Working in the Netherlands

Information for international students

As an international student it might be difficult to find a job in the Netherlands. Besides, students from non-EU countries first need a work permit before they can work legally. If you do wish to look for a student job in the Netherlands, there is a number of things you should know.

Dutch insurance required

If you wish to work in the Netherlands, even part-time, Dutch Basic healthcare insurance is required. Information on this type of insurance can be found here:

Do I need a work permit?

Whether or not you need a work permit to work in the Netherlands depends on your nationality.

  • Citizens of Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom

You do not need a work permit and there are no restrictions to the number of hours you can work.

  • Citizens of other countries

You do need a work permit. It is free of charge. Dutch law restricts the numbers of hours you may work in the Netherlands. Every calendar year, you must make a choice between:

  • (full-time) seasonal work in the months of June, July and August or
  • part-time work throughout the year, but no more than 10 hours a week.

You cannot do both. In Dutch a work permit is called aTewerkstellingsvergunning, often abbreviated to TWV. Your employer or employment agency must apply for a work permit at the UWV WERKbedrijf(formerly Centre for Work and Income, CWI), tel: 079-750 2903. You cannot do this yourself. A copy of the front and back of your residence permit for study purposes and proof of enrolment must accompany the application for a work permit. It will take the UWV WERKbedrijf 1 to 2 weeks to process the application. Your work permit will be valid for the same time period as your registration at the University. You will therefore need to request a new work permit if you renew your registration at the University.

Working after graduation

Information about a search year permit and how to apply for this permit, highly skilled migrants scheme and finding a job is available through the link below.

Citizen Service Number (burgerservicenummer)

If you wish to work in the Netherlands you will need a Citizen Service Number (burgerservicenummer - BSN). A BSN is a personal tax and social security number. Every person residing in the Netherlands must have one. You will automatically receive a BSN when you register at the City Hall. There is no way of receiving a BSN without registering at the City Hall.

How to find a job

You can find information on working in the Netherlands in:

  • The Holland Handbook, Xpatmedia, ISBN 90 5594 3010
  • Looking for Work in The Netherlands, by Nannette Ripmeester, Expertise in Labour Mobility, ISBN 90 5896 0145

These books are available for student use at the documentation centre of the Service and Information Centre, Binnengasthuisstraat 9, Amsterdam.

If you speak a European language, you may be able to find a job at one of the numerous call centres in Amsterdam. There are several employment and recruitment agencies which work with international students that can be easily found by searching the Internet.

StudieJob is a temporary job service directly affiliated with the UvA. You can learn more about their services in the link below.

Traineeship and internship regulations

An internship is any work placement or practical training arrangement designed to give you practical experience in the discipline or field that you are studying.


UvA students from Croatia or from outside the EEA do not need a work permit for an internship. You will however need a formal traineeship agreement between the trainee, the traineeship provider and the UvA.

The traineeship provider must be able to present this agreement to the Labour Inspectorate if asked to do so. Use of this traineeship agreement is therefore not optional: it is compulsory.

Students from the EEA, with the exception of Croatia, do not need this agreement.

Internship and taking out insurance

For most internships, having student insurance is sufficient. However, when the financial compensation you receive for your internship is more than €150 per month, or €1,500 per calendar year, it is considered ‘wage’, and you need to take out Dutch basis healthcare insurance. Basic healthcare insurance is more expensive than private insurance, costing around €1,100 a year. 

Published by  Studenten Services

9 April 2014