Just Moved to the Netherlands

Banking

Little things regarding the dutch banking:

  • In the Netherlands they use Maestro cards. But it has been announced by the government that now Μastercards will be issued, sometime in the year of 2023.
  • There are banks that offer a student package usually without charge. Some them are:

  • But if you are a medical student, the ABN AMRO bank provides this package:

  • What do you need so you can create a dutch bank account?

    • Citizen Service Number (BSN)
    • Passport/ID
    • Official Proof of Address (e.g. Tenancy Agreement)
  • The activation for the bank account usually takes 5-7 working days.
  • Keep in mind that you don’t need to make an appointment to create an account, you can also do it online by yourself.

Bills

Electricity and LPG

In the event that you are not satisfied with the provider who already is in the house, you can use a price comparison website. One of them is energievergelijk where you can also find packages to combine with other services. Cancellation of a contract can be done on a monthly basis. The cost is based on approximately how much you consumed.

Water

You can’t choose the water provider since it’s public and there are 10 providers from the different regions all over the Netherlands: If you have a meter you pay exactly the water you consumed, if not, as with the electricity, it goes to an approximate estimation, taxes for the pipes, maintenance etc., again depending on how much you consumed and finally the garbage, which are priced according to how much you threw away, since the trash card is for that particular house. Every 6 months the bills come.

Internet

Again, as with electricity, you can compare packages and providers. It is noteworthy that they offer a 50% discount for 6 months. A useful website for comparing prices in case you did not book a package together with the other accounts is prijsvergelijken. For one person, the prices for optical fiber for 50 and 100 are very satisfactory.

Phone Bills

Available mobile phone companies:

  •         KPN
  •         Vodafone
  •         Lebara
  •         T-Mobile
  •         Lyca Mobile
  •         Youfone
  •         Ben
  •         Simyo

For Erasmus students:

If you are not working: You don’t need to get a Dutch number, you can easily use your package for 4 months, having simply activated roaming from your mobile settings . After the 4 months according to the European Union, your provider will charge you:

€0.022 per minute of voice call

€0.004 per text message

€2 per GB of data ( maximum in 2022, it will decrease over time to €1/GB, which will be the maximum surcharge from 2027 onwards) (mobile roams)

If you get a job, which needs a Dutch bank account, you need a Dutch phone plan. In this case the best you can do is to get a simple sim, put money in it and activate a package from the app in question. 

For Master students (1 year):

The same thing that applies for erasmus applies here as well, with the difference that after 4 months you can consider if it is in your interest to use a package from one of the cheap companies and change it to your old one every 3 months.

For Master (2 years) and Bachelor students:

Choosing one of the above companies is a good idea. They offer very good packages with very good prices and 50% discounts for the first 6 months if you sign a 2 year contract. They give for a small cost unlimited minutes and sms to everyone, upgrade to 4G+ and lots of features and GB, with many of them easily and quickly changed from the app as needed.

Important! If you are also in search of a new phone, check  if a company can give you the device as a gift with a 2 pack and it’s worth the price difference with a single pack (an indicative site, use google for further information: https://www.prijsvergelijken.nl/telefoon-abonnement/)

More information on roaming:

Mobile roams. Europe. Retrieved January 7, 2023, from https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/consumers/internet-telecoms/mobile-roaming-costs/index_el.htm

Working in the Netherlands

Laws regarding working in NL

Health Insurance

Everyone living and working/studying in the NL needs to have basic health insurance (basisverzekering). This covers healthy expenses like visits to the GP (huisarts), the hospital, the psychiatrist and the pharmacy. (link 1: https://www.rijksoverheid.nl/onderwerpen/zorgverzekering/vraag-en-antwoord/ben-ik-verplicht-een-zorgverzekering-af-te-sluiten )

International students in the NL are often insured against health costs from the country of origin. This is usually the European health insurance and the costs it covers depend on the health insurance of the student in the country of origin.

Sometimes however, the European insurance card is not enough. Link 2 leads to a website in english explaining when a foreign student has right to or is legally required to get a public health insurance in the Netherlands

(link 2: https://www.studyinnl.org/plan-your-stay/insurance )

If you are working part or full time in the Netherlands and have a public health insurance you might be eligible for the health subside/ zorgtoeslag . The zorgtoeslag is a subsidy that covers an amount of the monthly health insurance costs.

Municipal Tax

The Noordelijk Belastingkantoor is basically the municipality tax that registered residents of the municipality of Groningen are obligated to pay every year. This tax is sent to residents that rent a house/apartment/studio/shared flat etc. under their own name. This means that students/residents living in a student housing compound, such as the SSH, do not receive this tax.

The tax notification arrives by mail, under the resident’s name, at the registered address. This physical mail, not e-mail, usually arrives in the early months of the year. Most of the time, this is around February-April. So, for example, the tax notification mail for the year 2022 will arrive during the period of February-April of 2022.

It is possible to ask for remission in the case the tax is too expensive for you to pay, or you think something is not as it should. This can be done via the website. Here you can see what it looks like. The button you need to press in order to begin the remission process is called ‘’Kwijstschelding’’ or ‘’Remission’’ if translated. From that point on you need to follow the procedure, fill in the necessary personal information (name, age, address, study/work info etc.) and upload some documents (rental agreement contract, bank statements, passport etc.) After you submit your remission request, you will wait for either their answer or their request for further information/document upload. This can take multiple months. Either way, it is something worth doing since the tax amount you will have to pay can be severely reduced, so we highly recommend it.

The payment of the tax can be all at once, or it can be paid in up to 10 monthly installments. This is completely up to you to decide. In the mail you will receive with the tax, an extra folder will be included for you to pay. We recommend you don’t do it that way, but instead pay online via the website. Via the website, you can also set up the monthly installments. The payment or arrangement of payment can be done through the ‘’betalen’’ or, if translated, ‘’pay’’ button. You will then find all the possible options regarding payment.

The tax includes a whole calendar year.

Logging in online is possible via https://mijn.noordelijkbelastingkantoor.nl. It can be very useful in order to keep track of the amount you still need to pay, payment methods, remission requests etc. In order to login online, the use of DigiD is required.

In case you come upon a problem or have a question that is not available on the website, you can always call the support line. Despite the bad reviews, they can prove very helpful, and they also speak good English, so give them a try.

Finally, before renting a place, discuss with your landlord about the tax and who is going to be paying for it. Most of the time the tax is not included in the rental agreement, so arranging this beforehand can save you from stress and skirmishes with the landlord in the future.