What’s it like to live & work in The Netherlands as a Spaniard 6

What’s it like to live & work in The Netherlands as a Spaniard?

Hi! I am Marta Rubio, a 36 year old Spanish girl living in The Netherlands, since 14 years.

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What’s it like to live & work in The Netherlands as a Spaniard 1

What to expect in this article

Why I moved to the Netherlands

For the past 14 years, I’ve been living in The Netherlands, which for some is hard to believe, since I come from a very vibrant city and a very sunny and warm place that everybody loves: Barcelona.

So how come I ended up in The Netherlands? Well first of all because of my boyfriend, who is Dutch, and second because I always wanted to live abroad.
The Netherlands happened to be a good place for us to settle
down; he to find a good job and for me to study for my master’s degree.

Many years later I am still very happy with my decision: living in The Netherlands has brought me so much and I’ve learned a lot of new things.
Besides that, it is a great country to live in (despite the cold and grey winters). I like it so much that I’ve even started a website, where I show all the great stuff that The Netherlands has to offer.

So in this article, I will tell you about how it is to live and work in The Netherlands from a Spanish perspective, showing all its pros and cons and what you need to do if you also want to come to The Netherlands

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Houses of Amsterdam
What’s it like to live & work in The Netherlands as a Spaniard 3
Castle de Haar

What do I do for a living?

Having finished my master’s degree in Marketing at the University of Nijmegen I started working as an online marketeer for several companies until I decided to spend more time on my very first online project: Barcelona met Marta.
This is a website I created in 2010 in order to share all my tips about the place I come from since all the Dutchies I knew were pretty much interested in my tips.

In 2019 I decided to launch a new website, Holandia.es, which is dedicated to the Spanish-speaking public and allows me to talk about this beautiful country, The Netherlands.

Nowadays I work full-time for both of my websites. I create special travel guides, write content for websites, make videos for YouTube, manage social media, and now and then I visit new places so that I can share. Pretty busy if you ask me!

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Living in the Netherlands

Life in The Netherlands might of course be different depending on your age, interests, and the place you choose to live in.
But in general, I would say that living in The Netherlands is rather quiet and safe. Everything, from public services to health care and transport works smoothly and it’s well maintained.

I love the fact that The Netherlands is a very green and flat country, which means you can go anywhere with your bike. Also, because this is a small country, it is quite easy to move around and visit new places. 


People in The Netherlands are also very kind and once you know them, they are also very warm and caring. For instance, I find the way they celebrate their birthdays, decorating the house so that the whole street knows, very charming.


The Dutch also speak very good English and are well-travelled people, so even if you just landed and don’t know their language, they will be able to communicate with you in English and probably will be very interested in knowing where you’re from and why you came here. 

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Cycling is something every Dutchie does
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De Veluwe

Working in The Netherlands

Before working for myself I had several jobs at different companies here in The Netherlands. My experience so far is that in The Netherlands they have a great work-life balance.

Most jobs are from 8 to 5, and in the hypothetical case you have to stay longer, this is always compensated with money or in exchange for free time.

Part-time work is also very common and accepted, which makes it easy for parents to combine work with the care of their children.

What I also liked about working in The Netherlands is that as an employee you get a lot of freedom, personal responsibility, and opportunities to grow. There is no hierarchy as such in the workspace, which means you can perfectly chat with your boss about life stuff.

On the other hand, in The Netherlands they expect you to be very responsible and effective at work. In some big companies that might mean that you really need to excel at work, otherwise you won’t fit in.

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The Dutch culture

The Dutch are well known for being stingy and their directness, but as I said before, I think it’s different once you get to know them.
In fact, the Dutch are very practical and never want to waste their time. So the first thing you must learn to do if you come to The Netherlands is to be always on time.

They also kiss three times, but only with those they know and are friends with. Otherwise, they just give you the hand.

Dutch society is also very diverse and open. Here you can meet people from all over the world and taste food from all different sorts of countries.

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Cheese market in Gouda
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Beautiful Zaanse Schans

Advantages of living in The Netherlands

  • High quality of life. The Netherlands is one of the happiest countries in the EU.
  • You can go everywhere by bike, which is healthy.
  • A great job market with many international companies.
  • Multicultural society and lots of expats which you can meet.
The Netherlands

Disadvantages of living in The Netherlands

  • The high costs of living in The Netherlands
  • The weather, since it rains very often and winters are grey and cold.
  • Learning the Dutch language is not always the easiest task.
  • Nowadays it can be hard to find a place to live.

Tips for people who want to do the same

I would definitely recommend moving to The Netherlands. Especially for those looking for some change in their lives, new job opportunities, and experiences.

Moving to The Netherlands from Spain is rather easy: you only need your passport, register in your new municipality, apply for the BSN number and obtain Dutch health insurance.

Since most of the Dutch speak very well English, you don’t necessarily need to speak Dutch once you arrive in The Netherlands. With a little bit of English, you can already find some jobs, like in supermarkets, hotels, restaurants, and factories. However, it is highly recommended to start learning Dutch as soon as possible if your aim is to stay in The Netherlands. In that way, you will integrate faster and have more and
better job opportunities.

Since living in The Netherlands can be very expensive, I advise you to buy a second-hand bike, so that you don’t need to use public transport, and to do your groceries at the local market, where the food is often cheaper and better than in the supermarkets. There are also many great second-hand shops where that sell all sorts of things for the house, books, and even clothes.

If you wish to have more information about moving to The Netherlands,
you can read all my tips here. 

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Favorite destination in The Netherlands

The Netherlands, and especially the city of Amsterdam, is a great travel destination. The Netherlands has truly amazing places like you’ve never seen before, such as the canal houses in Amsterdam, the windmills of Kinderdijk, or the wooden houses in Zaanse Schans.

I personally love the Dutch Hanseatic cities like Deventer, the fortified towns like Naarden, the Dutch castles like Kasteel De Haar, the Dutch coast, and islands like Texel and their natural parks like the Veluwe.

Not to mention their tulip fields in spring, the summer festivals, and the cheese markets!

I hope you liked reading about my experience in the Netherlands.If you happen to be visiting The Netherlands, or already live here, and you're looking for more places to visit, go check my website for more inspiration. Saludos, Marta

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