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5 Dutch employment practices you need to disclose for happier international hires

4 November 2022 , by Pierpaolo Gobbi

It takes time and effort to hire developers internationally. The last thing you want is a developer rejecting your offer because they’re surprised by standard employment practices in the Netherlands. If you’re hiring tech talent from outside the Netherlands, here’s what you need to share with your candidates that could make or break a successful offer.


At OfferZen, we’ve helped companies in the Netherlands hire developers from across the globe. Even if developers are eager to work in the country, some standard terms in Dutch employment contracts may be unfamiliar to them. If your communication about these factors is lacking, it can deter candidates from accepting your offer.

The best way to avoid this situation is by giving potential hires the right information at the right time during the recruitment process.

As account managers at OfferZen, we have plenty of experience helping companies navigate these issues. Here’s how to approach these conversations with international developers to land successful offers.

Why you need to hire tech talent internationally

Despite a cooldown in the hiring market from its historic highs in 2021, demand for developers still outstrip supply. Many companies have increasingly more software needs, increasing demand for developers and creating the need to hire them internationally.

Keep the lines of communication open

But how should you adapt your hiring approach with international developers as an employer from the Netherlands?

Communication is key for a good candidate experience. Communicating the right thing at the right time is the golden principle for unlocking your global hiring potential.

A good rule of thumb is to cover all of your bases at the outset of your conversation with a developer. There are a few standard clauses in Dutch employment contracts that may be surprising for international candidates.

Some of these conditions may sway them to reject your offer if they’re not discussed thoroughly. Others can be a drawcard if you highlight it as a benefit from the get-go.

Outlining these points as soon as possible after starting your recruitment process will help ensure you don’t lose any developers in your pipeline because of misunderstandings over cultural workplace norms.

Potential blockers: Factors to explain to developers

Contract length

Initial offers of employment in the Netherlands are generally for six to 12 months. There may be a one- to two-month probation period built into the contract. Once the initial period has passed, there is the possibility of the contract becoming indefinite, but this must be stated explicitly.

Indefinite (or permanent) contracts are commonplace in many countries. This is not the case in the Netherlands. As a result, a developer might be concerned about their job security or ability to obtain residency if they accept your offer.

How to explain it

The best way to head off a candidate’s fears around a short contract length is to share statistics about the number of other employees who have successfully moved to permanent contracts. For example, you could say: “Over the past five years, we’ve moved our employees to permanent contracts 90% of the time”.

When to raise it

The best way to avoid any surprises is to explain the practice early on in the hiring process such as during the initial conversation with the developer.

Relocation costs

If you’re relocating international candidates to the Netherlands, the ongoing housing crisis is a potential pitfall here.

One of the first things a developer who’s thinking about moving to the Netherlands will do is look into where they could live and what that might cost. They will quickly discover the housing challenges and figure out that their options are likely either expensive or far from where they would work.

What’s more, the actual costs involved in relocating can be a deterrent to moving internationally. This and the price of housing have the potential to discourage them from accepting your offer.

How to explain it

Indicate the type of support that your company provides when it comes to relocation and housing.

There may be an apartment for new joiners that the candidate can use when they first arrive. Perhaps you provide an Airbnb for the first few weeks of their contract. Or, you may have partnered with letting agents or businesses that can help them to find accomodation before they move.

When to raise it

Housing and relocation support can be a big differentiator in a successful offer. So, let candidates know about any benefits you offer as soon as possible. You can also outline the terms in your job advert to show them that it’s available immediately.

Benefits of employment in the Netherlands you can promote

The 30% tax benefit

Candidates who live more than 150 kilometres from the borders of the Netherlands when they’re hired pay no tax on 30% of their total yearly salary for five years from the commencement of their employment — even if they switch jobs.

Developers who are employed by a Netherlands-based company and earn less than €216 000 gross salary per annum qualify for this tax break. This reimbursement is intended to offset relocation costs and provide a buffer for the higher cost of living.

Employees must apply for the benefit when they start working and it can take up to six months for it to be granted. They can receive support and guidance with the administration from the company they work for, though. Having this help will go a long way to make the process quicker, more efficient and help ensure its approval.

How to explain it

This tax break has a double benefit. Your company will be able to offer a lower salary, but the developer will be able to get more out of the offer than the equivalent salary elsewhere.

For example, a developer who earns €60 000 per annum with the 30% benefit in place will take home roughly €4 100 per month. To get the same monthly salary without this tax break, they would need to earn approximately €78 000 per annum.

When to raise it

Advertising this benefit in your job posting can help you to get buy-in from candidates – especially if you’re offering a slightly lower salary than other companies. If the 30% tax ruling is taken into account, the candidate’s take-home salary will in reality be much higher.

It’s also a good idea to bring the tax break up throughout the recruitment process, like the initial screening call, when you make the offer or when you need some leverage against a counter offer.

Time off and holiday pay

Employees working in the Netherlands are entitled to 20 days of holiday per year, plus nine public holiday days.

Although paid time off is standard around the world, Dutch employment law offers an additional benefit: vakantiegeld. This is a compulsory holiday allowance that employers pay to their employees in addition to their annual salary.

How to explain it

Everybody working in the Netherlands must receive at least 8% of their annual salary (including any bonuses or other allowances) from their employer as a holiday allowance. This can be used to pay for an actual holiday or anything else they might like.

For example, a developer that earns €60 000 per annum will be entitled to a minimum €4 800 holiday allowance. This can be paid in one lump sum or spread out across the year and isn’t taxed like the rest of their salary.

When to raise it

This might be a standard employment term, but it’s a great selling point for international candidates. Mention the benefit in your job ad and emphasise it at various moments during the hiring process.

Other benefits to discuss with candidates

There are a few other perks that sweeten the deal for international developers looking to work in the Netherlands. Highlighting these in your job advert and reminding developers of these benefits can help to increase the chances that your offer will be successful.

  • Travel allowance: If your company covers transport costs (e.g. paying public transport costs for employees who live further away from your offices or providing bicycles for those who live nearby) this can be a big drawcard.
  • Pension contributions: Many developers move to the Netherlands for a better quality of life. Providing long-term financial security through pension fund contributions is an excellent way to do this – and an attractive offer for top talent.
  • Medical insurance contribution: Everyone in the Netherlands is required to have medical insurance. So, if your company either covers this expense or contributes towards employees’ premiums, it’s a great benefit to promote.

Read more:

The Ultimate Developer Hiring Guide.

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