The banking system in the Netherlands is fairly simple, with most banks offering comparable packages. Expats living in the country will need to open a Dutch bank account to receive their salary and pay for many other services.
Money in the Netherlands
The currency of the Netherlands is the euro, which is divided into 100 cents.
Notes: 5 EUR, 10 EUR, 20 EUR, 50 EUR, 100 EUR, 200 EUR and 500 EUR.
Coins: 1 EUR and 2 EUR, and 1 cent, 2 cents, 5 cents, 10 cents, 20 cents and 50 cents.
Dealing with money matters in the Netherlands is fairly easy as it is part of the eurozone, so EU citizens won't struggle with currency exchanges. Non-EU citizens who are unfamiliar with the euro shouldn't encounter many problems exchanging money when they first arrive either.
Banking in the Netherlands
The largest banks in the Netherlands include ABN AMRO, ING Group, Rabobank and De Volksbank. Expats should shop around to find which bank suits their specific spending habits; some banks charge more for cash withdrawals than swiping a debit card at a supermarket, for instance. Most banks offer internet and mobile phone banking facilities.
The Dutch generally do a lot of payments with direct debiting from their accounts, so expats should be prepared to set up this sort of system for their accounts. Debit cards are provided with most accounts, but credit cards must be applied for.
It’s impossible to rent an apartment or receive a salary in the Netherlands without a bank account, so it is essential to set up an account soon after arriving in the country.
Banking hours in the Netherlands are usually from 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday. Some banks stay open later on Thursdays or Fridays and are open on Saturday mornings.
Opening a bank account
To open a bank account in the Netherlands, expats will need to provide documents such as their passport, proof of address and their BSN number.
A BSN number is a Dutch social security and tax number, and it's needed to get a job or open an account. Expats must get a BSN number from their local tax office soon after they arrive in the Netherlands.
Credit cards and ATMs
Credit cards are accepted across the Netherlands, but the Dutch usually only use them for large purchases. There may be some trouble finding a paypoint in some places, so carrying some cash is always advisable.
ATMs are widely available and can be found outside most banks, and at airports and train stations. Cash withdrawals are usually free for local account holders. Dutch bank cards can be used in other banks’ machines, although withdrawal limits usually apply.
Taxes in the Netherlands
Expats considered residents for tax purposes are subject to tax on their worldwide income while non-residents are taxed only on their income from Netherlands-based sources. Expats must check which category they fall into and if their home country has a double-taxation agreement with the Netherlands, which would entitle them to foreign tax relief.
Personal income tax rates fall into three levels or 'boxes': work- and home-ownership-related income, interest, and savings and investment. Tax on income related to work and home ownership ranges from 9.7 percent to 49.5 percent. In addition, all residents must pay social security and income-related healthcare insurance contributions.
Expats who own a car in the Netherlands will likely be subject to a road tax, dependent on the car's weight and fuel type.
Expats bringing specific and scarce skills to the Netherlands can apply for the '30 percent ruling'. Employees who are granted this receive a tax-free reimbursement worth 30 percent of their salary over a five-year period. An application must be made and is accepted based on skill. The 30 percent ruling can make moving to the Netherlands a financially attractive proposition.
As with elsewhere in the world, tax regulations are subject to change, and we recommend enlisting the services of a tax consultant for specialised support.