Moving to the Netherlands from the USA

For anyone who plans to move to the Netherlands from the US, there are specific Dutch immigration laws that US citizens must follow. A residence permit is necessary to relocate to the Netherlands. A prospective resident can apply for several types of residence permits. The best course of action to take, though, is to consult with a lawyer in the Netherlands who can explain the process of relocating.

Moving to the Netherlands from the US is a big decision, especially for someone who may never have traveled to Europe. What tends to be the driving force behind a relocation is a multitude of factors. Decisions are based on economic and work-related reasons. However, legal requirements for moving to the Netherlands will depend on whatever visa you decide is right for you. Included in this is proof of sufficient income and government official approval of your potential employer.

Overall, the number of steps you need to take on moving to the Netherlands will vary. The transition is much easier if you are from other EU/EEA member countries.

Here are some other articles that might help you plan your move:
  • Best USA to Netherlands movers: The international moving industry is full of scammy movers, and when all of your belongings are at stake, don’t take chances.
  • How much will your move cost?: This cost calculator will provide an immediate calculation 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.
  • Consider moving containers: Need a more budget-friendly option? With these companies, you load, and they drive! These are the best moving container companies.
  • Best car shippers: Moving your car? Use a company that prioritizes professionalism, cares for your vehicle, and is experienced.

How much does it cost to move from the USA to the Netherlands?

Home Size Moving Company Moving Container Freight Company Truck Rental
Studio/1 Bedroom $1,680-$5,840 $1,923-$2,429 $1,520-$2,160 $1,093-$1,509
2-3 Bedrooms $2,200-$8,050 $2,422-$3,650 $2,185-$3,180 $1,142-$1,763
4+ Bedrooms $3,885-$10,300 $3,273-$4,134 $2,850-$3,600 $1,444-$1,949

*Pricing above does not include gas, tolls, lodging, and other related moving expenses.

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

$1,145

10 to 13 days
Los Angeles, California Amsterdam

$3,460

23 to 28 days
Houston, Texas Amsterdam

$1,740

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 and door-to-door pick-up and delivery and that your actual costs will vary based on multiple factors.

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 ship.

However, air freight may be necessary on work-related moves when professional gear needs to arrive in-country at about the same time as the person who’s sending it.

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 three American cities and Amsterdam.

Origin city Destination city Average cost in USD Average transit time
New York Amsterdam

$2,455

1 to 3 days
Los Angeles Amsterdam

$2,480

3 to 4 days
Houston Amsterdam

$2,510

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

According to LivingCost.org, 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 far pricier than the national average, but some expats choose to live in other towns and cities where there are better deals to be had.

The following table shows the average costs for various goods and services in the Netherlands vs. the United States.

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
Cinema ticket $12.24 $12.88
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 figuring out how much it’ll cost to live 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

$134

$181

Water

$19

$36

Internet

$43

$45

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, you’ll want to factor in housing costs when preparing moving and cost of living budgets.

The following table shows the average housing costs in three cities in the Netherlands.

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

$1,521

$1,072

$917

Monthly rent for a 3-bedroom apartment

$2,475

$1,729

$1,566

Home purchase (per square foot)

$632

$326

$309

  • 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.

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
Amsterdam $53,506
Rotterdam $47,041
The Hague $59,162
Eindhoven $52,541
  • 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

$26,776

$20,709

Gallon of gas

$6.78

$2.88

  • 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 wide fluctuations and that these figures should be used for informational purposes only.

How to move to the Netherlands

Now, let’s say you are contemplating moving to the Netherlands from the US. There is some good news in regards to moving your belongings. It will not be difficult. This is mainly because the country does not tax personal belongings. The issue may arise when it comes time to find a place to put those belongings, though. Accommodations can be a difficult task. While the cost of living may be high, it makes up for it in other ways through the high standard of living.

Before you try to figure out how to obtain your own Netherlands visa and work permit, you need to determine whether or not you need one. Again, EU/EEA and Swiss nationals do not need anything other than their ID to live and work in the Netherlands. However, other third-country citizens are required to go through the visa application process, which differs depending on what kind of passport you hold.

Another critical point to consider is that however easy or difficult it is for you to move to the Netherlands relies on where you are from and what you do. Even though the following example may not apply to a US citizen moving to the Netherlands, it serves as a reasonable frame of reference. EU/EEA and Swiss nationals face fewer bureaucratic and custom limitations than third-country citizens.

Even more so, expats who specialize in occupations that are not necessarily considered to be in high demand might find it challenging to obtain a job in the Netherlands. Hence, this results in difficulties when trying to acquire a visa.

Furthermore, you may wonder why consider moving to the Netherlands from the US then? The benefits of moving there are still relevant. In the Netherlands, there is a thriving entrepreneurial scene and unique education system. The Dutch folks also emphasize an excellent work-life balance and quality social security. Aside from the gray weather and the Dutch’s brutal honesty, moving to the Netherlands should be top of your to-do list.

According to InterNations, the cost for 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.

How to move your things from the US to the Netherlands

The process of moving your items from the US to the Netherlands requires you to assess the best mode of transport. While the transportation mode is ultimately up to you, you still need to be aware of customs regulations.

It is noteworthy that the Netherlands does not impose rigid rules on the importation of personal items. Items can enter the country without significant problems or taxation. The only time it may get a little complicated is when you wish to bring food into the country.

