Travel, living and working in The Netherlands (Holland) - WorldSupporter Theme

The Netherlands (Holland)


Live, study, work and put things into perspective with Dutch people in the Netherlands

Dutch habits and customs: the good ones and the bad ones

Dutch habits and customs: the good ones and the bad ones


Dutch habits

The Dutch have some unique customs and habits that may seem strange to foreigners.

  • Gezelligheid - Gezelligheid is an important concept in Dutch culture. It means cosiness: being together, having fun and relaxing. Gezelligheid kent geen tijd is a famous dutch expression. Gezellig he?
  • Oranje, oranjegevoel - Orange is the color of the Dutch. The Dutch wear orange on Kingsday and when the dutch football team is playing (high level only).
  • Zuinigheid - Fruitfullness, the dutch generally don't like to spend more than necessary and will watch de kleintjes (small coins).They pay close attention to their pennies and go dutch or send a tikkie (online share costs or pay back what someone has spent for you).
  • Complaining - The Dutch love to complain, and talk negative but that doesn't mean they are unhappy. It's more of a way to connect with each other. Most popular topic is the weather to complain about, it is often too cold, rainy or too hot.
  • Cycle - The Dutch cycle, in the rain, with children, doing groceries, everywhere. People sit at the back of the bicycle, with the legs on one side.
  • Directness - The Dutch are generally very direct in their communication. They say what they think and like honesty.
  • No small talk - The Dutch dislike unnecessary small talk and like to get directly to the point.
  • Kringverjaardag - It is a habit to celebrate ones birthday in a circle of chairs. One of my former collegues reminded me of this dutch habit. It goes like this, either it is a dutch party and you bring your own food and often a kring verjaardag. Th -ere is not much swapping of chairs and a lot of talking in the group, less individual talks perhaps with your neighbours sitting on the right and/or left side. 
  • Happy birthday - Is wished to everyone attending the kringverjaardag, not only meant for the celebrant.
  • Self-reliance - Dutch people are very self-reliant and like to solve problems themselves. Not to be dependent of another person.
  • Kingsday - It is celebrated the night before the 27th (birthday of the King) and the day itself. The Dutch wear orange and especially in Amsterdam and bigger cities it is celebrated on the streets. For the children in all kind of places there is the Vrijmarkt: second hand stuff is sold on the streets.
  • Broodje kaas - The Dutch often lunch with a cheese sandwich or other cold snacks. Hot lunches are less common. Pre-made sandwiches are made and put in a lunch box and that is what the Dutch have for lunch.
  • Beschuit met muisjes of hagelslag - Hagelslag (chocolate sprinkles) and muisjes (small anise seeds) are popular toppings for sandwiches. Round toast with muisjes is served when a baby is born in the specific colors of the baby's gender.
  • Drop is a salty licorice-like candy that many Dutch people like. Many foreigners do not like the  salty licorice, the sweet drop they like better.
  • Koffietijd - The Dutch love coffee and often drink it with cake or pastries or one cookie (not two or three) you can take out of the cookiejar and afterwards it closes.
  • Frikandel, kroket or bitterbal - A frikandel is a deep-fried meatloaf that is a popular snack or try a bitterbal: small fried veal, beef in a crunchy jacket.
  • Stamppot is a traditional stew of potatoes and vegetables, with kale (boerenkool), onion and carrot (hutspot), sourkraut (zuurkool), andijvie, spinach etc etc.
  • Birthday calendar or tiles- Many Dutch people have a birthday calendar hanging on the toilet so they never forget a birthday or a tile with Delfts blauw with a wisdom like sentence for example: Oost, west, thuis, best. East, west, home is the best.
  • Sinterklaas - Every year on december 5 children get gifts from Sinterklaas (kind of Santa claus) when they have been good children. The gifts are also given after Sinterklaas has entered the Netherlands and you put your shoe near the chimney, with a carrot for his horse and sing a song. The whole Zwarte pieten discussion is mentioned somewhere else.
  • Dutchies - As a slang term for cannabis joints or blunts, or a few different entities related to Dutch culture and travel. I am refering to this image, one of the Dutchies! Our mascotte.
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FAQ - Health Insurance when studying in The Netherlands

FAQ - Health Insurance when studying in The Netherlands


When do you need to apply for a basic health insurance when studying in The Netherlands?

  • The Dutch Health Insurance is obligatory for residents of The Netherlands. Students who are temporarily visiting are an exemption, but the moment you're working or getting paid for an internship or voluntary work this might change.
  • If you're an International student and you are just here to study you usually don't need a basic health insurance.
  • The moment you take on a (part time) job you need to get a health insurance however. You can choose any insurer.
  • When you're doing your internship in The Netherlands, you only need to get a health insurance when you're getting paid more than the minimum wage (so it's usually not the case).
  • If you're an independent worker (zzp'er/freelancer) the rules are less clear, and you'll be asked to check with the SVB to do a WLZ check to know if you are obligated to get the basic health insurance.

Can I apply for care allowance (zorgtoeslag) as an International Student?

  • If you are required to get the basic Dutch Health Insurance (basisverzekering) you can also apply for the care allowance.
  • Usually this will cover most of the costs of your monthly insurance payment.

When to apply for private health insurance for your time in The Netherlands.?

  • When you are here for a temporary stay and not getting paid for a part time job, there are still situations when you would like to get a insurance.
  • This can be the case when your own health insurer doesn't cover (enough of) the costs in The Netherlands.
  • You can then apply for a Student Insurance, such as the OOM Studying in The Netherlands insurance.
  • This insurance is not a basic health insurance, so you can't apply for the care allowance. Usually the prices of these insurances are between 20 and 30 euros a month.

Where can I find more information about this?

FAQ - What to arrange when you're studying in The Netherlands

FAQ - What to arrange when you're studying in The Netherlands


Do you need a Study Visa to study in The Netherlands?

  • When you're from a EU country (or Switzerland) you won't need a study visa.
  • Also when you have a residency permit to study in another EU country and are coming to The Netherlands to study for maximum 360 days, you usually won't need a study visa.
  • When you're studying in The Netherlands you can also go to other EU countries for 360 days when it's part of your education.
  • If you're coming from other countries you'll need a Study Visa for your time in The Netherlands

What is the role of the education institute in applying for a visa

  • The University will usually apply for a residency permit for you.
  • You'll need to make sure you have all the needed documents translated.

When do you need to register at the municipality?

  • When you are living in The Netherlands for more than 4 months, you'll need to register at the local municipality
  • When you register you'll receive a BSN number. This you'll need when you're working or doing an internship.
  • You can contact the local municipality of an appointment to register.

How to apply for a Dutch bank account

  • When you're staying for a couple of months or more in The Netherlands it will probably be easy to get a Dutch bank account for the time being.
  • Especially as debit cards are still used mostlt throughout the country, and credit cards are still not used for daily expenses.
  • Most banks will ask for a BSN number, proof of your local address (for example a rental agreement), proof of enrollment at your university and an ID (passport).
  • Some will ask for a small fee per month, others are free of charge.
  • You can open a bank account at any bank. The largest banks are ING, ABN AMRO and Rabobank. 
  • You can also open a bank account at online banks, such as Bunq and N26. This can sometimes be the easier option, as for example Bunq doesn't require a BSN number for the first 3 months.

What is a DigiD and how do you apply for it?

  • A DigiD is an online system with which you can take care of your administration in The Netherlands, for example for your taxes, DUO or care allowance. 
  • Your DigiD is connected with your BSN number.
  • You can apply for a DigiD online. The codes will be send to your home address within a couple of days.

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