If you decide on one of your Amsterdam tours that the place is good enough to move to, there are many things, you should know before committing to it completely. These are mainly things you would need to be aware of as an American expat.
The People & Culture
- There are expats communities aplenty in the country. This includes people who study or work there.
- The Dutch are particular about appearances, and so they are always well groomed when out in public.
- Most parties last till dawn, and you do not have to pay a cover fee.
- They value the norms in Amsterdam, meaning you will not win friends by standing out.
- It is expected to make an appointment even to hang out with a friend.
- Customer service leaves much to be desired. This is because most waiters earn a lot more than minimum wage.
- There is very little crime, and a lot of people think it is because very few things are prohibited here.
- The Netherlands has many opportunities for English speaking expatriates with a good education. Several English-speaking MNCs have their offices in the expat city hubs.
- You get 30 days paid leave every year, which is besides the national holidays.
- With a system that supports employees more than employers, it is almost impossible to get laid off. If you do manage it, the unemployment benefits can tide you over for months.
- The income taxes are high. For a person making 80,000 Euros yearly, the tax can go over 40%. Filing through the Dutch tax bureau (Belastingdienst) can also be a hassle.
- Steep road taxes exist, and apply to you no matter whether you drive or not.
- The Netherlands has an advanced education system, and many universities. The programs tend to be well structured and beneficial, with a lower competition level than you would see stateside.
- Student life is great here, with all sorts of activities to keep you occupied most of the time, as well as parties and tones of socializing.
- Students can avail attractive financial aid packages from the government with loan interest rates as low as 3-5% and up to 10 years to repay loans.