The good news keeps rolling in for nationals of EU/EEA member countries. Any regulations that are applied to third-country nationals are more lenient. The Swiss and EU/EEA members are permitted to import alcohol and tobacco with no limitations regarding money.

Those who have pets have it a bit easier, especially if moving from another European country. Individuals moving to the Netherlands from the US must get the appropriate vaccinations and testing done before taking up residency. This can take upwards of a few months. Free borders allow Europeans to take care of moving their pets in as little as a few weeks.

One of the last pieces of information potential residents need to remember is that those who move to the Netherlands are likely to start in an unfurnished place most of the time. That is why bringing your furniture is a good idea.

Why do people want to live in the Netherlands?

It was previously mentioned that most people want to move to the Netherlands for work or economic reasons. That still holds, but in addition to that, many entrepreneurs are looking for opportunities for self-employed people. The Netherlands has a few visa types for those who wish to start their own business or work.

A handful of Netherland visas do expect applicants to meet a set of criteria or pay high costs. In the end, it makes it worth the time and money. The Dutch visa overall cost is not expensive. Granted, the price will rely on which type of visa you need, and it usually does not exceed $330 US dollars.

Other areas that attract new residents are housing, healthcare, banks and taxes, education, working, and living.

What are some of the best places to move to in the Netherlands?

The top places to live in the Netherlands are:

  • Amsterdam- the average cost of living in this city is roughly $2,326, 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. Amsterdam is the largest city in the Netherlands.
  • Utrecht- the average cost of living totals $1,987, 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. It is the 4th largest city in the Netherlands.
  • Delft- the average cost of living in Delft is $1,577, and this ranks 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. This city is 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 cost of living in this city is $1,553 and ranks 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.

Moving to the Netherlands: FAQs

Have questions about moving to the Netherlands from the United States of America? Making such a major change in your life is difficult and should not be taken lightly. Below, you will find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions surrounding moving to the Netherlands from the USA.

Can an American move to the Netherlands?

Yes. Americans who wish to move to the Netherlands do not need to obtain a Dutch provisional residence permit. Although, when the time comes and you decide to move to the Netherlands, you must acquire a residence permit. Later, when the option becomes available to you, apply for a permanent residence permit.

Is it hard for an American to move to the Netherlands?

While European citizens do not need a visa to live or work in the Netherlands, they only need to register with their local personal records database for a Citizen Service Number. It can be slightly more difficult for Americans to move to the Netherlands but not by much.

Is it worth moving to the Netherlands?

The answer to this question depends on your personal and financial situation. If you are in a good place financially and can afford or keep up with the cost of living in the Netherlands, it might be a good idea to move. On the other hand, if you struggle economically, you might be better suited to remain where you are or find another place to move.

Can I move to the Netherlands without a job?

One aspect that is for sure, once you move to the Netherlands, you will need to register at the local municipality. Many entrepreneurs consider moving to the Netherlands for the country’s opportunities for self-employed people. If you consider yourself an active entrepreneur, you will move to the Netherlands in good shape.

What are the benefits of moving to the Netherlands?

Moving to the Netherlands from the US provides ample opportunities for up-and-coming entrepreneurs and thriving students. The Dutch are known for their excellent work-life balance and good, quality social security.

What is the climate like in the Netherlands?

The Netherlands has a reputation for a typical maritime climate with mild summers and cold winters. Other weather conditions like wind and rain are common throughout most of the year. July and August are typically the wettest months, while March ranks as the driest month.

How long does it take to move to the Netherlands?

The length of time it takes to move to the Netherlands will all depend on the visa process once you make the decision to move from the United States. If you apply for the regular resident permit, it can take almost 90 days for it to be approved if your employer submitted an MVV, which is a provisional resident permit. This type of permit allows admittance into the Netherlands so you can begin working immediately.

What is the best way to move to the Netherlands?

The best way to move to the Netherlands is by following these steps:

  • Secure an employer in the Netherlands
  • Sign the employment contract
  • Secure all of the required documents
  • Acquire the MVV at the Dutch embassy
  • Make the move to the Netherlands and then register at the local municipality
  • Acquire the residence permit
  • Open an account at a local bank
  • Undergo a tuberculosis test (if required to do so within three months of moving to the Netherlands)
  • Acquire health insurance
  • Apply for the 30% ruling, which provides a tax break for certain individuals
  • Find a new place to live (if you already haven’t found a home)
  • Acquire a driver’s license

How does moving to the Netherlands from the US work?

It is possible that you can have the MVV waived when moving to the Netherlands from the United States. This permit is most often waived for persons moving to the Netherlands specifically for employment. If you are successful in doing so, you will only need to acquire a residence permit. After living in the Netherlands for five years, you will be able to apply for permanent residency in your new country.

Still unsure of your next move? Moving across the world to a new country is not an easy decision. Hopefully, you have found what you are looking for when researching moving to the Netherlands from the USA. If not, you can find more information about such a move from moveBuddha. The Netherlands has a lot to offer expats. Finding out exactly what it is like to live in the Netherlands might be best done with a brief trial run visit to the country before making the moving final.

Not what you were looking for?

Check out other categories that can help you find the information you need!

See All
Hide All

Comments