Planning to buy or rent a car but do not have a driving license?Here is our guide on how to apply for license.
Exchange Foreign Driving License Do you know that you can exchange the driving license of your country for a dutch driving license. Yes this is true !
How can you apply for the exchange? Walk-in at the city office(Gemeente) in person to apply for the exchange of license.(During Covid-19 situation, walk-in is closed so call the Gemeente and take an appointment) and bring all the documents with you.
What documents will you need for an exchange? You will need : – A foreign driving license(Make sure your name and address on driving license matches your proof of identification and the photo is clear enough to identify you) – An identification proof (preferably passport) – A Passport photo that meets official requirements(You can click this photo in any random photo booth available at train stations) – A copy of 30% ruling document(You can get this document from your employer or if you are working here in Netherlands, you can also request from belastingdienst/Tax authority). If you do not have a 30% ruling document, you cannot exchange the foreign driving license. Tip :Your dependent can also apply for an exchange on your 30% ruling document. – If the text on your driving license in not in English, then bring an official translation. – A certificate of fitness (Gezondheidsverklaring). You can purchase the Certificate of Fitness at a City Office. You can also purchase the certificate online via CBR using DigiD ID. The cost of certificate is € 37,80. Fill the form and send it to CBR online or via post for the certificate. You must take an appointment with the doctor if you are 75 years and above. Otherwise it is not needed.
How much does it costs? – The certificate of fitness costs € 37,80. – Exchange of driving license costs another €40.65+.
How long does it take? If your application is approved, you will receive a notice from the RDW to come collect your document within 2 to 4 weeks. You can then collect the dutch driving license from City Office(Gemeente) in person within 3 months. This is the same place where you submitted the application.
What happens to the foreign license? The original license or foreign license will be sent to the embassy of your country. You need to separately collect the license from there.
Apply a new dutch driving license (If not eligible for exchange) If you are not eligible for exchange, then you need to take up a theory and practical exam before applying for a driving license. You can find details on CBR.nl Theory exam must be passed before applying for practical exam. Theory exam will show that you recognize danger, well aware of traffic rules and traffic insights.Apply for theory exam here. Practical exam where you will be assessed by an examiner riding next to you in a car. Most people cannot pass this exam in one go. So be well prepared.
Gemeente? Wondering if that is the a new word which you do not know !
Ah, wondering what is Khe-meen-te? Do not worry about pronunciation. Gemeente is the dutch word for municipality or townhall. If you are relocating from abroad to Netherlands, you must register to the townhall as a resident. This is mandatory to get the BSN number(Burger Service Nummer). BSN is required for all the communications with the city and national government.
First time registration in the Netherlands? You must contact Gemeente within 5 days of arrival to schedule an appointment. For appointment, call the city’s gemeente office. The appointment will be taken place at city office. You must have a residential address where you can register.
Registering Children? Children who are 16 years or older can register themselves while the Children below 16 years of age needs to be accompanied by parent or guardian.
What are the documents needed? You need following documents for registration :
– A valid proof of identity (Preferably a passport) – Original and notarized copy of birth certificate(It was needed until year 2019 but a few townhall still ask for this document. Check with Gemeente when booking an appointment) – A document showing you have the right to live at your address. This could be either a rental contract, or buying agreement if you bought the house, a letter of permission from the house owner with a copy of their ID or an official letter from a housing corporation.
Have you been to Netherlands before? Are you registering again? You must contact Gemeente within 5 days of arriving Netherlands. You will need following documents : – A valid proof of identity (Preferably a passport) – A document showing you have the right to live at your address. This could be either a rental contract, or buying agreement if you bought the house, a letter of permission from the house owner with a copy of their ID or an official letter from a housing corporation. – Certificate to prove your marital status if that is changed or you have children.
Understand the country, the people and the culture of the Netherlands !
The Netherlands also called as Holland lies along the North Sea coast. The south of the Netherlands lies Belgium and east of Netherlands lies Germany. The capital of the Netherlands is Amsterdam, The Netherlands consists of 12 provinces as below with their individual capital cities.
Noord Holland – Haarlem
Limburg – Maastricht
Groningen – Groningen
Zuid Holland – Den Haag
Gelderland – Arnhem
Friesland – Leeuwarden
Zeeland – Middelburg
Overijssel – Zwolle
Flevoland – Lelystad
Noord Brabant – Den Bosch
Drente – Assen
Utrecht – Utrecht
12 provinces with capital cities
Around 27% of the Netherlands is below the sea level. There are many dijks or dunes. The most important cities are Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht.
