You are probably reading this blogpost because you are thinking about moving to Amsterdam. First of all, I can tell you: Don’t hesitate, just do it!
For sure there is a lot to organize in advance. Finding a job, accommodation, adapting to a new environment and leaving a lot at home.
But don’t worry, I guarantee you: This is all worth it, Amsterdam is amazing!
With this guide, I will help you to get the most important things done before coming here so that you don’t need to stress out when arriving!
Finding an internship in Amsterdam
The first thing you need to look for when moving to a new place is a way to earn money.
If you are a student, you can look for an internship online. Good news, if you study in a country within the European Union: You will be able to receive Erasmus funding!
The Erasmus program gives students the opportunity to study or intern in other European countries between two and twelve months. All you need to do to receive the Erasmus grant is to find an internship that is related to your studies, apply to your university and fill in the required paperwork.
Currently, you will receive between 400-500 euros per month when doing an internship in the Netherlands. Of course, expenses differ from city to city and Amsterdam is one of the most expensive cities in the Netherlands, but as long as you are aware of this in advance, you can prepare yourself for it.
Out of my own experience I would say that chances to find a suitable internship in Amsterdam are quite high, since many big businesses as well as SMEs have their headquarters here. I would recommend that you think about what you expect to get out of your internship beforehand.
Have you already gained some work experience and do you like to work in a corporate environment? Then, big companies like Heineken, booking.com or PVH are some examples of companies where you can look for internships. However, if you feel like you would like to work for a rather small company with a familiar environment and a relaxed atmosphere, maybe a start-up would suit you more.
Did you know we are always searching for new team members with new and innovative ideas to join our beloved StuDocu team?
Just check out our website and maybe we will see you in our office soon!
Other websites I recommend searching on are https://www.indeed.nl/Internship-vacatures, https://careers.linkedin.com/students/Internships and https://www.glassdoor.nl/Vacature/amsterdam-student-internship-vacature
Looking for an apartment
To be honest, this will be the trickiest part you have to face when preparing and organizing everything. Finding a flat in Amsterdam is not easy. However, don’t worry! With a lot of research and some helpful tips, you will for sure find a nice place to stay.
The first thing I did when I started to look for a place to stay was reading advertisements in facebook groups. Facebook groups like ‘Kamer gezocht’ (https://www.facebook.com/groups/405276586256037/) are very active and more than 50 ads are placed per day.
However, my excitement level about these groups went down after having read the first sentences which most of the time said +22 Dutch female only, Dutch native speaker, etc. The few suitable adverts I found had around 100 comments and the direct messages I wrote, were in most cases not even read.
Admitting that I had to change my strategy, I began to search on a website a Dutch friend of mine recommended: Kamernet.nl (you can find it here: https://kamernet.nl/en). In order to subscribe, you need to pay a little amount of money. I can really recommend this page because you can write a short text about yourself saying why you come to Amsterdam and what you intend to do there so that landlords can also approach you, and at the same time look for adverts yourself. Since this platform is not free, less people search for a flat there so the competition is not comparable to the one in the Facebook groups.
Another important thing I would recommend you to do before actively looking for a place to stay, is to make sure that the address is not too far from the company you will work at, as taking the tram or the bike for long distances every morning can get very exhausting.
Now we come to the rather unpleasant part about living in this amazing city, th rental prices. Rent is high and way more expensive than in other European cities.
I would compare the rental prices in Amsterdam with the ones in Paris, so around 700-900 euros for a room in a shared apartment in the center is very common. However, there is also the option of searching for accommodation in the suburbs of Amsterdam like Diemen or Amstelveen – either way, investing some time in research will be worth it!
Registration: What is that?
When reading advertisements of potential flats, you will for sure read: ‘No registration possible’. But what is registration and what do you need it for?
Once you arrive in the Netherlands (EU national or not), you MUST register at the town hall in the area in which you are living in. You can choose whether to register temporary for 4 months or permanently with your address. The temporary registration does not require an address, whereas you need to register with your address for the permanent registration.
When having registered, you will receive a BSN number. The citizen service number (BSN) is a unique personal number allocated to everyone registered in the Personal Records Database and facilitates any interaction with the Dutch authorities: starting a job, opening a bank account, using the health care system and much more.
You don’t need to register before starting your internship so don’t worry: You can make an appointment at the “Gemeente” after having arrived!
For more information about registration you can visit https://www.amsterdam.nl/en/civil-affairs/first-registration/.
How to bike like a local
Cycling in Amsterdam is not a way of transportation, it’s a lifestyle.
Fun Fact: There are more bikes than people in the Netherlands. The country has around 17 Million citizens, however, counts more than 22 million bikes.
Bikes are everywhere and riding a bike is an essential experience- and for sure the fastest way of transportation. However, you should not underestimate the traffic in Amsterdam. During rush hours between 8 and 9 am and between 5 and 6 pm biking can become dangerous due to many people on the road, but don’t worry: most Dutch car drivers have a good awareness of cyclists and will give way when necessary.
The most important thing, however, is to always lock your bike. With so many bikes around it’s not surprising to note that bike theft in Amsterdam is a common thing – over 200 bikes are stolen per day.
New bikes are expensive, even second hand bikes often cost between 100 and 200 euros. Expats should therefore consider to join the OV-Fiets national bike rental scheme (you can read more about it here: https://www.amsterdamtips.com/ov-fiets).
Dutch course necessary in Amsterdam?
Out of my own experience I can say that it is not necessary to learn Dutch in advance. Almost everyone speaks English, which is a big plus when moving here. Most companies operate on an international level with many expats- Even movies, books or menus in restaurants are most of the time available in English.
If you want to learn Dutch before arriving in the Netherlands, check out Bart de Pau from “Learn Dutch” (and their Youtube channel), they’ve got good tutorials and plenty of entertaining videos which you can find here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3&v=irA_8CEQtzQ
Be prepared for Dutch weather
The weather in the Netherlands is unpredictable.
It is not uncommon that you can see 4 different icons in a weather forecast in one day: sun, rain, clouds and wind! Rain is a big matter in the Netherlands and it happens often that you leave the house having sunshine, and 5 minutes later it rains heavily.
However, preparation is everything: Buy yourself a rain coat and start making conversations with Dutch people! They love talking about the weather. Take this opportunity to practice some Dutch. “Wat een weertje!”, small talk was never that easy!
Doing an internship abroad is an enriching experience that will help you grow more independently and help you to find out more about your career path. Great architecture, open skyline, rich history, and a relaxed, easy going attitude towards life – Amsterdam is an amazing, international and beautiful city you will enjoy for sure!