Frequently Asked Questions about the Netherlands

Do expats need to speak Dutch?

Need would be too strong a word, and it depends on how long expats intend to stay. The answer is yes for those who want to settle in the Netherlands. Most Dutch people can and are happy to speak English, but the language is an essential tool for expats who wish to establish local relationships and navigate Dutch culture.

Are the Dutch friendly?

Expats in the Netherlands often criticise the Dutch for being closed to new arrivals. People make appointments to visit each other and the office culture can be difficult to penetrate. It’s more common for expats to make friends with other expats. Having children or a big passion for a sport or activity makes it much easier to meet others.

Do expats need a car in the Netherlands?

No. Public transport in the Netherlands is effective and affordable. There are few locations not on the grid, with most cities and towns connected by road or rail links, and within the major cities there are extensive, rail, bus and tram services. The only caveat is that anyone living in rural areas might need a car, but there's very little of the country that can be described as rural.

Is the Netherlands safe?

Generally, yes. Violent crime rates are low, and people are generally safe walking alone in the streets. But there is one crime in the Netherlands that afflicts no other country to the same extent: bicycle theft. Pickpocketing is fairly common in crowded tourist areas and expats should be wary of anyone brushing past or bumping into them, as they may well be searching for valuables. 

Where are the best places for an expat to live in the Netherlands?

The Randstad, which incorporates Amsterdam, The Hague, Utrecht and Rotterdam, is the most popular area for expats to live in the Netherlands. Almost everyone here speaks English.