Here's how you can make it a reality!

Hoping to settle down in the country of bikes, windmills and wooden shoes? Between the high standard of living, tolerant attitude, picturesque cities or stunning nature reserves, the Netherlands offers something for everyone! 

The Netherlands has beaches to wind down in summer, natural parks to explore and arts and culture to keep you entertained all year round. It’s famous for being the first country to legalize gay marriage and for its tolerance of soft drugs. This broad-mindedness plays a major part in the Dutch mindset, and you’ll find that the Dutch are particularly welcoming to foreigners.

Dutch architecture is diverse, but the country is most well-known for its iconic canal houses. These houses come with their own quirks, such as steep, spiral staircases that take some time getting used to, or facades that lean forwards over the street. And nothing says the Netherlands like the number of bikes you’ll see chained to every railing – which is thanks to the brilliant biking infrastructure and flat landscape. These are some of the most charming aspects of Dutch living, but there are also financial incentives and tax benefits if you choose to buy. These include tax deductible mortgage interest payments for up to 30 years and the possibility of a 30% tax ruling if you’re an expat taking out a mortgage. The tax benefits often mean mortgages are lower than rent!



Where you decide to buy will depend on your own personal plans and taste, but many expats choose to live in the Randstad, which is the area around Amsterdam, Haarlem, Rotterdam, Utrecht, Leiden and The Hague. While these areas are attractive because of the job opportunities there, they are also startlingly well connected by train to the rest of the country and Europe. As a result, many people decide to live in one city and commute to another – so you can have even more choice as to where you call home!

If you’re drawn to Amsterdam, know that the city is quite different from the rest of the country. It’s a very attractive destination for tourists, who often only visit the famous capital. This makes the center a busy place – especially if you want to do some weekend shopping! It’s jam-packed with museums, canal-side parades and plenty of green spaces. It is also one of the most expensive places to buy in the Netherlands, but it doesn’t have to be unaffordable to live in this international city. You may consider living in the surrounding areas, or settle for something smaller than you might find elsewhere.

Amsterdam isn’t the only place with iconic canals and bike-covered bridges. One option is the historic city of Leiden. Here you’ll find a windmill right on the main street! It’s in a region full of tulip fields, without being far from the major cities. Leiden is also the home of the flagship RE/MAX office, so come and visit us if you’re in the area!

If nature is what draws you to the low-lying country, Arnhem is next to the Veluwezoom National Park and has far fewer tourists. Rotterdam might be more to your taste if you like modern architecture – think cube houses, high rises and Europe’s largest port. These are just a few of the options available to you – make sure to ask your agent to recommend places you haven’t yet discovered.


The Netherlands is the only country in the world where most of the population live in terraced houses – around 10 million out of the 17 million population live in one. At the same time, it’s also a country of great variety... Ever thought about living in a houseboat or newly-built floating house? A new construction will live up to the highest environmental standards and give you a more comfortable living space. Buying an apartment is slightly different to buying a house, as apartments are owned by an association of owners and share responsibility for the upkeep of the building and all common areas.

Doing your own research into properties will go a long way. If you start your search knowing what’s non-negotiable and where you can compromise, you’ll already be much closer to finding your ideal home. However, your RE/MAX agent will help you take care of all the details. They will show you properties that best suit your needs and guide you through the entire transaction.



Now that you’ve chosen the area and the type of property, what steps do you need to take to make your new home a reality? There are no restrictions to buying, and if you are an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, you won’t even need a visa to live or work. However, some banks may not give you the full mortgage if you do not have a national identification number, which you can only get after five years of continuously living in the country.

When you start your house hunt it is vital to know your budget to avoid disappointment. This means knowing your mortgage options. You can talk to a mortgage advisor to make sure your prices are realistic. After this, your RE/MAX agent will set up viewings on your behalf. A good agent will know the local area well, so they can advise you on local amenities when you make your visits. When you’ve found your ideal home it’s time to make an offer. At this point you’ll need to get an appraisal report, and you may want a structural survey to make sure the house is everything it claims to be. A deposit of 10% is required, which you’ll transfer to the seller’s notary. However there is a legally necessitated 72 hour period after signing the contract in which you can change your mind without a penalty.


Ready to move in? Keep in mind that your home may need some renovations, as it’s common to sell houses completely unfurnished, even without floors. However, your RE/MAX agent will be by your side through the whole process, so all that’s left is to dig into Dutch life – whether that’s practicing cycling, brushing up on your Dutch basics or even celebrating with some raw herring!


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Please Note: While RE/MAX Europe has compiled the information on this page diligently and to the best of its knowledge, RE/MAX Europe does not assume any liability for the accuracy of the information or for any damages resulting from the use of the information.

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