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I came with six months of savings, and at the time felt comfortable, and that everything would be fine. Flash forward three months to the present day; I am down to my last few drops of money and am running out of time. I have been unable to find any work and have struggled at every turn with the incredibly complicated minefield that is Dutch bureaucracy. The truth is that I had no idea what Dutch bureaucracy would really be like when moving to the Netherlands.
I had read and researched and it seemed simple enough, but the reality was far different. As I face my last few weeks, staring down the possibility of paying on credit card for a plane ticket home to go back to start saving again, I have wondered often what I did wrong. But I have learnt some incredibly valuable lessons along the way, and would love to share them with you, so hopefully you or your friends moving to the Netherlands can avoid the same problems.
To simplify it; when moving to the Netherlands, like anywhere else, you need a job to survive. To work in the Netherlands, you need to have a BSN. To do this though, you need to have found a place to live, and to find a place to Amsterdam you need luck, money, and most importantly, a job.
Thus creating a catch 22 situation. To explain how to avoid the common pitfalls of expats in Amsterdam, I will start with the first step; talking to Gemeente. As in; you are mean. The town hall is where all sense of excitement and adventure of your journey moving to the Netherlands come to a grinding bureaucratic halt.
Go in to see them as soon as you can when you arrive in the Netherlands! Even though they are the last people you will talk to, you need to talk to them as soon as possible. When you visit the Gemeente, tell them it is your first registration in the Netherlands.