Can’t wait to move to Amsterdam or the Netherlands? I totally understand. Here is the checklist to ensure your first week goes as smoothly as possible!
[Related post: Reasons why I moved to Amsterdam, my story]
#1 City Hall Registration
Everyone in the Netherlands should be registered at the city hall (Dutch: Gemeente). Each city has only one city hall, but if you live in big cities like Amsterdam and Rotterdam, there are multiple city halls. You can find one that is closest to your home address.
🔥 All government official documents are sent to the registered address. You can request to another address unless you change the registered address.
🔥 In addition, you will get BSN (Dutch: burgerservicenummer), the social security number.
What do you need to bring?
- Passport Photo
- Rental agreement to prove that you can register at this address legally.
- Birth of Certificate (some city halls need it, some do not, please check with the city hall first)
After the registration
You will receive mail from the city hall confirming that you are officially registered. Please keep this document since it has your social security number (BSN).
🔥 If you live in big cities like Amsterdam, make an appointment. As far as I extended, the waiting time is long.
#2 Get Health Insurance (Zorgverzekering)
Per Dutch law, every person over 18 years old should get Health Insurance. Once you move to the Netherlands, you must get health insurance as soon as possible.
Suppose you register at the city hall on the 1st of March but apply for health insurance from the 1st of August. Most likely, the health insurance company will ask you to start your insurance on the 1st of March because you officially live in the Netherlands from the 1st of March, and per local law, every person needs health insurance.
How to choose the best health insurance package for you?
There are over 100 insurance companies offering health insurance in the Netherlands. This post shares how you can choose the package that suits you the best and meets the local requirement.
Can I change the health insurance packages?
You can only change your insurance packages in January and December, and not possible to change them during the year.
For example, if you are currently insured with insurance company A in 2021, but if you want to insure with insurance company B. You can only change the health insurance packages between December 2022 and January 2023.
Therefore, knowing how much risk you can take and your plan for the next year is very important. This post shares all the essential things before paying for your Dutch health insurance.
#3 Get your mobile SIM card
Whether you are in the Netherlands for work or study, it is essential to have a dutch mobile phone number.
If you don’t want a contract with telecommunication companies, having a prepaid card is a good idea first.
I highly recommend Lebara since you can top it up whenever you want, and it’s cheap with excellent coverage. It only costs you less than ten euros per mon, and you can try it for one month and see if you like it.
If you prefer to have
#4 Open a bank account
Having a Dutch bank account is vital once you move to the Netherlands. More and more shops only accept debit cards for payment. In addition, there is no extra cost if you use a local bank account for online shopping.
Things to know about opening a Dutch bank account
Have your dutch mobile phone number ready. If you don’t have it when opening the bank account, you can provide this information later, but you must revisit the bank.
Once you open the dutch bank account, you will get three letters by post from the bank:
- Your physical debit card
- Your debit card password
- Information about your online banking account
#5 Sign your Rental Agreement
If you haven’t signed the rental agreement, it is essential to do so.
When I first moved to the Netherlands, I had already paid the deposit and signed the digital document, but I was asked to sign the document again upon arrival.
🔥 The housing market is in severe shortage across the big cities in the Netherlands. Please make sure you can get housing first. If you cannot find accommodation, you can find a short stay at The Student Hotel, which has housing for study and work.
#6 Get your residence permit
If you are not from Schengen Area, most likely, you first have an MVV visa. The Dutch Immigration Office (IND) will mail you the time to collect your residence permit.
If you still do not hear from IND after two months, please contact IND immediately. It is essential to follow up on this. Don’t be shy. Just call them and ask.
#7 Register at General Practitioners (Dutch: huisart)
If you want to get medical support, the first point of contact is General Practitioner (Dutch: huisart). Therefore, be sure to register once you move to the Netherlands.
Suppose you are an international student of Dutch higher education; there is no need to do so since every school has one. Please check with your school about it.
I hope this helps!