Are you looking for a lawyer who speaks your language and who can help you getting settled and staying in the Netherlands? Russell Advocaten is an internationally oriented law firm with long-time experience regarding immigration, setting up a business, personnel, real estate, contracts and family law. Our lawyers speak and write English, German and Dutch.
Russell Advocaten is official partner of IN Amsterdam, the expat center of the Municipality of Amsterdam.
We can advise you, among others, on the issues below, but we can also assist you in legal proceedings throughout the Netherlands.
Do you have any other questions? Please check the FAQs below or contact us. We will be happy to help you!
Our clients often ask the following questions. Do you have any other questions or would you like to submit a dispute to us? Call us at +31 20 301 55 55 without obligation or send us an e-mail.
Whether you need a residence permit and what kind of permit you need depends on your nationality, the purpose of your stay and the length of your stay. EU-citizens don’t require permits, whereas those from outside the EU need a residence permit and/or work permit. Together with the residence permit for yourself you can also apply for a residence permit for the members of your family.
EU-citizens as well as their family members (regardless of their nationality), in principle, only need a valid passport to enter and reside in the Netherlands. Non-EU citizens have to go through more complex procedures before they may be allowed to enter the Netherlands. While applying for your own permit, you can also apply for a residence permit for your family members.
Work related residence permits (as a highly skilled migrant, EU-blue card holder or employer) have to be updated if you change jobs. If your residence permit is not job related, e.g. as a spouse or family member, there is no need to update your residence permit if you find another job.
School attendance is compulsory for all children aged 5 to 16 years who live in the Netherlands. If they do not have a secondary school diploma (mbo, havo, or vwo diploma) they have to attend school until the age of 18. Compulsory school attendance also applies to children of expats who have been posted to the Netherlands.
In some cases (primary and secondary) schools may reject your child. For instance, if the school is full or if you, as a parent, do not accept the school’s religious or philosophical beliefs.
If your child is rejected, the school board will have to explain by letter why the school will not admit your child. Do you disagree with the rejection? Then you can submit a written objection within 6 weeks. The school board has to make a new decision within 4 weeks. Do you also disagree with this new decision? In that case you can go to court.
Whether you lease or buy a house will mainly be determined by the length of your stay. Leasing will give you more flexibility. Accommodation can be leased quickly and for a short period of time. Furthermore, leasing does not require a major capital investment and means less responsibility regarding maintenance. However, in the event of leasing you should take into account that (cheap) social housing is subject to an income limit and there are long waiting lists in the big cities for this kind of houses. An advantage of buying over leasing is that you may benefit from rising house prices when you sell the house.
If you buy a house, you have an obligation of inspection. As a buyer you must investigate whether there are any defects. The seller, on the other hand has an obligation to inform you of all defects known to him that prevent normal use of the property. Sometimes there are hidden defects that were present during the sale of the house, but of which you were unaware at the time. In principle, from the transfer of ownership onwards, any hidden defects will be for the buyer’s account.
However, there are situations in which the seller can be held liable. For instance, if the defects are so serious that they do not allow normal use of house or if the seller has lied about defects or has tried to hide them.
If you discover hidden defects, you must contact the seller as soon as possible. If the seller does not cooperate in remedying the defect, you can go to court to enforce this cooperation.
A Vereniging van Eigenaars (VvE) is an owners’ association. If you buy an apartment, you automatically become a member of the owners’ association. Membership cannot be cancelled and lasts as long as you are owner of the apartment. All other apartment owners within your apartment complex are also members of the owners’ association.
Together with your neighbours, you are responsible for the management and maintenance of the building and the common areas within that building. In this context, the owners’ association is legally required to reserve money in a reserve fund. Owners pay a contribution every month.
An owners’ meeting in which all members of the owners’ association can participate is held at least once a year. During this meeting, important decisions are taken on the basis of votes. The chairman chairs the owners’ meeting. In addition, the owners’ association can have a board.
In general, two types of tenancy agreements can be distinguished: permanent and temporary tenancy agreements.
Permanent tenancy agreements are entered into for an indefinite period of time. Most tenancy agreements for housing are permanent tenancy agreements that are automatically extended after the initial lease term of one year.
It is, however, also possible to enter into a temporary tenancy agreement. Landlord and tenant can agree upon such a tenancy agreement for a fixed period that terminates automatically and with less legal protection, provided that:
If the tenancy continues after the fixed period or if the landlord does not give notice (in time), the tenancy automatically becomes a permanent tenancy agreement with full rent protection for the tenant.
In some cases the landlord may conclude a temporary tenancy agreement that is longer than two years, namely if the tenancy agreement includes a so-called diplomat clause.
The landlord’s main obligations are:
The tenant’s main obligations are:
Who is responsible in case of a leakage or if the heating is broken? In principle, your landlord is responsible for the maintenance of the house. He must ensure that the rental property is in good condition. Therefore, major repairs will have to be borne by the landlord. As a tenant, on the other hand, you must carry out and pay for the daily maintenance and minor repairs.
In principle, the lessor may increase the rent once every 12 months. A second rent increase within the same year is allowed only after improvements of the premises.
The Dutch government annually sets a maximum percentage by which the rent may be increased for the non-liberalized (social) housing sector.
