One of the happiest and most socially progressive countries in the world, those who decide to teach in the Netherlands will find themselves in a welcoming and hospitable atmosphere, teaching abroad in one of Europe’s very best educational systems. From Amsterdam to the Hague, the Netherlands plays a central role in both European and world affairs, and for international teachers looking for a fun and enlightening environment abroad, there are few better places in the world to look for teaching jobs.
The Netherlands is a very small and densely populated country with nearly 17 million inhabitants. Amsterdam is the country’s most famous and iconic city for a good reason – not only does it offer a fun modern culture for young teachers to thrive in, but it is also amazingly rich in historical significance and architectural magnificence. The country’s capital and largest city will certainly not disappoint individuals who decide to teach there, with its inherent beauty, quality of life, and positive vibes.
Rotterdam is the second largest Dutch city, and for a long time has thrived as one of the busiest port cities in the whole world. Known historically as the “Gateway to Europe,” for its centrally influential role in European trade and economy, today Rotterdam is a highly modern and industrialized city. It is famous for its striking modern architecture and pristine setting on the Rotte River in South Holland.
The Hague, also located in South Holland, is the seat of the Dutch government and host to many important international organizations, such as the International Court of Justice and International Criminal Court. With just over a million inhabitants in the urban and suburban area, the Hague is the Netherlands’ third largest city and one of the most important centers of the United Nations in the world. For teachers interested in international affairs, the Hague offers a highly connected and globally concentrated environment.
The Dutch rank at one of the highest levels of English proficiency as a second language in the world, so the demand for ESL teachers here is not as high as in some other countries throughout Europe. Also, as previously mentioned, the Netherlands boasts one of the very finest educational systems in the world. Do not let these statistics deter you however – it is still very much possible to teach abroad in the Netherlands, given the right training and experience.
The most common form of teaching in the Netherlands is at private language academies or international schools. If you have a college degree and an ESL teaching certificate, then it will be easiest to find a teaching job at private schools across the country, many of which have English language centers, if located in major Dutch cities. International schools, which tend to model their curriculum around an International Baccalaureate track, are a solid option for more permanent teaching jobs in the Netherlands. However, these schools often require a significant education degree or prior teaching experience, and sometimes higher level training.
Dutch is the typical language of instruction across the country, so if you speak the native language then your chances of landing a teaching job in the Netherlands will exponentially increase. Those who do not speak Dutch will have better luck applying to teach at small private schools, international schools, or universities, where English language classes are offered regularly. The best times to apply to teach in the Netherlands will be August and December, before the beginning of each semester.
Salaries & Costs
In bare honesty, the Netherlands is an expensive country to live in. On the pricing scale it falls slightly above most Western European countries, although it is still significantly cheaper than the Scandinavian countries to the North. On top of high general costs of living there is also a very high tax rate (usually between 30 and 40 percent), meaning you will certainly be paying your way for the high quality of life which you will enjoy while teaching in the Netherlands.
The good news is that, because of high taxes, there are also many free social services and international teachers usually receive good benefits. Your salary will also reflect the price of living, reaching upwards of $2,500 USD per month for some entry level teaching jobs. Salaries vary depending on your qualifications and the type of school, and how much you save will depend on your lifestyle. Spending conservatively and living away from the city center while teaching in the Netherlands will end up being much cheaper than high-rolling in downtown Amsterdam.
Accommodation & Visas
The Netherlands is a very densely populated country, meaning that housing can often be hard to come by in the city scape – and what is available can be quite expensive. The good news is that the country is small and brilliantly connected by an efficient train system, meaning you can live outside the city or in rural areas for much cheaper, if you are willing to bear the commute. Many teachers temporarily teaching in the Netherlands will look simply to rent out a room, while teachers who accept permanent teaching jobs often will look for their own apartment or flat.
English speaking residents of Europe will have an easier time finding teaching positions in the Netherlands, than those from elsewhere because of labor laws which allow European citizens to work more easily in the Netherlands. Those from certain countries, such as Canada, Australia, or the U.S., will have to go through the fairly arduous process of organizing a work visa (and maybe a residential visa) with their host employer. Check out GoAbroad’s Dutch Embassy Directory to learn about the visa requirements for your home country.
Benefits & Challenges
The Netherlands is a wonderful example of a social system that works, and it makes sense that its educational structure is one of the strongest in the whole world. As a teacher coming from a foreign country your biggest challenge may be to secure a teaching job in the Netherlands. If you succeed however, you will find yourself living and teaching abroad in one of the happiest, most culturally stimulating, and globally important countries in the world. You may also develop an uncommon infatuation with the color orange, a common symptom of falling in love with the Dutch culture.