There are several different types of internships that you can take on as a student or graduate:
- 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.
Opportunities for interns
Did you know that there are more than 500 European and global headquarters in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area? In addition, Dutch companies are among the world's most internationally minded businesses, meaning there is a large pool of potential employers that you can make an impression on. Find out more on the Study in Holland website.
Remember that many companies are willing to take on enthusiastic interns, but don’t necessarily advertise the positions. It is well worth getting in touch with companies that you would like to work for one day – in any case, they will be impressed with your initiative.
Find out about Orientation Year permits for recent graduates.
Internships at the City of Amsterdam
The City of Amsterdam (Gemeente Amsterdam) has plenty of opportunities for interns. In fact, over 1,800 students a year undertake internships at the organisation.
The City of Amsterdam has seven city districts: Centre, Nieuw-West, Noord, Oost, West, Zuid and Zuidoost. Each district has its own City Office (stadsloket) that mainly focuses on city policies such as passport and permit applications, but they also work on implementing the city’s social healthcare, youth, employment and housing policies.
International internships are typically in departments such as spatial planning and sustainability, city archiving and economics, and every intern is assigned to a mentor and programme that matches their educational background. Check out amsterdam.nl (Dutch link) for information on current vacancies for internships. Alternatively, you can send an open application via this open vacancy (Dutch link) and the advisors will try to find a match that fits your profile.
Start your search
These agencies specialise in connecting interns with companies and can help you to get a foot in the door.
Graduateland - jobs and internships specifically targeted towards recent graduates
Stagemotor - an interning recruitment company based in the Netherlands (in Dutch)
Stage Plaza - the biggest interning job board in the Netherlands (in Dutch)
Europlacement - a search engine for internships and graduate positions across Europe
Jobted - an English website that collates listings for internships
Magnet.me - a job search site, including internships and trainee opportunities
Stagelanden - offers information on internships in the Netherlands and abroad
Things to do before you start your internship
There are many formalities to settle before your internship can begin. Start with organizing your visa and residence or work permit. 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. Read our guide on steps to study in Amsterdam to get the full scope of what actions are required from registering with the municipality and getting a BSN number to finding housing and learning Dutch.