This maximum rent increase is not applicable to the liberalized housing sector. If you have a non-liberalized tenancy agreement, this agreement usually stipulates which rent increase you can expect. You and your landlord are bound to the agreed rent increase and you, therefore, must pay this rent increase each year. However, if no such rent increase is included in your tenancy agreement, your landlord can propose a rent increase proposal. If you do not agree with the proposal, your landlord can go to court. The court may rule that the proposal is reasonable. In that case, you can either agree with the rent increase or your tenancy agreement will be terminated.
Tenants enjoy strong rent protection. Your tenancy agreement, therefore, cannot easily be terminated by your landlord.
A permanent tenancy agreement can be terminated by you or your landlord by a registered letter or a bailiff’s notification. When terminating the tenancy agreement, the applicable notice period must be observed. While you are not required to provide a reason for termination, your landlord does. The landlord can only terminate the agreement based on one of the limited legal grounds for termination. If you do not agree to the termination of the tenancy agreement by your landlord, he has to request the Dutch Court to terminate the agreement for the reasons mentioned in the notice of termination. Tenants can terminate the lease without a legal ground for termination.
A temporary (up to two years) tenancy agreement, on the other hand, cannot be terminated by the tenant or the landlord before the end of the agreed upon term. After the term of the lease, the tenancy agreement automatically terminates, provided that the landlord gave written notice of the termination date somewhere between three months to one month in advance. Please note that the rules differ if your fixed-term tenancy agreement includes a so-called diplomat clause.
Any tenancy agreement can also be terminated by mutual consent or if one of the parties violates the terms of the tenancy agreement.
If no choice of law has been made in your employment contract, the law of the country where you normally work will be applicable. If a choice of law has been made in the employment contract, that law will apply. However, the employer will have to comply with the mandatory Dutch laws and provisions for the protection of employees in the Netherlands, including holiday days and sick pay.
You can perform work in the Netherlands based on an employment contract. Employment contracts are subject to a specific set of rules, Dutch employment law. The employment contract must be distinguished from commission and freelance contracts (opdrachtovereenkomsten) and contracting for work (aanneming van werk).
There are different kind of employment contracts. You can enter into a permanent employment contract (‘permanent contract’) with your employer. You can also enter into a enter into a fixed-term employment contract (‘temporary contract’), with a set end date. Upon reaching this date, the employment contract ends automatically.
Furthermore, you can perform work based on other flexible employment contracts, such as:
During the probationary period, both you and your employer may terminate the contract without prior notice. The termination takes effect immediately, thus no notice period needs to be taken into account. The employer is required to give the reason for the termination of your employment contract upon your request.
Note: Your probationary period clause is null and void if this clause is not agreed upon in writing, exceeds the statutory deadlines and/or is not of equal length for both you and your employer.
You are entitled to at least the statutory minimum wage. The Minimum Wage and Minimum Holiday Allowance Act provides for a statutory minimum wage for all employees from the age of 21 and a statutory minimum youth wage for employees between the ages of 15 and 20. Minimum standards are set by the government twice a year in January and July. Based on the aforementioned Act, you are also entitled to a statutory minimum holiday allowance of at least 8% of your gross annual wage to a maximum of three times the yearly minimum wage.
Furthermore, you are entitled to at least the statutory holiday days, which is four times your weekly working days. Thus, if you work five days a week, you are entitled to twenty holiday days per year. Your employer is obliged to continue the payment of wage during your holiday days.
As an employee you are (under circumstances) entitled to the following types of (care) leave:
If your employment contract includes a unilateral changes clause, your employer may – under circumstances – unilaterally change your employment terms. He may do so if he has a substantial interest in the change and if his interest outweighs your interest.
In case no unilateral changes clause is included in your employment contract, your employer, in principle, may not change your terms of employment without your consent. Nevertheless, the employer may in some cases unilaterally amend the agreement. An employee must behave as a “good employee” according to Dutch law. If your employer makes you a reasonable proposal which you cannot reasonably refuse, being a good employee involves that you must agree to it.
You can resign from your job. There are, however, a few things to consider if you are planning on resigning.
If you resign, you must in principle take into account the notice period. For an employee, the statutory notice period is one month. However, a different notice period may have been agreed upon in your employment contract. Please note that notice of termination is to be given with effect from the end of the calendar month. Thus, if your notice period is one month and you terminate your employment contract on 15 March, your contract will end on 30 April.
If you have a temporary contract, you cannot always terminate your employment contract before the set end date. Premature termination of a temporary employment contract is only possible if this has been agreed in writing. If your employment contract, however, does not include a premature termination clause, you will need permission from your employer to prematurely resign.
Note: If you resign, you will usually not be entitled to unemployment benefits (WW-uitkering), since you are responsible for your own unemployment.
Employees enjoy strong legal protection under Dutch dismissal law. Your employer can terminate your employment contract in different ways:
Tip: If your employment contract is terminated upon the initiative of your employer, he must usually pay you transition compensation.
Employment law can be a tricky area for internationals in the Netherlands. What do you need to consider when you change jobs? What are your rights if you lose your job? Can you continue to stay in the Netherlands?
Your employee lives in the Netherlands and wants to work from home while your company is not located there. What do you as an employer have to pay attention to before granting such a request?
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