moving to the Netherlands on a work visa (as opposed to a partner visa).
Here are some other resources that might help you plan your move:
- The best international movers: Much like the domestic moving industry, the international moving industry is also full of scammy movers. Don’t take any risks when your belongings are at stake.
- How much will your move cost?: Our helpful moving cost calculator will provide an estimate of what your move should cost. Just plug in your moving dates, the size of your move, where you’re moving to/from, and let the calculator do the rest.
The best car shippers: Planning to take your car along with you to Europe? Use an experienced company that prioritizes professionalism and that will care for your vehicle.
How much does it cost to move from the USA to the Netherlands?
|Home Size||Moving Company||Moving Container||Freight Company||Truck Rental|
*Pricing above does not include gas, tolls, lodging, or other extraneous moving-related costs.
To view things in more practical terms, we’ve calculated average shipping rates and transit times for moves between three major U.S. cities and Amsterdam.
These rates are based on household goods with an insurance value of roughly $50,000 being moved port-to-port via a 20-foot container.
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How much does it cost to ship from the US to the Netherlands?
Thankfully, the cost of moving from the USA to the Netherlands is relatively straightforward and inexpensive.
To make your move to the Netherlands as painless as possible, we’ve calculated average shipping rates and transit times for moves between various US cities and Amsterdam.
These rates are based on household goods with an insurance value of about $50,000 being moved from port-to-port via a 20-foot container.
|Origin city||Destination city||Average cost in USD||Average transit time|
|New York, New York||Amsterdam|| |
|10 to 13 days|
|Los Angeles, California||Amsterdam|| |
|23 to 28 days|
|Houston, Texas||Amsterdam|| |
|15 to 20 days|
- The average move from New York to Amsterdam costs $1,145 and takes from 10 to 13 days
- The average move from Los Angeles to Amsterdam costs $3,460 and takes from 23 to 28 days
- The average move from Houston to Amsterdam costs $1,740 and takes 15 to 20 days
(Please note that these average costs don’t include optional services like packing and unpacking or door-to-door pick-up and delivery and that your actual costs and shipping times will vary based on multiple factors.)
Planning on bringing your car? Check out the best car shippers to get your ride abroad!Learn More
Cost of flying an air freight shipment from the US to the Netherlands
Air freight parcels are generally small, because the cost can be more than 20 times as expensive as shipping household goods via sea freight.
However, air freight may be necessary in certain scenarios, e.g., for work-related moves if you have professional gear that needs to arrive in-country at about the same time you do.
So how much does it cost to move to the Netherlands via air freight?
The following table shows the average cost to send a 550-pound air freight shipment between Amsterdam and the same three American cities as before.
|Origin city||Destination city||Average cost in USD||Average transit time|
|New York||Amsterdam|| |
|1 to 3 days|
|Los Angeles||Amsterdam|| |
|3 to 4 days|
|1 to 2 days|
- The average air freight shipment from New York to Amsterdam costs $2,455 and takes 1 to 3 days
- The average air freight shipment from Los Angeles to Amsterdam costs $2,480 and takes 3 to 4 days
- The average air freight shipment from Houston to Amsterdam costs $2,510 and takes 1 to 2 days
The cost of living in the Netherlands
The cost of living in the Netherlands is about 20% lower than it is in the United States.
Most goods and services in Amsterdam are more expensive than the national average, so many expats choose to live in other towns and cities in Holland and other provinces with a lower cost of living.
Whether you choose to settle in Amsterdam or elsewhere in the Netherlands, there’s plenty of Dutch culture to be enjoyed everywhere — from beautiful tulips and windmills to tasty Stroopwafels — for expats and Dutch citizens alike.
The following table shows the average costs for various goods and services in the Netherlands versus the United States. (Please note that these figures were calculated using data from a relatively small sample size and may not be representative of prices in all areas.)
|Good or service||Average cost in the Netherlands in USD||Average cost in the US in USD|
|Milk, bread, and other weekly staples||$13.80||$14.66|
|Standard restaurant meal||$16.70||$15.24|
|Pint or bottle of beer||$3.92||$5.40|
|One-month gym membership||$31.80||$36.72|
- Staples like milk, bread, and eggs are about 6% cheaper in the Netherlands than in the United States
- Having a pint or bottle of beer in a bar or restaurant is about 28% less expensive in the Netherlands than in the US
- Gym memberships are about 14% cheaper in the Netherlands than in the US
Please note that these figures were calculated using data from a relatively small sample size and may not be representative of prices in all areas.
The average cost of utilities in the Netherlands vs. the United States
Many new expats overlook utility costs when assessing the costs of living abroad.
If you’re planning on moving to the Netherlands, here’s how utility costs compare to what you may be paying now.
|Utility||Average monthly cost in the Netherlands in USD||Average monthly cost in the US in USD|
|Gas and electric|| |
|Wage earner income tax (includes state and federal taxes)||11%||22%|
- Utilities like gas and electricity are about 26% less expensive in the Netherlands than in the US
- Internet costs are similar in the Netherlands and the United States
- Wage earners in the Netherlands are generally taxed at 11%, while their counterparts in the US are taxed at about 22%
Housing and rental costs in the Netherlands
Whether you’re planning on renting an apartment or buying a home in the Netherlands, housing costs are a major consideration for any moving budget.
