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WORKING IN THE NETHERLANDS... HOW DOES THAT WORK?

‘How do I apply for a job?’ ‘What do I need to know about working with Dutch people?’ Maybe these are questions you ask yourself. When you start working in the Netherlands it is important to know the work culture of Dutch people. Some tips to help you feel more secure when you start working.

STEP 1: FINDING A JOB

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CURRICULUM VITAE
A curriculum vitae, also known as a CV, is your resume. This is an overview of your personal data, work experience and educational background. In the Netherlands it is common to send your cv whenever you apply for a job.


JOB APPLICATION LETTER
A job application letter is a letter you write in response to a job position you have seen or whenever you are interested in working for a company. In the Netherlands, it is custom to send a job application letter to a company you want to work for. It gives the company an idea of who you are. In the job application letter you:

  • Describe yourself as a professional;
  • Write why you want this job specifically;
  • Explain why you are the right person for the job;
  • Highlight why you want to work for this company.

It is important to include your CV (resume) with your letter.

 

TIP: It is also very important to ‘study’ the company or organisation where you are applying by reading information on their website and by really knowing what the job will be about.


HOW TO DRESS FOR A JOB INTERVIEW
During a job interview it is recommended to dress a bit more formal. This shows that you want to present yourself well and that you want to do your best for the job.

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STEP 2: WHEN YOU HAVE FOUND A JOB

EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT
If a company hires you, they will offer you an employment contract. This contains the agreements between the employer and the employee. For example, your position or job, the salary you will be earning, your working hours and how many holidays you have. You and the employer both sign the contract if you agree with the conditions. You will get a copy of the contract. It is important to save this employment contract. It is proof that you have an agreement with the employer. In conclusion, you do the work and the employer pays you for it.


PROBATION PERIOD
When you start working, it is normal that you start to work with a probation/trial period. This is a period to which you can get used to your new work environment and work and your employer can see if he really wants you for the job.


BE ON TIME
In the Netherlands time is considered a very important value. Being punctual is considered necessary if you want to make a good impression at work.

 

TIPS:

  • Prepare everything you want to take with you the night before;
  • Calculate the amount of time you need to reach the work place (including for unforeseen delays);
  • Go to bed on time for a good night sleep;
  • Set your alarm and make sure you have enough time to get dressed and have breakfast before travelling to work;
  • Leave the house on time.

TAKING INITIATIVES AT WORK
Taking initiatives is a highly valued competence in the Dutch work culture. Taking initiative means: taking action without someone encouraging you and instead of waiting.

 

TIPS:

  • Make choices and act accordingly. Remember you don’t have to make the best decision, but one that works;
  • You don’t have to wait for inspiration, be creative;
  • Take responsibility: volunteer to take the lead on projects or tasks;
  • Actions speaks louder than words. Keep your promise and do what you have said.

ASKING QUESTIONS
In the Netherlands it is common to ask for what you want. It is better not to assume since it may lead to frustrations and miscommunication. Therefore, it is better to ask questions at work if you need help or when you don’t understand something. Don’t be afraid that you look unexperienced if you ask questions, it actually makes you look more interested and wanting to learn.

 

RECEIVING QUESTIONS
In the Netherlands it is not considered rude to ask direct questions. Therefore, don’t be afraid to receive direct questions. These questions are often asked out of curiosity and interest.

 

LOOKING EACH OTHER IN THE EYES
Whenever you have a conversation with a person at work or in private, it is common to look each other in the eyes. In the Netherlands it is considered respectful and it shows the employer that you are serious and interested. Avoid looking away, this will make the employer think that you are not interested or have something to be ashamed for or to hide. Perhaps this is totally contrary to what you are used to, so this takes some practice.

 

BOSS
In the Netherlands there is a different hierarchy than in many other countries. This means that the distance between you and your (Dutch) boss is often small. A Dutch boss is often easy to talk to and appreciated if you share your own ideas. In the end your boss will decide, but he will learn from the opinions and experiences of his workers. 

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STEP 3: BE AWARE OF YOUR LABOUR RIGHTS

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AS A STATUS HOLDER WORKING IN THE NETHERLANDS, DO I HAVE THE SAME LABOUR RIGHTS AS DUTCH WORKERS?

Status holders are allowed to work. You have the same rights as Dutch workers, for example: To earn the minimum wage, Holiday money, Holidays, Time off, Maximum 45 hour working week, Possibility to see a doctor in case you are ill.

 

TIP: You should always earn at least the Dutch minimum wage (around 9 euro per hour) www.government.nl/topics/minimum-wage/ amount-of-the-minimum-wage


I DON’T HAVE A WORK CONTRACT, CAN I CLAIM MY RIGHTS?
Yes, you can. But only with proof. Collect any possible evidence. Pictures, names, communication (WhatsApp, SMS, email), proof on paper. Keep a record of days and hours worked, save working instructions and note down how much you got paid.

 

TIP: Download a free digital work log to register important job information. Or send a message to order a free paper work log.

 

TIP: In the Netherlands, you also have the right to a lawyer, but you need to pay a contribution, which depends on your income.


MY EMPLOYER ABUSES ME: HE IS NOT PAYING ME AND HE IS ALSO THREATENING ME. DO I HAVE TO ACCEPT THIS?
No, exploitation is prohibited in the Netherlands. In case your employer is abusing you, contact FairWork for more information about your rights.


I AM A VICTIM OF LABOUR EXPLOITATION, CAN I GO TO THE POLICE?
Yes, you have the right to report a crime without being detained. We recommend you take someone with you, FairWork can help you with this.

 

IF YOUR LABOUR RIGHTS ARE BEING VIOLATED

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FairWork is an independent non-gouvermental organisation (NGO) that supports women and men that are being exploited by their employer in the Netherlands. Any information that you share with us will be kept confidential. The support the FairWork offers is free of charge.


FairWork can be reached (in English and often in your native language) at phone number: +31 20 760 08 09.