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Live, Work and Study
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Image from Koen Smilde

Move to the Amsterdam Area in 10 steps

Get set to move to the Amsterdam Area: read on for relocation tips on moving to the Netherlands and find out about official documents, employment, housing, international schools and more.

Relocating to the Amsterdam Area

Moving to a new city is always an exciting step, and if that city is in a new country, it makes it even more adventurous. Moving to the Netherlands can be overwhelming. Luckily, living in Amsterdam can be a walk in the park. It’s easy for newcomers and expats to settle in, given the city’s cosmopolitan spirit, rich cultural life and large international community – combined with a compact size to make getting around a breeze. Many consider Amsterdam one of the best places to live in the Netherlands. That said, there are a few boxes to tick ahead of your relocation. Before you move to Amsterdam, check off each of the important steps below.

1. Find out what documents are required

It is always easier and quicker to arrange paperwork before you move away from home. Relocating to the Netherlands requires different things depending on your personal situation. Some people will require a visa to enter the Netherlands, and various residence permits require original documentation. When you eventually register with your local municipality, you’ll likely need to have official proof of identity, such as birth certificates, marriage certificates and other legal documents. 

Please note: in some cases legally translated documents may be requested, but even for materials already in English, all original documents must be officially authenticated. To know more about legalisation of foreign documents for use in the Netherlands, please check this website.

2. Find work

Perhaps you’re moving to Amsterdam for a new job, but if not – or if you’re moving with a family member who is – familiarise yourself with the employment market in the city before your move. In particular, there are a wide variety of options available for international talent. Research expat jobs in the Netherlands and get familiar with the local job boards. If you are moving to Amsterdam with the intention of starting a company, be sure that you have the necessary residence and work permits. 

3. Arrange housing

Finding the right house before moving to a new country can be especially tricky. Before you move to Amsterdam, begin with a little research. Check out the variety of options for house and apartment rentals advertised online. When arranging a short-stay property for the first month or two, it’s certainly handy to find somewhere near your desired neighbourhood or place of work, but Amsterdam is small enough that this isn’t essential.

4. Prepare your pet for relocation

Bringing your pet to Amsterdam needn’t be a problem, but it is a process that can take between 6 and 12 months of preparation, so it’s essential you begin as early as possible. Your pet has to meet all of the present vaccination standards required in the Netherlands and also have a valid pet passport. Dogs, cats and ferrets must also have an identity chip fitted. Other conditions apply to more unusual species and for pets travelling from outside the EU. If travelling long distances, it’s well worth contacting a pet relocation specialist to arrange transport, ensuring a safe and comfortable journey.

5. Import your car

If you’re importing a vehicle to the Netherlands, you’ll need to be aware of the taxes and fees that apply. These vary depending on where the car is registered. Cars imported from the EU require less administration to bring to the Netherlands than those imported from outside, but authorisation from the local customs office is a prerequisite. You’ll also need to arrange a vehicle registration certificate, pay motor vehicle tax and take out adequate insurance.

6. Get started with learning Dutch

Learning Dutch can be tricky for some internationals – and Amsterdammers are famously open to communicating in English – but those who make the effort definitely find that being able to speak and understand a little Dutch helps you to settle in quicker. Look around for local languages classes, download free mobile apps to practice learning words and grammar, or purchase a language-learning package.

7. Find a local school

If you are moving with children, there is a huge variety of education options in the Amsterdam Area, both in terms of traditional Dutch schooling and international schools. It is easy to begin researching schools before moving – most international schools have comprehensive websites and also welcome preliminary contact from the parents of potential students.

8. What to do when you arrive in the Amsterdam Area

Once these basics are out of the way, you’re ready to look into first steps for after you arrive in Amsterdam.

9. What to do when you leave the Netherlands

Are you an EU, EEA, or Swiss citizen or do you possess a valid residence permit in the Netherlands? If you're planning to depart from the Netherlands, there are a few important formalities you should take care of beforehand.