The following table shows the average housing costs in three cities in the Netherlands. (Please note that real estate prices are subject to frequent change based on supply and demand and the overall health of the local economy.)
|Housing type||Average cost in Amsterdam in USD||Average cost in Rotterdam in USD||Average cost in The Hague in USD|
|Monthly rent for a 1-bedroom apartment|| |
|Monthly rent for a 3-bedroom apartment|| |
|Home purchase (per square foot)|| |
- Apartments are about 40% more expensive in Amsterdam than in The Hague
- Buying a home in Amsterdam is about twice as expensive as it would be to buy the same home in The Hague
Please note that real estate prices change frequently based on supply and demand and the overall health of the economy.
Wages and work hours in the Netherlands
Wage earners in the Netherlands work about 10% fewer hours than their American counterparts, but the average American earns about 17% more every year.
Also, bear in mind that the Netherlands has one of the highest average income tax rates in the world (49%), as opposed to the U.S., which has an average of 37%.
Across various ages, fields, and levels of education, here’s what average workers in the Netherlands make in various cities.
|City||Average yearly salary in USD|
- Wages are similar in Amsterdam and Eindhoven
- Wages in The Hague are about 21% higher than in Rotterdam
- Wages in Amsterdam are about 10% lower than in The Hague
Vehicle and gas costs in the Netherlands
|Vehicle/fuel||Average cost in the Netherlands in USD||Average cost in the US in USD|
|New base model Toyota Corolla|| |
|Gallon of gas|| |
- Everyday cars like Toyota Corollas are about 24% more expensive in the Netherlands than in the United States
- A gallon of gasoline is about twice as expensive in the Netherlands than in the United States
Please note that gas and other energy prices are subject to fluctuations.
Why do people want to live in the Netherlands?
Most people move to the Netherlands for work or economic reasons or for a relationship, but there’s much to love about the culture and the Dutch way of life.
The Netherlands has a thriving entrepreneurial scene and a unique education system.
The Dutch also place a large emphasis on work-life balance, high-quality social security, and a robust healthcare system. It’s also a great place to live if having access to excellent public transport and childcare options is important to you.
If you can get acclimated to the gray weather and the infamous “Dutch honesty,” you’re sure to fall in love with this country and its people.
What are some of the best places to move to in the Netherlands?
The top places to live in the Netherlands include the following:
- Amsterdam: The average cost of living in this city (the largest in the Netherlands) is roughly $2,326 per month, which ranks in the top 2% of the most expensive cities in the world. However, the median after-tax salary is $3,620, enough to cover living expenses for 1.6 months.
- Utrecht: The average cost of living here totals $1,987 per month, which ranks in the top 5% of the most expensive cities in the world. The median after-tax salary is $2,950, covering living expenses for 1.5 months.
- Delft: The average cost of living in Delft is $1,577 per month, ranking in the top 26% of the most expensive cities in the world. The median after-tax salary is $3,067, covering living expenses for 1.9 months.
- Rotterdam: On average, it costs $1,842 to live in Rotterdam each month, ranking it among the top 7% of the most expensive places in the world to live. The median after-tax salary is $3,306, covering about 1.8 months of living expenses.
Zwolle: The monthly cost of living in Zwolle is $1,553, ranking it in the top 27% of the most expensive cities in the world. The median after-tax salary is $2,619, covering living expenses for 1.7 months.
A step-by-step process to moving to the Netherlands
- Secure a Dutch employer in the Netherlands, or if applicable, have your American employer transfer you to their Dutch office.
- Sign a new employment contract, if applicable.
- Secure all of your required documents.
- Acquire your long-stay visa (MVV) through the Dutch Embassy.
- Make your physical move to the Netherlands.
- Get registered at the local municipality.
- Acquire your residence permit.
- Open a bank account at a local bank.
- Undergo a tuberculosis test (if required to do so within three months of moving to the Netherlands).
- Get health insurance.
- Apply for the 30% ruling, which grants eligible expat employees the ability to receive 30% of their gross employment income tax-free. which provides a tax break for certain individuals
- Explore your area and find a long-term house or apartment (if you hadn’t procured a home prior to moving).
- Get a driver’s license, if you wish to drive while living there.
Moving to the Netherlands: FAQs
Can I move to the Netherlands without a job?
Yes. However, doing so potentially limits your ability to stay long term, and may prove to be stressful when it comes to finances. Once you move to the Netherlands, you’ll need to register at your local municipality.
If you’re looking to move to the Netherlands as an entrepreneur, though, you may particularly enjoy living there given its many opportunities for self-employment.
What is the climate like in the Netherlands?
The Netherlands has a typical maritime climate with mild summers and cold winters. July and August are typically the wettest months, while March ranks as the driest. It must be noted that the Dutch climate results in its stunningly beautiful tulips every year, which you’ve surely seen in photographs or paintings before.
How long does it take to move to the Netherlands?
The length of time it takes to move to the Netherlands depends on the visa proces, which varies depending on your circumstances. If you apply for the regular resident permit, it can take almost 90 days for it to be approved if your employer (whether American or Dutch) submitted an MVV, which is a provisional resident permit. This type of permit allows admittance into the Netherlands so you can begin working immediately.
However, it’s possible that you could have the MVV waived when moving to the Netherlands from the United States. This permit is most often waived for people moving to the Netherlands specifically for employment.
If you successfully do so, you’ll only need to acquire a residence permit. After living in the Netherlands for five years, you’ll be able to apply for permanent residency in your new country.
Moving to the Netherlands from the US
Moving across the world is a huge undertaking, but the Netherlands has a lot to offer expats, and moving to a new country from the U.S. is a great way to expand your worldview and enjoy new life experiences.
You might consider first conducting a trial run by visiting the Netherlands for a few weeks to decide if living there is the right decision for you. As the Dutch say when wishing someone “good luck”: “Succes!”
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