Accommodation in the Netherlands
Internationals often start their assignment in a temporary accommodation such as a hotel or serviced apartment. Depending on the expected length of stay, family size, personal preferences, budget and availability of suitable accommodation, you can choose either to rent or to buy a property afterwards.
The best way to get a feeling for the market is by looking at websites like Funda (English and Dutch), Jaap (only in Dutch). Although these websites can give you a start, it is difficult for foreigners to understand the Dutch market and regulations. Seeking advice is recommended.
Living in the Zeeuws-Vlaanderen part of Zeeland is special by its unique location between the Westerschelde and Flanders. Although the charms of the water and the Southern neighbours are always noticeable, in daily life everything just runs its course, only it is all a little less hectic in this area. There are no traffic jams, there is less crime and the people do care for each other.
See also Onbegrensd Zeeuws-Vlaanderen Wonen
Renting a House
For assignments of less than three years, renting is probably the best option. Rental costs are fixed, contracts can be ended if you need to go back home and repairs and maintenance are the property owner's responsibility.
Houses for rent are available in three different states of furnishing:
- Unfurnished - There are no carpets, curtains, light fittings, etc., though there probably will be a fitted kitchen. Built-in appliances such as a cooker and possibly a fridge or dishwasher may be present.
- Softly furnished - The fittings will include carpets and curtains.
- Furnished - generally including appliances, cutlery, crockery, bed linnen, etc.
Handy to know:
- You will pay the rent in advance on a monthly basis.
- A month’s rent as deposit is common. Some landlords require two months rent. The deposit will be refunded as soon as possible after the lease has been ended.
- Major maintenance is the responsibility of the property owner, minor repairs are your own responsibility.
Estate agents and housing agencies manage private rental housing. The rental price for these houses can be considerably higher than accommodation found through a municipal housing agency or a housing association.
Dutch housing rental contracts generally consist of the actual contract plus "General Terms and Conditions".
Major points to look for in the contract are:
- The correct rental price ( and whether it includes service charges and energy bills, etc.).
- The correct deposit.
- The correct date of entry.
- Duration of the contract. Most are fixed for one year with a notice period of one (1) month from either party thereafter. If the house belongs to someone who might want it back at an inconvenient time (e.g. someone on assignment outside the Netherlands), it may be better to have a clause in the contract.
- Who is responsible for maintenance and repairs? Make sure it is clear who looks after the garden as well as the building.
- A “diplomatic clause”. It is advisable for expats to insist on a clause allowing to break the contract quickly if they need to return to their home country unexpectedly.
- The rental contract is mostly written in Dutch. If you have the assistance of a Relocation Service Company, ask for an English translation. Sometimes the owner may have this too.
See section I am a partner for more information
Buying a House
When buying property in the Netherlands, the buyer has several rights which should be taken into account. According to Dutch law, the purchase of real estate is bound by legal formalities.
The purchase of a house or an apartment must be written down in a contract in order to be legally valid. A verbal offer is not binding. Therefore, it is important that agreements regarding the purchase of a house or an apartment are drawn up in a contract as precisely as possible. A notary can assist you with this.
When you have bought a property, you are given three (3) days during which you are allowed to reconsider your purchase. This period of reflection starts the day after you receive the purchase contract, which has been signed by both parties: the buyer and the seller. This period is meant to prevent one from making a rash decision, which could bring significant financial consequences.
As an international/expat (EU or non-EU), the following conditions apply:
- You have a valid residence permit.
- You are from an European country, have lived in the Netherlands for over six months and have a permanent employment contract or letter of intent from your employer.
- You are from a non-European country, but you are recognized as a highly skilled migrant by the Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND). As a highly skilled migrant, the same regulations as an European expat applies to you.
See section I am a partner for more information
In the Netherlands you pay for electricity, gas and water. Most utilities in the Netherlands are sold in a "free market system". This means there are a number of suppliers competing with each other to supply private and business customers. Exception to this is water and each property has a designated supplier. When you move into your new home, the power and gas meters need to be read. Your real estate agent can usually help you complete this.
Facts: Electricity is 220 V, 50 Hz. The most common heating is natural gas or electrical floor heating.
You can organize your fixed telephone line by visiting a phone shop. Take your passport, residence permit, bank account number and address with you. Please note that telephones in the Netherlands use different connector plugs to many other countries, which means phones bought outside the Netherlands may not work without an adaptor or a new plug.
All mobile phones will work in the Netherlands. Even if you have a mobile phone from your home country, it is still advisable to switch to a Dutch SIM card upon arrival and to be sure that you will not pay more for your calls.