Discover Amsterdam
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Live, Work and Study
Live, work and study
Discover Amsterdam
Meetings and Conventions
Live, Work and Study
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Image from Christina Wocintechchat

Guide to finding a job

Finding a job in a new city can be challenging, but with hard work and determination, you can make it happen. Get your CV in shape, start networking, reach out to recruitment agencies and prepare for interviews. Here’s some information to help you get started on your job search journey in the Amsterdam Area.

How to find a job in Amsterdam

Whether you’ve moved for love or labour, finding a job in a foreign country is a challenge - but with the right help, it's very doable. The unemployment rate in the Netherlands is one of the lowest in the EU. And Amsterdam is home to a growing community of internationals, some 50,000 of whom have already set up professional camp in the city and surrounding region.

This guide will walk you through the process of finding a job with employers in the Amsterdam Area and how to find a job in the Netherlands. For further advice on working in the Netherlands see the IN Amsterdam & EURES brochure on Job Orientation. For information on other ways of working, head to our resources on freelancing, launching a business or Amsterdam’s thriving startup ecosystem

Things to sort out before starting your job search

Depending on your situation, you will need a separate work permit as well as a residence permit. In some cases, however, a residence permit is enough as it includes the right to work. The conditions can vary depending on your reason of residence. For example, recent graduates can enjoy an orientation year residence permit giving  them a chance to find employment.

If you are in the Netherlands on a partner residence permit, it will state whether you may work. Partners of Dutch citizens may work without restriction. In other cases, you usually have the same employment rights as the partner your permit is tied to. There can be exceptions to this. For example,  the partners of those holding a combined residence and work permit might require a work permit from the employer in order to work.

There is also a special option for highly skilled migrants. The highly skilled migrant procedure is a means to apply for a residence permit prior to arriving in the Netherlands. The application process is initiated by the employer. This sort of process is geared towards highly specialised professionals and you must be recruited while still abroad. IN Amsterdam helps individuals and companies organise the process and reduce the bureaucratic burden during your arrival.

Man and women in front of desk at the INAmsterdam offices, seen from the front, employee seen from the back
Image from Martin de Bouter

Online resources for job searching

Looking online is the most popular way to find a job. Browse Job Search for thousands of non-Dutch speaking positions spanning all the top industries in the Amsterdam Area and take your next career step in Amsterdam. Most job agencies regularly post vacancies online, and if you are registered with them or sign up for their newsletters, they will contact you about new opportunities. Recruiters also look online for suitable applicants so keep your information up to date on different sites.

If you want to start looking for openings right away, job search engines such as the Nationale Vacature Bank (in Dutch), IamExpat Jobs, LinkedIn, Intermediair and Monsterboard are worth exploring. ICTerGezocht also has a comprehensive list of tech-related vacancies. Be sure to visit the websites of major international organisations that are headquartered in the Netherlands as well. Are you looking to work with a startup? Then check our article with tips from recruiters on finding your dream job!

With that said, don’t discount the power of job searching through official publications and newspapers. A number of Dutch newspapers have English-language job advertisements on their vacancy pages, although most are recruiting for senior positions in international companies. The American Book Center stocks a comprehensive range of newspapers, and the Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam offers an equally excellent range free of charge, as does the University of Amsterdam.

Job fairs are also a great opportunity to get to know the local labour market and meet potential employers. The Amsterdam Area hosts job fairs regularly, ranging from smaller events focusing on a particular sector to larger fairs targeting international job hunters. Check out the upcoming events on our job fairs page.

Recruitment agencies in the Amsterdam Area

Recruitment agencies (uitzendbureaus) are located all around the region, including international organisations such as Kelly Services and Adecco. Agencies tend to specialise in either temporary jobs or permanent positions, so it’s always good to check if the agency matches your needs.  Also, there are several agencies that recruit for vacancies that do not require Dutch, although learning the local lingo can definitely help your career. Check out this comprehensive list of recruitment agencies in Amsterdam, or this article listing the top tips from local recruitment agencies.

EURES: job orientation and career advice

IN Amsterdam’s partners such as EURES also offer a host of services for English-speaking job-seekers. EURES is an EU agency set up specifically to help jobseekers find work and employers to recruit across Europe. EURES also supports internationals living in the Amsterdam Area (EU and non-EU) in their orientation on the Dutch labour market. Next to this, they provide free personal advice on how to find and apply for a job, as well as advice on employment rights. Please check Tips to find work in the Netherlands.

To book a free one-on-one appointment, residents of the Amsterdam Area with valid residence permits or work permits (like partners of skilled workers, researchers, business owners, and others) can email Just write "1-on-1 session IN Amsterdam for help" in the email subject.

UWV: Public Employment services

The public employment service, UWV WERKbedrijf, plays an important role in the Dutch labour market. There are branches located throughout the city with specialists on hand to offer advice and information to job seekers. Through an extensive network of partner sites and (temporary) employment agencies, most vacancies registered with these partners are also registered in the online job database of the UWV WERKbedrijf. Either drop by in person or search for vacancies online (shown in several languages depending on your keyword search). They also offer lots of English-language information on working in the Netherlands for EU citizens on their website.

Networking to find a job

For most people new to Amsterdam, places and faces will be unfamiliar. To overcome this, de-stranger your environment and join a few groups to strike up professional networks (and possibly make friends). It's always easier to find a job through close contacts or word-of-mouth. Amsterdam's international community is tight-knit, making for many likely encounters and acquaintances.

Image from Jurre Rompa

Take the initiative in job searching

To apply for work at a particular company that currently has no vacancies, send an unsolicited application. Employers often appreciate the initiative. First, find a contact person at the company of choice (e.g. in the human resources department), so the application is addressed to a particular person. When preparing to meet your new contact, have your CV and cover letter (motivatiebrief) tailored to the job. An extra pointer: employers in the Netherlands often like hearing about hobbies and additional interests, so don’t be afraid to include them.

Adjusting to a Dutch work environment

As someone used to working, moving to a new country without a job in place can feel like a daunting prospect. This is especially true if you have been enjoying a successful career in your own country and don't want to sacrifice your own goals or career prospects for the move. To get an idea of what to expect, watch our introduction video on the Dutch work environment.

The Dutch Way of Working

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Volunteering as a way into work

Taking up a voluntary role can be a great way into paid employment in the Netherlands, as well as providing you with some valuable experience. You'll make contacts and find out more about what Dutch employers are looking for. There are over 1,000 volunteering opportunities available for non-Dutch speakers through various initiatives such as the Amsterdam's Volunteer Centre, which hasfour different locations in Amsterdam. Find out more about volunteering in Amsterdam.

Protect yourself from exploitation at the workplace

If you’re new to the Amsterdam Area, you may not be aware of the laws that are designed to keep you safe from workplace exploitation in the Netherlands. Start protecting yourself by researching your rights and obligations on our employment law pages.

For personal information and assistance, we recommend reaching out to ACCESS, a non-profit organization committed to informing and supporting internationals. Their free services are available online and at the IN Amsterdam office throughout the workweek.

In the unfortunate event that you have experienced employment exploitation, we strongly urge you to contact FairWork. This organization provides confidential advice on Dutch labor laws and offers the necessary support to guide you through the appropriate actions. Feel free to reach out to FairWork by sending an email to