Build a comfortable lifestyle in Amsterdam’s thriving Japanese community
Although more than 9,000 km apart, Japan and the Netherlands share over 400 years of history and friendship. Over the past few decades, the Netherlands has attracted around 8,000 Japanese people to establish their homes on Dutch soil and build a thriving Japanese community. And with a stable business climate, diverse talent pool, entrepreneurial mindset and a work-life balance that is among the best on the planet, the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area makes an ideal home away from home.
To cater to one of the largest international communities in the wider Amsterdam area, there are numerous services and businesses tailored to meet the needs of the Japanese-speaking population, including medical care, schools and real estate agents. With around 350 Japanese companies based in the Netherlands as well as a whole host of events to celebrate Japanese culture, there’s plenty of opportunity to network, build friendships and establish a comfortable lifestyle in the country, too.
Dutch children are among the happiest in the world, making Amsterdam a great place to raise a family. The city offers a welcoming, comfortable and safe environment for kids of all ages, and there are plenty of things to do and see, too. From family-friendly cafés, playgrounds and parks to petting zoos, you’re never far from fresh air and open spaces. The city also offers a high standard of education facilities, including day cares, traditional Dutch schools and colleges as well as international schools. The Japanese School of Amsterdam is an independent day school for children aged 6 to 15 offering education primarily in Japanese and a curriculum based on the Japanese education system. For supplementary education, the Japanese Saturday School Amsterdam provides the same lessons taught in Japanese public schools for primary school to secondary school goers. For little ones aged between three and five, the Japanese kindergarten Tulip Gakuen offers classes in Japanese five days a week and includes an introduction to Japanese ceremonies and customs.
Amsterdam is a popular market for buying and renting property, so more internationals are searching for housing in the wider Amsterdam Area. Amstelveen – located close to Amsterdam and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol – has a decidedly international outlook with over 120 different nationalities residing there. Well known for the 1,000 hectare Amsterdamse Bos, high quality of life and good value accommodation, Amstelveen is very attractive to international employees and has an active and growing international community. Some thirty percent of the current Amstelveen population has an international background, with internationals from Japan comprising the second biggest non-Dutch group living there. Its strategic location makes it very appealing for international businesses, too. For real estate needs, Asunaro Holland boasts years of experience in offering suitable accommodation for workers of Japanese companies who have been relocated to the Netherlands.
Working in the Netherlands
Leading the 2018 OECD Better Life Index, the Netherlands has the best work-life balance in the world. With only 0.5% of Dutch employees regularly working very long hours – the average in OECD countries is 13% and Japan is 21.8% – there’s plenty of time to enjoy social and leisure pursuits. In the workplace, companies are often smaller with less than 100 employees while the decision-making processes in Japanese and Dutch corporate cultures are somewhat similar. Both rely on achieving consensus from all stakeholders rather than delegating decision-making authority to a single person. If you’re looking to set up business in the Netherlands, several organisations, including the Japanese Chamber of Commerce, can help promote economic relations.
Amsterdam’s spirit of commerce and excellent quality of life make it a magnet for talent, startups and international headquarters for companies from across the globe. Increasingly more Japanese companies are moving to Amsterdam with around 350 in numerous key industries already based here. These include well-known brands Hitachi, Yakult, Mitsubishi and the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, with clothing giant Uniqlo soon to join them. Amsterdam is ideally located to situate your European headquarters – award-winning Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is close to the city centre and hosts direct flights to Tokyo, Osaka and Fukuoka, while almost all important European destinations are less than two hours away by plane, car or train.
Healthcare in the Netherlands is rated the best in Europe, and among the best in the world. Residents have access to advanced treatments and preventative care, hospitals use the latest equipment and physicians are continually educated based on the latest medical insights. For Japanese nationals who prefer to use medical services in their own language, a few Japanese-language services are available. The Japan desk at Amstelland Hospital offers help to Japanese people who wish to use their medical services, while the Japan Expat Clinic offers medical check-ups and consultations in Japanese by a Japanese doctor. In collaboration with Amstelland Hospital, two doctors from Tokyo-based practice Roppongi Avenue Clinic organise individual and company health check-ups three times per year. For dental care, dental clinic Van Mill has two Japanese dentists and three assistants who can provide Japanese-language consultations.
Food and supermarkets
Whether you’re hankering after okonomiyaki, sushi, yakitori, ramen, or izakaya fare, Amsterdam has plenty of authentic Japanese restaurants that serve up food just as good as back home. For Michelin-starred haute cuisine, visit one of two Japanese restaurants (Teppanyaki Restaurant Sazanka and Yamazato Restaurant) at the five star Hotel Okura Amsterdam. Find your favourite snacks, homemade bento and onigiri, household goods, and fresh produce at specialist Japanese stores such as Shilla.
Men Impossible, Hazenstraat 19H, Amsterdam-Centrum
Ramen-Ya, Oudezijds Voorburgwal 236, Amsterdam-Center
Fou Fow Ramen, Elandsgracht 2A & Van Woustraat 3, Amsterdam
Sapporo Ramen Sora, Ceintuurbaan 49H, Amsterdam-Zuid
Culture and clubs
Socialise with Japanese and international friends alike at the many cultural events and clubs in the Amsterdam region – look out for Japan-themed festivals in Amsterdam and Amstelveen, too. The J-Dream Football Club offers children and adults the chance to play football in a Japanese-speaking environment, while the Japan Women’s Club helps to introduce its members to the culture of their new surroundings. Through its various activities that include charity activities, a craft club and Japanese conversation meetings, members can connect with Dutch locals.
Find out how IN Amsterdam can help international newcomers living and working in the Amsterdam Area.