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What to do when you first arrive in Netherlands

21st March 2017 - 10 min read

No matter for what kind of reasons you come to the Netherlands, you need to know these basic things. These following basic things are super duper essential for your welfare in this country.

Remember for an Indonesian who usually have everything set up and served, living in Netherlands will change that! You need to adapt yourself in order to survive. The things below are of course will be informed by agency or university you come for/with. But often, it is not explained thoroughly on why and how you can do it. This post will give a little more insights to get you first to imagine how neat and organized life in Netherlands is.

Register in Gementee (town hall)

Supposedly once you arrive in Netherlands, you already have plans on where to live. Usually for students, you will have dormitory or some recommended houses already, so nothing to worry about. Else, you need to make sure the place you stay in is ‘registerabale’. It means you are able to register yourself in town hall. It is mandatory to have an address when you live in the Netherlands otherwise you will not be able to have or apply Residence Permit. Or if you already have, IND may shut down your permit. By registering in Gementee, you will get a BSN (Social security) number.

Here is to find the local (gemeente) to register. You will need to bring your ID (Dutch residence permit if you already have, passport, and legalized birth certificate). If you are an Indonesian, legalized birth certificate means that it’s translated in english and signed by 3 different institutions. I’ll thoroughly explain about this in another post (in Indonesian language).

p.s When you look for houses to rent, be extra careful of landlords who require money before you see the house itself. Never trust that kind of scam!

Report to the Indonesian Embassy

Reporting yourself aims to record the whereabouts of the citizens in the country of accreditation. In case something undesirable, such as loss of passport or travel document, embassy can give assistance. Representatives of the Republic of Indonesia will not be able to provide assistance or make replacement of your passport / travel document at once, if the representative does not have the data themselves are concerned. Embassy will provide stamped self check in service passports as a sign page has conducted self report. Visit the link of Indonesian Embassy for more information. It is a matter of filling in form and submit. If you live far from The Hague, where the embassy is, there will be once in a year collective self-report in Indonesian (student) community in your area.

Open Dutch Bank Account

Here in the Netherlands, digital payment transaction is a common practice. You will not be able to receive your salary when you do not own a dutch bank account. Or moreover, some supermarkets only receive card/pin payment. Also, the public transportation as of Mar 2017 in Amsterdam does not receive cash anymore. That is how importance it is to have dutch bank account. If you would like to open a bank account, you can choose which ones (usually Rabo Bank, ABN Amro, or ING) then submit it online. Upon receipt of your completed banking form, the bank will set up your bank account. Or you can also come visit the closest bank branch in your area.

Get a health insurance

As a foreigner outside the EU who lives for a long term in the Netherlands, we are obliged to have a health insurance within 4 months after receiving Residence Permit. As the name, health insurance is designed to cover the cost of medical care. If you do not have basic Dutch health insurance, you will receive a reminder letter and if you still do not own it after given period of time, you will be fined. Or for example, if you postpone and postpone for getting your health insurance hoping that you will only pay for the moment you sign up, you are wrong! The health insurance institution will ask you to pay from the moment you are registered in the Netherlands or when you do not have the insurance. You can contact the Sociale Verzekeringsbank whether or not your situation requires you to have dutch insurance.

If you are required but do not have, you will obviously have to pay everything yourself when there is something happen with your health.

You may only change your health insurance provider once per year, for the following year. The deadline to change is December 31. If you are on a low income you may be eligible to have your monthly health insurance premiums (partly) covered by the healthcare allowance (zorgtoeslag).

Tips: As the Dutch is quite frugal, they have all the kind of comparative website that will give you an overview about insurance (not only health) offer with the price. Visit independer for that. It gives you advise as well what is the best choice for your needs.

Above are the mandatory things to cover, and after that you can follow the below

Get to know yourself with MARKTPLAATS

Click here or you can download the apps on your phone

What is Marktplaats? It is a marketplace where you can sell, give away, or buy some stuff. This website is focusing in second hand goods, but not necessarily. If you look for some furniture as you will need some to fill in your newly rented house, it is the best place to look at. If you are lucky, you could get something for FREE. Sometimes people just want to get rid of something super quickly, and the way to do it is by offering for free.

I was once so lucky during my student time, the time when I only want something cheap! I was looking for a study table, so that I can study properly instead of on my bed.  The searching was rather long until I finally found a really good quality IKEA study table. It was for FREE from a kind woman nearby my place. Although it is for FREE, I need to ask my friend to help me picking it up as I had to bear the responsibility to carry it back home. Keep your eyes on Marktplaats! There is a filter on location that you can absolutely use, it will already filter out the unreachable distance. Oh! and it is the good place to search for a bike too!

Buy a second hand bike or Ov-chipkaart

Depending on where you live, you should start thinking about your travel plan, whether you want to often bike or take a public transportation. Applying for ov-chipkaart will be useful even though you frequently bike. This ov-chipkaart acts like your debit card, it needs to be uploaded with some money for usage. This ov-chipkaart is valid for all transportation throughout the whole Netherlands.  Visit here for more information.

If you plan to live long, you better register your personal Ov-chipkaart under your name and with your picture. You need the personal one in order to buy monthly abbonement and some other subscriptions.


Click here or you can download the apps on your phone.

It is you trip planner that you can simply use as an app on your smart phone. Nowadays, you can also use google maps, however it’s more dutchie to check 9292 as it was found by Dutch group of people.

Buien Radar

Click here or you can download the apps on your phone.

And finally! HERE IT ISSSSSSSSSS… Finally we reach the attempt to understand the characteristic of Dutch Weather. I reckoned that will be quite tricky to understand haha it is so unpredictable by just looking at the sky. Weather can change in any time possible. It’s not uncommon to have 4 different weathers in one day. So better be safe than sorry! To do it, you should visit weather forecast link or have it in your iphone. That is the first thing to check in the morning before you leave the house!

So that is it for a new comers who want to stay in the Netherlands.

Feel free to leave comments or contact me for questions that are not covered in my blog yet 😉


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