FAQ how do I start working?
You want to start working, during or after your study. How do you begin? Where do your opportunities lie? How do you use your network? Are you going to set to work as a self-employed person, do you want to be employed or will you opt for a combination of the two? What does your work mean for the development of your career?
On this page
Where do your opportunities lie?
What are your wishes in the short and long term? Where do your opportunities lie and what are your talents? Everything begins with a clear, concise and engaging story about you, your work and your ambition. Regardless of whether you are applying for job, would like to secure an assignment or initiate your own project: ensure that you can say who you are and what motivates you. Start in your own network: most opportunities can be found there. You have already built a network during your study. Examples may include the internship/work placement institution(s), (guest) teachers/lecturers and your fellow students. Family, friends and neighbours also belong to your network.
Development of your professional practice
Always wonder what the work that you do means to you. Do not just think about the financial compensation for a job or assignment. You should also look at the significance thereof for your (artistic) development and the development of your network. For example: will you receive little pay, but will the assignment provide you with a new network and can you develop artistically through this project? In that case, it may still be interesting to do the work. And if you are offered a good sum of money, but the project does not provide you with a network or artistic development, should you still do it?
You want to do an unpaid job, make sure it doesn’t last too long or costs you a lot of time. Also, don’t underestimate yourself (and your value to the project) and make sure it contributes to your career. You can, for example, gain work experience as a volunteer. Doing an internship/work placement is not possible if you have graduated, because there is no educational institution involved that will supervise you.
Which way of work suits you?
You can shape the way you work in different ways. This often strongly depends on what is common in the sector (for your specialism) or what the institution or person for whom you will be working can offer. But it can also be a well-considered choice to, for example, become an employee or start as a self-employed person. After all, employment provides more security than doing business and less administration. Entrepreneurship gives you more freedom in the way you would like to work. Consider these different aspects to see what suits you and your work. A combination of different ways of working is also possible.
Salaried employment or remuneration
If you have a salaried job, you automatically contribute to employee insurance schemes, which you can possibly make use of in the event of loss of income. In that case, you have an employment contract. If you receive a salary for an assignment, then you are also an employee in a legal and fiscal sense. As an employee, you do not have to choose any type of enterprise and tax will be deducted from your salary by the employer or the payroll company.
Your own company
If you start working for yourself, as a self-employed without employees or with others, you will send invoices for your work and draw up commission contracts. You will have to deal with taxes for entrepreneurs/self-employed professionals and keep your administration up to date. You decide yourself how you cover yourself against business risks, such as loss of income in the event of unemployment or illness. If you register with the Chamber of Commerce (Kamer van Koophandel, KVK), you will choose a type of enterprise. The Dutch Tax and Customs Administration (Belastingdienst) will then see whether you will also receive a VAT number. Read more about this in the Step-by-step plan starting as a self-employed person, the link can be found at the bottom of this page.
You can also make use of the opting-in scheme. You can then be paid as if you are an entrepreneur, but without all the administrative obligations. You do, however, have to declare this to the Tax and Customs Administration. This income will be taxed as ‘results from other work’. You can read more about this on the Commissioned work page.
Working in the Netherlands as a foreign student or alumnus
If you come from an EU/EEA country, you can simply set to work in the Netherlands. You may take a job or start working as a self-employed person during your study (and also thereafter). You are required, however, to register with the Chamber of Commerce, keep records and pay your tax yourself.
If you come from a non-EU/EEA country, you can only do a job on the side during your study if your employer applies for a work permit for persons from outside the European Economic Area (TWV) from the Dutch Employee Insurance Agency (UWV). With this permit, you can either work full-time in June, July and August or a maximum of 16 hours per week during the year (as of 2022). If you have a residence permit/visa for a study, you can also set to work as a self-employed person during your study. In that case, you must register with the Chamber of Commerce and the same rules will apply to you as to Dutch entrepreneurs. Want to continue working in the Netherlands after your studies? More information can be found in the Faq residence and work in the Netherlands as a foreign alumnus.
Please take into account that a Dutch health insurance policy is compulsory if you want to work as an employee and also, in some cases, if you want to start working as a self-employed person. You can have the Social Insurance Bank (Sociale Verzekeringsbank, SVB) carry out a personal check for you.