Kingdom : The kingdom of Netherlands consists of The Netherlands and 6 Islands in the Caribbean sea – Aruba, Bonnaire, Curacao, Saba, Sint Maarten and Sint Eustatius.
Population : The population is around 16 million and more.
Religion: Culture of Netherlands is diverse. There is a freedom of religion in the Netherlands. Anyone can believe what they want.Most of the population do not believe in religion at all.
Language : The spoken language on television, schools, newspaper, books etc is dutch. The second language is Frisian(Friesland) which is an influence of French and English language.
Season : You can have all 4 seasons here at Netherlands. Summers are not too warm as the sea influences the weather(17 to 30 degrees). Winters are usually very cold(-2 to 10 degrees)
So you have reached Netherlands and you are wondering about all the essential things you need to do in your first week? Here is our quick guide on immediate steps you need to take upon arrival to the Netherlands.
Here is the list of 8 things you should know and do in your first week :
1. Collect your Resident Permit You wish to continue living in the Netherlands, then Resident Permit is the most imporant card. EU/EEA/Swiss nationals are free to come and live/work in the country. Everyone else needs a Resident Permit. Visit IND(Immigration and Naturalisation Service) office within 2 weeks of arrival. You have to arrange an appointment online at ind.nl At your appointment, fingerprints will be taken and resident permit will be processed.
2. Find a place to live The next one is to find a cosy place in the heart of The Netherlands. If you have already arranged a place before arriving to Netherlands, you can strike this step. If not, you can search the rental properties on the popular websites : funda.nl or pararius.nl You can also visit our next blog to find out more about this topic.
Tip :If you are hiring an agent for finding you a rental property, agent can claim a fees of upto Eur 250. It is not legal to ask for a fee more than this amount.
3. Register yourself to Gemeente Ah, wondering what is Khe-meen-te? Do not worry about pronunciation. Gemeente is the dutch word for municipality or town hall. If you are relocating from abroad to Netherlands, you must register to the town hall as a resident. This is mandatory to get the BSN number(Burger Service Nummer). BSN is required for all the communications with the city and national government. You must contact Gemeente within 5 days of arrival to schedule an appointment. For appointment, call the city’s gemeente office. The appointment will be taken place at city office. You must have a residential address where you can register(refer point 2). You need following documents for registration :
– A valid proof of identity (Preferably a passport) – Original and notarized copy of birth certificate(may or may not be needed. Check with Gemeente when booking an appointment) – A document showing you have the right to live at your address. This could be either a rental contract, a letter of permission from the house owner with a copy of their ID or an official letter from a housing corporation.
4. Get a BSN Number BSN number is Burger service nummer or citizen service number. It is a unique number for everyone who has dealings with Dutch government. You can and must use the citizen service number increasingly often, in dealings with your municipality, the hospital, schools, your employer or benefits agencies etc. Once you register yourself at Gemeente, you will get the BSN number on the spot.
5. Open a Bank account Thinking which bank should I open the account. Open a bank account with one of the leading banks of Netherlands : ABN AMRO, ING or Rabobank. Here is my tip :
– If you need a bank account to be opened with in a day, go for ING. – If you have enough time for the bank account and enough money with your credit card to spend, you can go for ABN AMRO Bank. ABN usually takes a week to open a bank account.
You will need a BSN number, your passport/ID, proof of address such as a rental contract and proof of income – employment contract to open the account. Book an appointment via call and visit a convenient local branch to make your application.
Tip : If you plan to travel a lot, apply for a credit card as well. A lot of travel sites only accept payment from credit card.
6. Apply for a Health Insurance If you are coming on work permit, usually your employer have applied for an insurance in advance. If not, you can also apply for the insurance in consulation with your employer or on your own. Allianz and CZ are two of insurance provider companies. Allianz for international travels, an insurance opted by a lot of employers. The health insurance company will require an address proof, your BSN number and a bank account for direct debit payments. You will receive a Dutch health insurance card shortly by post afterwards which will have your name, date of birth, BSN number and policy number.
Tip : CZ is the widely used health insurance in Netherlands. If you can, apply for CZ.
