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Expat Market In the Netherlands – All You Need To Know About Expats Before Targeting Them

Known its remarkable network of canals, iconic fields of tulips and historic capital, Amsterdam, the Netherlands is a beautiful country that is also popular with many multinational companies and recruitment agencies. The coastal European country has a stable economy, with one of the lowest unemployment rates in the European Union. The cherry on top is that it has been ranked favourably by OECD Better Life Index for general well-being and ranked top in work-life balance. It is no wonder why many expats choose to work here.

What is an expat?

An expat is an individual who is assigned overseas, often temporarily and for work reasons. Generally well-educated, possessing considerably high disposable income and in their forties, expats are an under-targeted market, often easily overlooked by companies, since companies are more likely to focus on bigger market — the local audience. 

There are two types of expats. The first being traditional expats who are moving or have moved from their home country to a new country to establish a new life. The second are expats who have lived abroad and are returning to their home country. Their return could be motivated by various reasons ranging from career advancement and retirement to personal and familial reasons. 

Behaviours of Expats in the Netherlands

Understanding expat behaviours will allow businesses to better target them. These trends are as follows:

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1. Location

According to the 2019 Residential Ranking by real estate company JLL, Amsterdam is the top location expats choose to live in within the Netherlands. Some of the reasons behind this is the city’s economic growth, accessibility and numerous facilities. Utrecht comes in second due to its central location, highly educated population, quality of residences, and increasing house prices. 

Coming in 3rd, 4th and 5th are Delft, Amersfoort and Zwolle. These cities have risen in ranking because of positive economic developments and forecasts, good accessibility and demography. 

2. Housing

As the Netherlands has a relatively large population for its size, it is not easy to find accommodation in the country. Additionally, 75% of the housing market is reserved for social housing and only a few expats qualify for this which leaves 25% of the market for private housing which expats have access to. 

Most expats rent housing in the Netherlands, so much so that when the coronavirus situation took place and there was a decrease of expats residing in the country, rental prices fell in the major cities. In Amsterdam, new tenants saw a 6.8% drop in rental prices as compared to 2020.

3. Income

The average annual salary of expats in the Netherlands is €36,400. In comparison, the global average monthly salary is only €16,320. It also goes without saying that expats with advanced careers will receive an even higher salary.

Relocated employees have to learn how to adjust and adapt to the various norms and the culture of a new country. This is also something that gets easier with the passage of time but it can absolutely play a huge role in the effectiveness of a relocated employee early on.

4. Cost of Living

The cost of living per person per month in the Netherlands is €851 without rent and of course, this varies from place to place, with Amsterdam’s cost of living being significantly higher than other parts of the country. According to Mercer’s 2021 Cost of Living City Ranking, the Dutch capital is 44th for the most expensive cities to live in. The second most popular location for expats in the Netherlands, Utrecht has a cost of living that is 8% lower than Amsterdam.

What Do Expats Do

The Netherlands has a great demand for highly skilled professionals. Many expats have even gone through a fast-track immigration process to work in IT, finance, sales, marketing and customer service. You can also find them in healthcare, tax, interim management and education sectors.

Channels used by expats in the Netherlands

The following also serve as marketing channels to reach expats:

1. Online Publications 

There are several websites that provide expat-targeted content that expats in the Netherlands are likely to use. These include IamExpatXPat.nl and Expat.com. XPat.nl also features a Business Directory, businesses looking to gain traction with the expat community can consider getting listed for brand awareness.

2. Online Networks 

Living in a new country isn’t easy, hence, online networks have been set up for expats to socialise and even find housing. Meetup connects expats with new friends online based on common interested. The platform also sets up meet and greet events with fellow expats of the same country. On the other hand, The Expat Housing Networkprovides more practical connections by helping expats find housing in the Netherlands. The coolest part? The organisation is powered a network of expats themselves. 

3. Streaming Services

Besides national television, expats may wish to access a wider variety of content. Ziggo GO is a popular recommendation that allows users to watch live TV and on-demand video content from a PC, laptop, tablet, or mobile phone. In 2016, HBO exited the Netherlands, however, Ziggo GO carries its content. Other streaming platforms include Disney+, Netflix, hayu and Amazon Prime Video. 

Expat Communities in the Netherlands

The Dutch are generally friendly to foreigners and embrace people of all races and cultural backgrounds. Expats are likely to feel right at home in this country although they may seeks connections with fellow expats and countrymen.

Marketing to Expats in the Netherlands

Rather than marketing generally to all expats in the Netherlands, segment the expat audience into young professionals, middle-aged senior executives and pensioners. The different sub-target groups are likely to have diverse needs and wants. Understand the differences and craft targeted marketing strategies accordingly. 

It is likely that being in the know of local news and current world affairs is important to expats. Being present on Dutch publications that expats regularly read via opinion pieces, contributions or even, ads, are sure to pull eyeballs from your target audience.

Generally, emotional approaches fare better than rational approaches when it comes to marketing. Try incorporating emotional aspects of expat life into your marketing campaigns.

There is also opportunity to market to expats via events, whether it is by organising or inserting brand presence, since they are likely to be seeking social connections in the country. 


Due to its stable economy, abundance of work opportunities and great quality of life, the Netherlands is a popular country for expats to seek employment in. As the cost of living is manageable, expats are likely to have more disposable income and may be more willing to spend. To successfully market to expats in the Netherlands, find the right messaging to connect your brand with them and be sure to cover as many touchpoints as possible. 

How Moovaz Can Help

With the growing opportunities in the expatriate market, enhancing your customer experience and targeting your clients accurately is more important than ever.

Moovaz is an end-to-end relocation platform that eases the mobility of global citizens. Partner with us today to increase your reach to the expat community!

Feel free to contact us if you wish to partner with us.
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