First things to do once you arrive in the Netherlands 

Moving to a new country is not an easy task. It is an adventure with plenty of preparation required. The key to succeeding is being prepared, organized, and doing research. By being informed you can prevent any unpleasant surprises. In this blog we shall highlight the first things to do once you arrive in the Netherlands so that you will not forget. Get prepared for your move to the Netherlands.

Register at the municipality

Everyone living in the Netherlands is required to register at their local municipality. This is important so that you have an official address. Being registered allows the authorities to track the size of the Dutch population and allocate the right municipal taxes to each household. The required documents to take with you when registering are:

  • Valid ID (passport, ID card, driver’s license)
  • Residence permit
  • Rental contract
  • Birth certificate
  • Certificate of marriage (if applicable)

After registration you will be able to get your:

  • BSN
  • DigiD

The BSN stands for “Burgerservicenummer” or in English known as citizen service number which you will automatically receive once you are registered at your local municipality. The government uses your BSN to process your personal data (insurances, taxes, salary, allowances etc.). As for Digid (Digital ID), it allows you to identify yourself when completing administrative duties on the internet. It can be seen as a form of online ID that allows you quick access to services and government websites. Remember that your DigiD gives you the ability to manage many (financial) aspects of your life online. Take care of your passwords!

Open a Dutch bank account

Newly arrivals that are planning to settle in the Netherlands are advised to open a Dutch bank account. It makes life much easier as you will be effortlessly able to receive your salary, pay for rent, subscriptions, and daily living expenses. You will be able to live by with a foreign bank account, but this can be more expensive. If you wish to rent a place or eventually get a mortgage you will find out that it will be less of a hassle if you use a local bank account as landlords may be skeptical.

Apply for health insurance

It is important to apply for health insurance as that is mandatory by Dutch law. The universal healthcare system and health insurance are linked to each other. Taking out standard insurance is compulsory, and the components are regulated by the government.  To be able to get health insurance you need to have a BSN number.

Find a GP, Dentist

Once your insurance has been covered it is time to look for a general practitioner and dentist. Having a family doctor is pivotal as he/she is the one that provides you with the basic medical care and tests when you feel sick. They can refer you to a specialist if needed or provide prescriptions for medication. Other than a GP it may come in handy to get in touch with a dentist. After all, oral hygiene is important too!

OV chipcard

You may want to use public transportation in the Netherlands as it gives you easy access to many cities. Most cities have trains, trams, subways, buses and even ferries that you can travel on. There are different types of OV-chipcards available. There are personal cards, anonymous cards and disposable cards. With a personal OV-chipcard, you will have your personal details linked to it (I.E. D.O.B. and address), which means it is easier to claim back fees for delayed journeys and block the card if you lose it somehow. Declaring travelling costs to your employer will be also more straightforward.


Renting or buying a bike makes it easier to move around the city and is also healthy. The Netherlands is globally renowned for its cycling culture. It is one of the easiest modes of transport to get around Dutch cities. The infrastructure is made for cycling with many roads specially catered to cyclists. With an OV chipcard you will be able to rent a OV bike at many train stations across the country. There are many places where you can buy a bike, apart from bicycle shops, you can get a second hand one online through Facebook, Marktplaats and even Instagram. Make sure you also get a solid lock to protect your bicycle when left standing outside in public.

Are you a nurse looking to expand your career in the Netherlands?

The EMTG-program may be the right trajectory for your career. We provide you with Dutch language and culture lessons and will help you to settle down in the Netherlands. All administrative duties like the ones mentioned in this blog will be provided for you. We will even help you to find housing near the healthcare institution where you will get to work. You can contact your local recruiter for more information. What are you waiting for?