October 05, 2016 - Comments Off on Milburn Lewis – Making the Move Blog. Part V – Amsterdam, NDL

Milburn Lewis – Making the Move Blog. Part V – Amsterdam, NDL

Milburn Lewis is a recruitment business that conducts cross-border searches for our clients, the Big 4 and other international accountancy firms. Most of the professionals we work with are not just considering a career move, but also a relocation.

It has been a busy summer for us here at Milburn Lewis, but we’re welcoming back our successful ‘Making the Move’ blog series with a visit to one of Europe’s most vibrant and exciting cities – Amsterdam.

Welcome to the Netherlands

The Netherlands is the main constituent state of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It is one of Europe’s most popular tourist attractions and offers much in the way of history and beauty. In recent years it has also become an attractive location for the world’s young and ambitious professionals.

The Netherlands is a small, densely populated country in western Europe. It borders Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, and the North Sea to the northwest, sharing maritime borders with Belgium, the United Kingdom, and Germany. Due to its location on the North Sea, the Netherlands is home to Europe’s largest port and, as a result, has played a significant role in the European economy for many centuries.

Like many of the countries we’ve profiled, the Netherlands is a relatively small country at just over 41,500 km2, which is similar in size to Denmark and Switzerland. The total population is circa 17 million, with roughly 11 percent being “foreign-born”. The ethnic makeup of the Netherlands is therefore unsurprising: Dutch, 78.3 %; other EU, 5.9%; Turks, 2.3%; and Moroccans, 2.2%.

The official language of the Netherlands is Dutch. There are also languages that are classified as being regional to the Netherlands, which include English, Frisian, and Papiamento. According to government data, the Dutch is home to a high proportion of bilingual, trilingual, and multilingual people. As a result, professionals seeking a move to the Netherlands should find it relatively easy to assimilate into their new surroundings.

The Kingdom of the Netherlands is a unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy, with its political epicentre based in Amsterdam. The Dutch are well known for their multi-culturalism, welcoming nature, and desire for an excellent work life balance.

We’ve found that professionals have been attracted because of its strong economy and links to Europe’s largest markets. The Dutch economy has a high level of economic freedom. Its primary trading partners are Germany, Belgium, the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Italy, China, and Russia.

The Netherlands is also one of the world’s top 10 exporters. Its main industries are foodstuffs, chemicals, metallurgy, machinery, electrical goods, trades, services, and tourism. It is also home to some of the world’s largest and most successful brands: Randstad, Unileaver, Heineken, KLM, Royal Dutch Shell, Philips, and TomTom.

Being the 17th largest economy in the world, the Netherlands has much to offer early career professionals who are looking to enhance and grow their career, especially within the Big 4 environment. It also offers an excellent work life balance, which is becoming increasingly important for professionals at all stages of their career.

Living and Working in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is the capital and largest city in the Netherlands, with over 2.4 million people living in the metropolitan area and around 836,000 living in the city centre. Amsterdam is frequently referred to as the cultural hub of the Netherlands due to its diverse population, high levels of tourism, festivals, bars, restaurants, and museums.

Although Amsterdam is the largest city in NDL, it is still small compared to many other European capitals. Spread across over 219 km2 it is comparable to Lyon and Stockholm but is a lot more densely populated. The Netherlands, and Amsterdam in particular, is renowned for its public transport. The public transport card (OV-chipkaart) allows commuters to travel on trams, buses and metros, which makes commuting between the city centre and outer suburbs quick and painless.

As well as offering an exceptional work life balance, Amsterdam also presents professionals with fantastic opportunities for career development. In recent years, the Big 4 and Top 10 firms have all made clear their intentions of investing heavily in the Dutch economy, ensuring that these opportunities will be available in the long term.

Like most European cities we’ve explored, there is a healthy immigrant community in Amsterdam, attracting professionals and tourists from across the world. It is therefore highly likely that wherever you come from, you will find someone from your country of origin. This makes Amsterdam a great choice for professionals looking to make an international move.

The Practicalities: Right to Work

The Netherlands is a founding member of the European Union and therefore all citizens of EU member countries do not require a visa or work permit in order to travel, reside, or gain employment in the Netherlands. However, if you are a non-EU citizen the process can become a lot more complicated. As always, however, we would like to point out that it is not impossible to acquire a move for non-EU passport holders.

If you are a non-EU citizen, you are required to acquire an employment permit in order to work in the Netherlands. The easiest and quickest way to do this is by getting a company to sponsor you as a “highly skilled immigrant”. There are a number of stipulations that must be met in order for the Dutch government to approve your sponsorship:

  1. You must have been issued with an employment contract by the sponsoring company
  2. You must agree to take out healthcare insurance prior to arrival in the Netherlands
  3. If you are over 30 years of age, your salary must be over €4,240 per month
  4. If you are under 30 years of age, your salary must be over €3,108 per month

Many of these restriction do not apply for professionals taking roles that require advanced educational qualifications, i.e. PhD. However, given the salaries one might expect within the Big 4 or Top 10 firms, we believe that these requirements make a move to the Netherlands a real possibility and exciting opportunity.

The Practicalities: Cost of Living in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a city that is full of culture and excitement. Having had a great deal of development over the last decade, Amsterdam has established itself as one of Europe’s most attractive locations for tourists and professionals alike. However, this does mean that the cost of living is higher than some of capital cities across Europe.

We strongly believe that this shouldn’t dissuade you from making a move to Amsterdam, however. The feedback we’ve received from professionals we’ve placed at firms in the city is that these costs are more than mitigated by the high salaries, strong economy, and exceptional work life balance on offer.

Similar to most cities around the world, Amsterdam has its upmarket suburbs that are increasingly popular and therefore expensive. In such areas, professionals can expect to pay a monthly rent of on average €1,918 for a one-bedroom apartment. These areas are known to have a lively nightlife and will offer ample opportunities for socializing and networking with fellow professionals.

If this seems too exorbitant, it is possible to find city centre locations for around €1,502 per month. These areas are still considered lively, exciting, and safe – possibly suiting younger professionals who are making their first career move.

Regardless of where you chose to live in Amsterdam, the exceptional public transport offers quick and reliable commutes from most areas of the city – making Amsterdam a perfect choice for those professionals wanting to improve their work life balance. Compared to other cities, the public transport might be considered expensive: €118 for a monthly unlimited pass. However, the feedback we’ve received is that it is worth the cost and is clearly invested back into maintaining and enhancing the service.

Another thing to think about when considering a move is healthcare. In the Netherlands, all non-EU immigrants are required to obtain health insurance before arriving in the country, whereas EU citizens have four months to acquire coverage. The basic coverage in the Netherlands costs €100 and covers “general medical care, including medical specialists, hospital care, GP appointments etc.”

Like we’ve already said, the cost of living in Amsterdam is high but so is the quality of life, salaries, and opportunities for career advancement.

Concluding Remarks: Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Amsterdam is a city that offers Big 4 and Top 10 professionals the opportunity to work in a growing and thriving economy, advance their career, whilst simultaneously achieving an excellent work life balance. If you’re committed to a move to Amsterdam or simply curious to know more about our clients and the roles available, email info@milburnlewis.com.

Published by: Ian James in Blogs

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