Imagine paying 52% taxes, and still loving where you live. Sound impossible?
Talk to expatriates who have settled in Amsterdam.
“I’m in the 52% bracket and I don’t have a problem with it because the services are so generous,” said American art designer Rachel Ericson. “I live in a beautiful city, my kid goes to a good school (and) health insurance is so much less than in the US.”
Ericson is just one of many expatriates who now call Amsterdam their home.
They were lured by the 1000s of jobs available in technology, oil and other industries. They have stayed for the great benefits — despite the fact that Amsterdam has one of the highest tax rates in Europe.
“I know if something happened to me tomorrow, the system is in place to take care of me and my family, so I’m not worried,” said Ericson, who works for the Dutch media consulting firm Van Gaal & Company.
The Netherlands consistently ranks in the top 10 of the world’s happiest nations, according to research by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Those benefits seem to filter down to foreigners who have come to the region for work. A recent HSBC survey ranked the Netherlands as the sixth-best place in the world to be an expat, citing the duration respondents stay in the country and their ability to earn and save.
Considering a move to Amsterdam? Here’s how to get hired and settled in one of the continent’s most livable capitals.
The job hunt
The best place to begin a job search is within your own network, online or through executive searches, said Laura Quick, web manager of Adams' Multilingual Recruitment in Amsterdam. With 2,500 foreign companies in Amsterdam, 27 global headquarters and another 269 European headquarters, the opportunities are ample, especially in the fields of oil and gas (think Shell), retail and fashion, advertising and information technology.
Demand is strong for “non-Dutch speaking, skilled candidates in international companies,” said Quick. “We ‘felt’ the [2008 economic] crisis. Business slowed, but it certainly didn’t collapse. Now it is picking up quite well and there is a reasonable level of activity.”
The first stop for those relocating is the Expatcenter Amsterdam, a government-supported service whose sole purpose is to help highly-skilled migrants settle into Amsterdam and its environs. They help you take care of the all-important Dutch troika: getting your residence permit, registering at city hall and obtaining a BSN (or social security) number.