Have you dreamt about moving to Europe and are not sure which country or city to move to? I had this same dream for many years and finally made it a reality! When it comes to choosing which country to move to, here are 22 reasons I decided to move to the Netherlands among the many European countries:
MAIN REASONS TO CONSIDER MOVING TO THE NETHERLANDS
1. Many English Speakers
The Dutch are well known for being some of the best non-native English speakers. This is a huge comfort in moving to or visiting a new country that allows for an easier transition into the new culture. Many of the government documents will still be in Dutch, but overall almost every in-person interaction will likely be in English in the bigger cities. For comparison, many other European countries require you to speak the local language in the corporate setting. I am now only fluent in English, which naturally limits my options. I plan to learn the local language and take courses while I’m there!
2. The Netherlands is part of the EU
If I want to stay in Europe long-term, I took a look at various passport and visa options. For this reason, I eliminated the United Kingdom due to Brexit. The Netherlands is part of the EU, making residency and long-term citizenship an appealing option! After 5 years, you can apply for residency.
3. You Can Gain Residency in 5 Years
If I choose to stay for the long term, The Netherlands offers a residency permit after 5 years that will be valid and available to renew every 5 years.
4. Increased Job Security
Many companies are headquartered here in the EU, which is excellent from an English-speaking perspective to get another job! This is also great if you plan to stay long-term and fully integrate into the culture where you have more options for English-speaking roles. In addition, the EU and the Netherlands have increased protection for employees in comparison to working in corporate America.
5. Self-Employment Visa & Work Treaty with the USA
If I ever considered going down the entrepreneur route, I could apply for this visa that would allow me to stay and work in the Netherlands legally.
6. One of the Happiest Countries in the World
The Netherlands consistently ranks in the top 10 (if not the top 5) countries in the world! Dutch children are also known as some of the happiest children in the world!
The Netherlands is mostly a safe country, commonly ranking in the top 20 safest countries in the world. From a statistical perspective and real-life experiences, I feel infinitely safer living in the Netherlands compared to living and traveling all across the USA.
8. Equality & Human Rights
The Netherlands was the first country to legalize gay marriage, offering amazing parental leave packages, women’s healthcare, and more benefits that make their citizens and residents feel safe and accepted.
9. Centrally Located
A great location with easy access for weekend trips to France, Brussels, Germany, Denmark, and Scandinavia, and a short flight from many European countries at an affordable price.
Amsterdam is home to over 170 nationalities, making it one of the most diverse cities in the world!
11. Huge Expat Community
About 10% of the population in Amsterdam are ex-pats and immigrants from all over the world! This is appealing to fellow ex-pats because you can make friends with people in a similar situation as you which is helpful in making friends from all over the world.
12. Human-Centric Cities (instead of being Car-Focused)
When it comes to urban planning, there have been many studies showing the benefits (mentally, physically, and financially) for people who live in walkable cities with reliable public transportation options.
13. One of the Most Active EU Countries
The Netherlands is one of the most active and fit countries in the European Union! From walkable cities to more bikes than humans in Amsterdam, the Dutch are always moving their bodies rain or shine!
14. The Airport
The Amsterdam airport is one of the busiest airports in the world with flights to more than 270 destinations worldwide! While the airport has been dealing with staffing issues throughout 2022, the close proximity to the city is only 20 minutes away (which is very close to the city compared to most)!
15. Huge Cruise Hub
Amsterdam is one of the largest cruise hubs in Europe with cruises traveling throughout Scandinavia, down the Rhine River, various river cruises, and more!
16. Countless Museums
There are 70+ museums in the Amsterdam area and 400+ museums throughout the Netherlands that you can visit. For locals, they offer a museum pass for about 65 euros per year, with a 4.95 euro discount if you renew it the following year.
17. Michelin Star Restaurants
There are more than 20 Michelin Star restaurants in the Amsterdam area covering a variety of cuisines for all the foodie lovers out there! Amsterdam offers countless amazing restaurants across many cuisines that will satisfy your cravings.
18. Tax Agreement and Benefits with the USA
For tax purposes, I wanted to make sure my entire paycheck wasn’t going to taxes in TWO countries. The United States has an agreement with The Netherlands where up to $120,000 USD [as of 2023] of your income is not taxed double.
19. 30% Tax Break
If you are a skilled worker, you can be eligible for a 30% tax break on your gross income to be tax-free from payroll and income tax for the first 5 years you are living there, which can save you THOUSANDS. There are many additional benefits of having the 30% ruling and being a highly-skilled migrant when it comes to various government-related items.
OTHER FUN FACTS
Some additional fun facts that I love about the Netherlands so far:
The Netherlands is the second largest exporter of tomatoes aka my favorite food! This one is more niche and one of my favorite fun facts about this beautiful country!
The country has prioritized sustainability and became a leader in reusing material waste, waste management, and its food system. From being the second largest exporter of tomatoes and numerous other vegetables, the Dutch take sustainable efforts to the next level.
Gin originates from the Netherlands in the 17th century and gin is my preferred spirit of choice! This means that you can find some incredible cocktails in the Netherlands, which is not always the case in many European countries.
I hope these tips help you decide which country could potentially be your new home and inspire you to take the next steps to make your dream of living abroad a reality! Follow along for more tips and tricks about moving abroad, ex-pat life, The Netherlands, weekend getaways from Amsterdam, European travels, and more as I live and experience all that my new home has to offer!