Working in the Netherlands

When employed by a Dutch employer in the Netherlands, the employee will (in most cases) be subject to Dutch taxation and social security employee regulations. It is sensible to request an employment contract in a language both employee/employer understands. The employer needs to check identity documents (passport, identity card, or residence permit) and keep a copy in their administration.

Employment conditions

Many organisations in the Netherlands have a Collectieve Arbeidsovereenkomst – CAO (Collective Labour Agreement). This is a written agreement covering working conditions and benefits. A CAO contains supplementary rules for all employees on wages, working hours, supplementary pension, payment during illness, etc. A CAO operates at company or industry sector level and the provisions are often more generous than statutory requirements. It should state in the employment contract whether a CAO is applicable; and the employee doesn’t have to be a member of a union to benefit.

Employment contract

The employment contract stipulates:

  • the work to be carried out
  • salary
  • number of working hours
  • the length and terms of the probationary period (if applicable)
  • holiday allowance
  • leave entitlement
  • the terms of the CAO, if applicable

Other conditions can be agreed upon, such as: relocation expense allowances, travel allowances, pension provisions. More information about working in the Netherlands, the Dutch workplace culture and academic careers can be found at the welcome-to-NL website.

Seconded employees

The terms and conditions in contracts for seconded employees must comply with the legal rules in their home country however, because the work is carried out in the Netherlands, some Dutch rules will also apply. For example, the seconded employee must be paid at least the Dutch minimum wage and holiday allowance, and the employer must comply with the working hours regulations and rest times. It is possible that after a certain period of time Dutch law may apply to the employment contract as a whole. The seconded employee’s home country’s social security might still be applicable if they are in possession of an E101 verklaring (declaration) from the social security organisation in their home country (for a maximum of 24 months).

For more specific queries about seconded employees in the Netherlands, or queries about cross-border working, contact:

Freelance / Self-employed

Zelfstandige zonder personeel – ZZP (independent with no staff) are self-employed persons who are not committed to any single long-term client or employer.

Freelance income is all income that cannot be regarded as:

  • Profits from business activities
  • Income from employment (wage, including government)
  • Income as an artist or professional athlete

To register as a freelancer in the Netherlands, the applicant must first ensure that they are in possession of a valid residence permit that allows them to live and work in the Netherlands.

When based in another country, ZZP’ers must be able to prove to the Belastingdienst their self-employment in that country. This can be done through the Chamber of Commerce register in the country where the self-employment is registered. When carrying out at least 90% of the freelance work in the Netherlands, even though the business is registered elsewhere, Dutch tax regulations will apply.

For cross-border workers, when performing freelance activities in the Netherlands, taxes are paid in the home country on the income earned on those activities. If this income is exempted from taxation under the home country tax legislation, then the Netherlands still has the right to levy tax on it. Therefore, in such cases taxes must be paid in the Netherlands.

For more specific queries about freelancing as a cross-border worker in the Netherlands contact:

Read more about starting a business in the Netherlands.