Get a head start on your studies

Many study programmes in the Netherlands require you to gain some practical experience in the workplace. This is a great chance to meet with future employers and put your skills to the test in a real workplace.

If the internship is an essential part of your studies, you do not require a work permit. Instead, your Dutch employer simply needs to sign an internship agreement with your university or college. Find out more about the process.

Types of internships

There are several different types of internships that you can take on as a student or graduate. These are the most common ones:

  • Internship during study. 
    This involves spending one semester working at a company as part of a team. The egalitarian culture in the Netherlands means that you will usually get a lot of responsibilities and gain valuable experience (it’s not all just photocopying!). This type of internship begins with an agreement between the university and the company about the types of projects you will work on to best benefit your study.

  • Writing your thesis at a company.
    Over the course of a semester, you can meet with a company and write your thesis on a topic that is relevant to their business. This gives you the chance to address a real industry problem (and demonstrate your problem-solving abilities to potential employers) with access to considerable resources and contacts.  

  • Post-graduate internship.
    Many corporations offer paid internships to recent graduates. Often you will join a group of talented interns in a programme designed to teach you about the different departments and the company’s strategic challenges. This is an excellent way to figure out which part of the company your skills are best suited to. 

Dos and don’ts for interns

  • Do dress like you already work there. Dutch offices tend to be relaxed about dress codes, but it might pay to save the ripped denim for the weekend.
  • Do get to know your co-workers. You’ll get a better understanding of the job and the company.
  • Do write a great cover letter and CV. Check and re-check grammar, and tailor your CV to Dutch employers.
  • Don’t be late. Luckily cycling and public transport mean traffic is rarely an issue.  
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions. You’re not expected to be a seasoned professional just yet.
  • Don’t forget to keep in touch. Letting the company know when you’ve finished studying will keep you top of mind when opportunities arise.