The Netherlands: a hotspot for expats

On January 5, 2016 by Dutch Umbrella Company

Expats love the Netherlands, with its many well-paid and challenging jobs, as well as companies, organisations, knowledge and research institutions with an international focus. This is a country where innovation is nurtured and ambitious start-ups abound. The Dutch boast an excellent knowledge of the English language and a clear international outlook. Moreover, from a cultural point of view, the Netherlands is a very diverse country, offering countless entertainment possibilities, with clubs and associations to suit every taste. Expats with children can count on an excellent educational system. And last but not least, its central location in Europe, with the major international airport of Schiphol, makes the Netherlands the ideal base to explore the whole of Europe. After all, Paris, London, Berlin and many other major European cities are only a few hours away.

The expats in the Netherlands: who are they?

Expats are people who were born and raised in a different country. They generally have good salaries, which exceed those of most regular employees, and they work for companies with an international focus. They are highly qualified and well trained, and they boast skills and capabilities that are in high demand, but relatively scarce. Expats are not here to stay; they tend to eventually return to their home countries or explore new ventures.

Expats are generally ‘knowledge migrants’. Family members aged 18 or older and students are also considered expats. According to the most recent figures from Statistics Netherlands, most expats are male. In fact, in early 2012, the Netherlands hosted 35,000 male expats and 22,000 female expats. Most expats are young, with over 75% aged 18 to 40. Only 8% of all expats is over 50. More than one third is single. Most of the expat couples that head to the Netherlands have children.

Moreover, figures from Statistics Netherlands show that in early 2012 (the last official census), the Netherlands hosted roughly 40,000 to 75,000 high-salary employees born abroad. That being said, it is not easy to pinpoint the exact number, because there is no clear and uniform definition of salaries and qualifications, among others.

Where do these expats come from?

A quarter of all expats in the Netherlands come from Germany or the UK, followed by France and Poland. Indians are the most highly qualified expats from outside the EU, followed by Americans.

Where do these expats live and work?

It surely comes as no surprise that most expats work in the provinces of North and South Holland, namely in and around the cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague. 64% of expats also live in the so-called Randstad, which consists of the urban agglomerations of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht. Amsterdam is the financial and cultural centre of the Netherlands, The Hague is the political centre with many international administrative institutions, and Rotterdam boasts the largest port in Europe, with the surrounding industry also playing an important economic role.

However, all university cities, including Groningen and Nijmegen, are preferred spots for expats. The Eindhoven region, with its High Tech Campus, is an important centre of innovation and a hotspot for start-ups thanks to its international entrepreneurial culture, which attracts many highly qualified and talented experts. Maastricht, on the other hand, hosts many knowledge workers from neighbouring Belgium and Germany.

What do expats need?

The Dutch Umbrella Company has joined forces with various partners to set up a platform where expats can find all the information they need to live and work in the Netherlands. Our blog posts deal with a variety of topics, from finding suitable accommodation to career opportunities, education and Dutch legislation.


If you have any questions do not hesitate to contact the Dutch Umbrella Company at, which specialises in assistance to foreign knowledge workers in all things HR. We’re here to help!