A tech nerd’s guide to moving to Holland to work

If, like me, you have friends who have lived the ‘digital nomadic life’, you probably understand the tinge of jealousy you get when you see Instagram stories of their weekend bike ride to a secluded beach or their Friday work drinks aboard a boat, the cruiser. through historical channels.

After this long period of lockdowns and quarantine, the itching to travel and experience new things has become even stronger. Fortunately, if you work with technology, the overwhelmingly high demand for talent means you do not have to be an armchair traveler much longer.

The growth of mini startup ecosystems, digital transformation movements across corporate enterprises and the emergence of the globe-trotting entrepreneur mean that there is literally a world of opportunities.

It may seem daunting to pick up and move to a completely different country, but some governments are now deliberately breaking down bureaucratic obstacles in an attempt to attract more technological talent.

One such country is the Netherlands, which recently launched a new Welcome to the Netherlands platform to attract people with skills to contribute to digitization, energy transition and the development of new technologies.

Rutger de Graaf, Advisor International Startups and Talent at Netherlands Point of Entry, told TNW:

The aim of the Welcome to the Netherlands platform is to inform international talents interested in working in the Netherlands about everything they need to know, from everyday life to visa schemes and from social activities to innovative sectors with challenging job openings.

When looking for a new home base, it is important to start by doing your homework. What options are available? Will there be room for market growth in your sector? How will life be outside of office hours?

Whether you are a person looking to find work abroad or an entrepreneur looking to start a business, de Graaf TNW let you know how to get started planning your move to the Netherlands.

Dutch life, cheese and clogs are just bonuses

The Netherlands is known for both its historical channels, but also its pioneering technology scene. It is home to global success stories such as Booking.com, Takeaway.com, ASML, Messagebird, Catawiki, Mosa Meat, Galapagos, Molli and Adyen. Within this environment, tech startups and scaleups have emerged faster than tulips.

A fast-growing technology market, a digitalized economy and strong ambitions to tackle climate change mean that there is a great demand for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills among Dutch companies.

In fact, the demand for tech talent in the Netherlands has doubled, according to TecBridge, resulting in 26 vacancies for every job-seeking tech employee. It sounds like pretty good odds for people with the right skills if you ask us.

According to De Graaf, “the latest report from the Developer Happiness Index published on the technology website Honeypot has shown that developers in the Netherlands are among the happiest in the EU.” And it’s not that strange. Studies such as the OECD Better Life Index show that the Netherlands is also one of the best places in the world for work-life balance.

As something de Graaf can attest to, “the Dutch open-mindedness is something that many technicians find comfortable.”

In fact, on Friday afternoon, everyone is expected to shut down their laptops and join the team for a drink (yes there is a specific word for Friday drinks in Dutch). And if you do not drink, you can instead indulge in the glorious Dutch bitterball.

If this sounds like your kind of work environment, it’s time to get down to the details.

Find the visas and work permits you need

Navigating the local visa requirements is never as easy as it sounds. What kind of documentation do you need? How easy is it to get a visa for your partner or children? Can your partner work in your new country?

It usually takes hours of going through government and embassy websites, comparing information and tracking obscure papers until you finally choose to hire an immigration lawyer.

That’s why the Welcome to the Netherlands platform has a handy section that gathers the various information you need to apply for a visa and what you need to know when you get there. (Did you know that the Netherlands offers highly educated immigrants a 30% tax rebate order?) This includes contact information at local specialist authorities.

de Graaf says:

Ultimately, you will depend on the government of the country you are migrating to for information, visas, support and the whole migration process itself. It is therefore important to find a government that is available and actively pursuing to facilitate a comfortable and smooth migration process.

Find the right (work) challenge for you

It is not only the capital Amsterdam that has a vibrant and growing technology scene. Other regions in the Netherlands are being put on the map for specialized industries, such as the Brainport area with its semiconductor industry, the healthcare technology sector in Groningen and the (digital) security delta in The Hague.

The Welcome to the Netherlands platform provides detailed information on everything you need to know, depending on the type of work you intend to perform, the sector you want to work in and exactly where this sector is flourishing.

In addition to the platform, there are also a number of expat centers set up specifically to give international talent a soft landing in the country.

If you want to get to the Netherlands, but you’re still looking for a job, check out The TechLeap jobboard, which provides an overview of all startup and scaleup jobs in the Netherlands.

A great place too for entrepreneurs

The fast-growing technology sector, innovative startup scene and balanced lifestyle have attracted talents from all over the globe to Holland. In fact, Amsterdam is among the top 20 startup locations for finding tech talent. All these elements make the Dutch ecosystem a great place for international founders to launch their startup.

The government is constantly introducing new opportunities to help entrepreneurs hire international tech talent. An example that de Graaf has shared with us is the recently launched residence permit for essential start-up staff, which:

… Enables startups to hire employees based on familiar work structures, including the ability to reward employees with stock options instead of just higher salaries. The stock options will be able to reduce a high wage burden in the start-up phase and motivate key employees. The Netherlands is the first country in Europe with such a residence permit.

If you are curious to learn more about the many incentives and benefits this country has to offer both technical talent and entrepreneurs, check out the Welcome to the Netherlands platform here.

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