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Work & Costs

Holland is a rather expensive country and Amsterdam has long been considered one of the world’s most expensive cities. But don’t be alarmed by the stats. They’re true for Dutch who own homes, drive cars and work 9 to 5 but travelers can get by on a budget in Holland.

The Euro, like in most EU country, is the currency. When visiting the Netherlands expect to spend a large part of your budget on housing. Hostels in Amsterdam rarely go for less then 22 Euros for one bed in a dorm. Chasing up those old email contacts in hopes of a free bed or making new friends via the Hospitality Club might not be a bad idea.

Working in Holland is a rather simple task if you are the happy holder of a work permit or if you are an EU citizen in which case you don’t need one and simply have to get a social security number, or sofi number as the Dutch call it. This is a simple procedure but given the queues and useless civil servants it still might take you half a day.

If you’re looking for work quickly there are many Temp agencies with whom you can register. Although these agencies have no obligations to find you work you’ll probably have work within a couple of days so long as you register with several of them and display unnatural enthusiasm. Different agencies have different specializations. Some are even some are focus on administration, telemarketing or catering and hotel jobs. Some are even dedicated to finding jobs for people over 60 years old.

Of course, like in most countries, work can be obtained without the necessary legal papers. If you know some Polish you might be able to work in construction, they have literally taken over the industry in most Dutch cities and I doubt many of them work legally.

Also, many bars and restaurant will hire a foreigner illegally. Here, you’ll just have to walk around and ask bar after bar after bar. Be sure to ask for tips from barmen and staff – especially if they’re foreigners – these tend to have good connections with all the other foreigners working in bars and restaurants and so may know of openings coming up. As usual, having a cell phone so people can contact you may be your lucky ticket.

Damien Leze