About being a programmer in the Netherlands

I always like reading, listening and watching materials about programmers in different countries. I've spent almost 3 years working as a programmer in the Netherlands. Some time ago I asked on one Polish Facebook group for questions about working there. I've created this blog post based on what these people were interested in.

Technologies, experience, wages

I am working as a programmer for around 5 years (2020), I have always been interested in web technologies, so my position is Front-end/Full stack developer focused on Javascript and React. A person with my experience can expect to earn around 50 - 65 thousand EUR yearly on contract in Amsterdam.

If you would like to read more about earnings, also on different positions, I recommend the glassdoor site.


Most of the programmers in Holland work on normal work contracts. Assuming that someone earns 50 thousand EUR yearly, should get around 2,940 EUR net monthly. But as a programmer or other specialist, you can apply for a tax discount - the 30% tax ruling. With this tax discount, your net monthly salary can be 3,417 EUR.

You can check taxes for different wages here - dutch tax calculator.

Commuting to work

Amsterdam and its region are well commuted. Also because Adam is a quite small city it is harder to spend more than 1 hour on public transport. Commuting allowance is quite popular work benefit, because of that, we don't need to pay for going to work. If someone works close enough to the workplace, a company can also offer a bike/e-bike instead of a commuting allowance.

Food in a workplace

A lot of companies offer lunches for a small fee or completely for free. For a Polish person, it can be funny that Dutch lunches are more similar to breakfast than Polish dinner.

Apartment and food costs

The price range for renting an apartment can be quite big. Additionally, because of good public transport you can easily live outside of Amsterdam and commute to work in less than 30 minutes. Typical apartment in Amsterdam (bedroom + living room), around 60 square meters costs around 1700 EUR/month (2020). One of the most popular sites for looking for apartments is Funda (almost everything on the site is available in English).

Food in supermarkets is slightly more expensive than in Poland (or Germany), but it depends on a specific product, but when you go to the Restaurant you should expect a 2 times bigger bill than in Poland. In a kebab place, you can spend around 4 - 10 EUR per person, in a cheap Asian restaurant 10 - 20 EUR, and in a normal restaurant 15 - 30 EUR.

Should I know Dutch to work in the Netherlands?

I see that for 80% of IT job offers in Amsterdam, English is enough. So it is easily possible to find a job without Dutch, knowing English only. Although, if you want to stay longer in the country it is good to learn Dutch because you have more opportunities and you can better fit into the local society.

Recruitment process

I think that the recruitment process for IT people looks similar everywhere. I can only make a comparison between Poland and Holland and I can say that with things that I learned in Poland and with knowing the English language at a good level it is easy to find a job for me.

I want to move to the Netherlands! How to start the whole thing?

You should prepare a nice Linkedin profile and change your place to Amsterdam. Just send applications to a few companies and you should get a lot of offers from many recruiters soon! If you don't know where to start I recommend guys from Foxtek, they have a lot of good job offers.

Polish interview for justjoin.it

Some time ago justjoin.it asked me if I would like to answer a few questions about working in the Netherlands. In the interview, you can read about different things in this post, so it can be an interesting supplement to this text. You can read it here (an interview is in Polish, but you can use google translate ;)).

Published: 01.07.2022
© 2023, By Damian Sowa