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  • Writer's pictureSerge Gerritsma


Updated: Jul 18, 2023

Relocating to any country is a big step. Aside from all the cultural differences and language barriers the way the legal system and paperwork work are often different depending on the country. In this article, we will discuss the most important legal changes you will need to know about if you are planning to move to The Netherlands.

Health Insurance Unlike many other countries, like the USA, every resident of The Netherlands is required by law to have at least the standard bare minimum of health insurance. This can seem like a chore or unnecessary expense but people in The Netherlands respect this law and largely believe the government has their best interests at heart. Just keep in mind that at some point you are likely to require medical attention. So, how does it work? Well even for the cheapest health insurance you will need to pay a nominal premium. Depending on the insurance company it will cost approximately € 1,200 – € 1,450 per year. Also you will make an income-dependent contribution for The ZVW (Health Insurance Act), but this will usually be supplemented by your employer.

Visas and Work Permits The Netherlands has an approach to visas and work permits that might work in your favour. Residents of some countries are allowed to enter and work in The Netherlands without the need for either. These include: EU/EEA and Swiss nationals who don’t need anything other than their own national ID’s to work anywhere in the Netherlands and for those from Australia and Canada, only work permits are required. If you do need a visa as a working expat, they are inexpensive, usually costing around €300.

Laws Around Drugs Despite what you may have heard, drugs are not legal in The Netherlands. In fact, all the drugs that are illegal in your country are also likely to be illegal to produce, possess, sell, import and export in the Netherlands. The only small difference is that smoking cannabis is tolerated, but only under strict terms and conditions. Of course, this does not mean that most of the population of the country smoke weed a lot or even at all. It is just worth considering to avoid unwanted surprises.

Laws Around Cycling Cycling is extremely popular in The Netherlands with cities designed with bikes in mind. It may, therefore, come as a surprise to know that the only safety precautions you need to invest in before hitting the roads on your bike are a bell and lights, rightly or wrongly it is not a legal requirement to wear a helmet. The laws on the road are also different to most countries in The Netherlands as cyclists are granted the right of way. So please avoid walking on cycle paths and keep a close eye out for cyclists when driving.

Liberal Laws Around Prostitution One of the more liberal laws in The Netherlands is the approach the country takes to prostitution. The laws were relaxed to help the sex workers and their clients keep as safe as possible. This means that prostitution is only legal between two consenting adults who are of age. The government is also planning to increase the legal age for sex workers to over 21. Of course, just like drugs, this does not mean prostitution is a common part of most people’s

lives in The Netherlands.

From the cheapest health insurance to its more liberal laws, The Netherlands has a beautiful culture and society that is definitely worth experiencing. This article does not cover everything you need to know before you move, so make sure you do your research thoroughly to ensure you are fully prepared to make the most of this amazing country.

Please do no hesitate to contact us if you have questions:

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