Jobs in Amsterdam: How to Find Amsterdam Jobs
So you've decided to make the move, and now you're wondering how to go about finding jobs in Amsterdam? Finding work in Amsterdam is similar to any city, be prepared to call or visit a lot of businesses before finding one that will offer you a job. The advice below should help to shorten your search however, or at least ensure you are going in the right direction.
The Language Barrier
The bad news for us English speakers is that a good level of Dutch is required for most office jobs in Amsterdam. Be prepared to take a step down the ladder if you wish to continue your current career path in Amsterdam, at least until your Dutch improves.
If you don't speak Dutch however, never fear. An ability to speak English will stand you in good stead for work in the tourism business, as well as sectors close to that like the entertainment industry. Most owners of Dutch tourist businesses will appreciate some basic Dutch, but realise that English speakers are the largest group among the foreign visitors to Amsterdam, so you have some advantage there.
It is also possible to get some freelance jobs in Amsterdam without Dutch, as many foreign nationals live and work here who are willing to employ a freelancer whom they share a language with.
Learning Dutch is always advisable, but the language is hard to learn and it isn't easy to practice since most Dutch will immediately talk to you in English when they find out you're a foreigner.
There are a number of English language employment agencies in the city, Undutchables being one of the main ones. They can be found at Westeinde 20 but, like most Dutch agencies, they prefer contact to be made through their website at www.undutchables.nl. Other agencies and websites worth checking out are www.englishlanguagejobs.com or www.jobinamsterdam.com.
Mostly these agencies offer call center work in either English or whatever your native language is. There are lots of other employment agencies offering different kinds of jobs in Amsterdam, but usually these deal exclusively with Dutch speakers.
Tips and Tricks
Be sure to make contacts within Amsterdam's sizeable English-language expat community. Quite some expats have founded small companies of their own, where English speakers can generally get a job easier. Expats can also give you tips and ideas where to look for jobs.
Even if you don't speak Dutch, a lot of tourist businesses may value your ability with a language other than English. Tourists from all over the world come to Amsterdam and many Dutch business owners appreciate having someone with a language they may not speak themselves. German, French, Russian, Italian, Spanish and Chinese are all widely spoken in Amsterdam, among many other languages, so be sure to list your language skills on your resume.
Many places in Amsterdam like to have a picture provided with a CV/resume. While this may not be the norm in other cities, it can greatly help your chances of landing a job in a pub or coffee shop. So get out your camera or visit a photo booth, put on your best 'employee of the month' face and say cheese!
Amsterdam's busy season is from mid June to mid August, and partly the Christmas season, when tourists flood into the city and cafes and bars that have been quiet all year suddenly find themselves filled to bursting point. Jobs in Amsterdam are much more plentiful during these times so arriving a few weeks before any of the high seasons kicks in can help your chances, as many businesses are looking to hire some extra staff then.
Red Tape and Registration
All jobs in Amsterdam, or at least those that are legal and above board, will ask that you have a tax number. This Burgerservicenummer (BSN), called a Citizens Service Number in English, is required by anyone planning to work in the Netherlands for more than four months.
If you are staying less than that time you will need to obtain a Social Fiscal Number, called a Sofi number by most people you will talk to. No matter what you call it, this number is the key to getting any kind of legal work in Amsterdam.
The standard way to go about getting your BSN is to register with your local town hall as a resident of the city. For most people staying in the city center, this can be found beside the Heineken Experience on Stadhouderskade. This can be a lengthy process as you will need to make an appointment for a date in the future and your number will be issued several weeks after this date; finding jobs in Amsterdam can take some serious advance planning.
Getting a Sofi number is much easier and takes a lot less time. To get this number, contact the Belastingdienst (Tax Office) to make an appointment. Once you have received a date and time, call into the offices behind Sloterdijk Station with proof of identity and address. Non-EU citizens will also have to present a passport with a work permit and residency permit. After this appointment your Sofi number should be issued within a few days and you can start your hunt for jobs in Amsterdam.
A Quick Solution
As getting your BSN can take a lot of time, one solution to find work in Amsterdam quickly is to apply for a Sofi number on arrival regardless of the planned length of your stay. Once this is obtained you can find work and then register with your local town hall for a longer stay.
When you do apply to register, be sure to mention that you already have a Sofi number. Otherwise you could end up with two numbers, which can cause confusion and may even get you in trouble with the Dutch authorities.