7. Register yourself at Huisarts What the hell is huisarts? General Practitioners(GPs) or family doctors are called huisarts. Most GP’s will only register you as their patient, if you live in the service area of their practice. That is because your GP must be able to reach your home address within 15 minutes in emergencies. As soon as you know where you will be living, you need to register with a GP practice. You may find a suitable practice by asking other internationals or by using websites like Zorgkaart or Kiesuwhuisarts. You will need a proff of identity, BSN number and health insurance card to register. Always call to book an appointment for huisart. If you call the GP’s office to make an appointment, the GP’s assistant, will ask questions in order to: – determine the urgency of your situation (and, in some cases, check if more immediate action is required) – to check whom you would need to see (a GP or a practice assistant)
However you can call emergency number 112 but it is not adviced to call emergency for minor problems.
Tip : Also Register yourself with a pharmacy near to where you live. Your doctor’s office will then know where to send prescriptions.Huisarts are usually open during the weekdays and closed on weekends or holidays.
8. Travel Card For local travel, you will need an OV-chipkaart. The OV-chipkaart is the payment method for public transport in the Netherlands. If you carry an OV-chipkaart with you, you no longer need to think about strip tickets or metro tickets. You load credit onto the card in Euro or add a travel product, such as a single journey, a monthly pass for commuting or a season ticket. There are two different cards: a personal OV-chipkaart and an anonymous OV-chipkaart.
Personal OV-chipkaart : If you often travel by public transport, the personal OV-chipkaart is convenient. You can add several travel products at the same time as well as using passes and age discounts.
Anonymous OV-Chipkaart : The anonymous card is not linked to an individual. So it is not possible to add passes to the card. The anonymous card can be used by more than one person, though not at the same time. This is very convenient for a family
9. Grocery Shopping AH(Albert Heijn), Jumbo, Dirk, Lidl are popular grocery shops within Netherlands. You will find atleast one with in or closer to your area. The payment can be made with cash or Dutch debit card.
Looking for a house/flat/apartment? Rental or to buy? Here is our perfect guide.
Where and how to find a house to live is always tiring for everyone. We will provide you an insight with the housing market within the Netherlands. It will make your efforts a bit easy with all the upcoming information you already have.
In Dutch, the frequently used terms are “Te huur” which means “To Rent” and “Te Koop” which means “To buy”. Do not overthink right now as we will take you a bit deeper into both the categories and also tips on how to search the dream house you are willing to rent or buy.
Rental Apartments/House(Te Huur) There are three types of apartments/houses to rent. Fully furnished, Semi or non furnished and Shell. Shell means the house/apartment does not have the floor or paint on the walls, kitchen appliances etc. Everything needs to be setup by the owner on his own expense.
If you are a student, you can also go for student hostels or share a room.
Apart from this, you can search the apartments from following facebook groups :
Amsterdam rent a room, partment or studio Rent in Amsterdam Amsterdam Housing Apartment Student Housing Amsterdam Facebook Marketplace
There are more facebook groups for popular cities.
Tip : 1) All the requests via above websites goes to real estate agents and they can only charge if you finalize the house/apartment. Agent fees can be upto Eur 250. 2) It is better to go for unfurnished apartment/house if you are here for a long term. You can buy all the required stuff second hand from facebook groups with a spending of no more than Eur 1000 and therefore save the extra money paying every month for the furnished apartment. 3) Always check if the rent is including utilities (gas, water, electricity) or without. 4) Carefully read your contract, Check for the notice period when leaving the house. In the contract it should not be more than one month. Also check if there is a minimum duration you need to rent the house.
Apartment/Houses to buy (Te Koop) You can either buy the one which are already listed on websites or via real estate agents. You can also go for a nieuwbouw apartments/houses which are newly built and the possession will be somewhere two years down the line. You can have a look at the available houses to buy at the Funda.nl
Hiring an agent in this case is best as per my experience.
Where can I find an overview of nieuwbouw in my city? You can have a look at housing section in gemeente website. Specifically for Amsterdam, you can subscribe Amsterdamwoont.nl for nieuwbouw apartment list or you can have also send an email to Zelfbouw@amsterdam.nl if you want to buy a land and build the house on your own.
Popular Cities The popular cities for renting or buying the apartment or house are Amsterdam, Amstelveen, Utrecht, Almere, Rotterdam, The Hague, Uithoorn and Haarlem. The public transport(Metro, Bus, Tram, Train) from all these cities is always great. You will reach most of the places within 15 to 45 min depending upon where you stay. These are the most popular cities therefore expensive too. You can expect Eur1500 to Eur 2000 for a 2BHK rental property.
Almere & Uithoorn are quite cheaper in comparison to the rest of the cities.