Many expats come to the Netherlands either because they’ve been hired by big corporate businesses, or because their partner works for one. And at some point, many of us get fed up with that lifestyle and decide to be our own bosses!
It’s actually not that difficult for expats to find freelance jobs in the Netherlands. There are so many options for you to make a living on your own time and most importantly many for which you don’t need Dutch!
How to Freelance in the Netherlands
Whether you want to be a caterer, a magician, a graphic designer, a computer programmer, or anything that makes you happy, the Dutch government has a couple of requirements for you!
Obtain a self-employed visa
Depending on what country you’re from, you may have different requirements for a self-employed visa. For example, the Dutch American Friendship Treaty (DAFT) visa has slightly different conditions for Americans than other self-employed expats. But citizens of countries from the European Economic Area don’t need a separate work permit.
If you’re already living in the Netherlands, be sure to check your resident status before leaving your job and starting a business! Whether you’re a highly-skilled migrant, a spouse, or a student, your work restrictions may vary.
Register with the KvK
Once you figure out whether you’re allowed to work as an entrepreneur (ondernemer in Dutch), you need to register your self-employed business with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce, also known as the Kamer van Koophandel (KvK).
Generally speaking, the application process is easy. You make an appointment to register your business and submit your business plan. If the KvK approves, you pay a fee, they register your business, and then you open a business bank account!
But let’s back up a minute: what kind of freelance jobs in the Netherlands are there?
The Best Freelance Jobs in the Netherlands
So you know you want all the perks of being your own boss. But what kind of work do you want to do, exactly?
Design Sprint Facilitator
Do you hate meetings and inefficiency? Then maybe you should become a design sprint facilitator! This revolutionary technique is based on how Google runs their meetings (you’ve heard of Google, right?).
Companies have projects to launch, but they get dragged through endless amounts of bureaucracy and protocol that cause delays and frustration. As a design sprint facilitator, you use a methodology that reduces busywork and increases productivity.
It may sound like a hodge-podge of buzz words, but the technique has helped companies like Google, Slack, and Lego excel at churning out products! Usually, you spend one week with a company to help them sift through ideas to find what sticks.
Design sprint training programs like AJ&Smart cost around €1,500, but program graduates can charge ten times that amount for a one-week session! Imagine everything you could do with the remaining three weeks of your month.
Personal coach or counselor
Do you like helping people? Do you inspire people? Do you encourage people to be the best versions of themselves? Then consider becoming a coach or counselor!
Technically, you can just become a personal coach in the Netherlands without any formal training. But you probably won’t do very well or get very far.
Coaching or counseling people is more than just an occasional pep talk. You learn about your client’s struggles and guide/empower them to work through the obstacles. And depending on the client, you’ll need to create a plan or strategy that best suits them.
But you need to know your own pitfalls and weaknesses before you can help other people. If you become a counselor without recognizing your own issues, those problems may affect how you attempt to help clients. Academy for Coaching and Counseling (ACC) and Motivation Management Service (MMS) can help you with that!
A coach or counselor can easily make between €100 to €150 per hour. Depending on how many clients you have and your rate, you could live comfortably working just 10 hours a month!
Training programs can range in prices of €5.000 up to €12.000, but if you receive proper training, you can join a certified organization. And some organizations can help you find clients as well as boost your credibility.
As you already know, the Dutch can speak English very well. But almost everyone in the world needs a little help with their English language skills!
As an English teacher, you can truly work anywhere in the world. That means, however, that your pay can vary greatly depending on the program you work with or how in-demand your services are.
English teachers in the Netherlands usually earn between €20 to €55 per hour, which is nearly double the average salary here. And you can spend those hours teaching out of your home, at language school, or from behind your webcam – whatever works best for you!
Similar to coaching or counseling, you can technically teach people how to speak English without any training, but certification from a reputable institution like BLTC will help you find work. They offer a Cambridge Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA ), which costs up to €2,000 for the course.
Luckily, however, you can either enroll in an intensive, full-time course for one month, or a part-time course spread over a few months. So depending on your current work situation, you can easily earn your certification before quitting your day job!
The Netherlands is hungry for tech talent. As the country attracts more and more tech companies, they need software developers to help those startups grow. In fact, it’s one of the most sought-after professions for highly skilled migrants.
But nowadays, you don’t need a university degree to be a software engineer! If you have the patience to learn a few coding languages, you’ll be one of the most valuable people in the Netherlands. There are all kinds of online programs to get you started – some are even free!
And you also don’t have to work full-time for a company as a software engineer. You can spend your time working remotely for companies around the world or even take a few contracts for companies in the Netherlands. Some clients may request you come into the office every once in a while, but overall, you can do the work from anywhere.
Copywriter and SEO Specialist
Any website you visit needs text. And with so much information out there on the internet, companies need a lot of articles to stay competitive in search engine results.
But the company who owns the website doesn’t always write all their own content – they pay other people to do it. And one of those people could be you!
Your pay usually depends on a combination of your experience and their budget, but the average annual earning can be between €30,000 and €50,000. Other factors to consider are the quality of your writing, how quickly you can write an article, and how many times an editor needs to review it. And as you gain more experience, you can charge more.
The biggest perk of being a freelance copywriter is that you already know how to write! So you can take as many writing assignments as you want, whenever you want. And it doesn’t cost anything but time to learn the basics of search engine optimization (SEO) writing.
Videos are another hot piece of content that every company needs for its marketing. But figuring out the shots you need, then getting the footage, editing the video, compiling the music, and publishing the final product is a lot of work.
But if writing, shooting, and editing videos tickle your fancy, maybe you should be a videographer!
And because it takes so much work and time, many companies will pay a lot of money for someone else to get it done. From restaurants to bike shops, software companies to political candidates, everyone needs video!
Depending on the client or industry, a new videographer can easily earn €2,000 for just one video. Spend a day drafting the idea, another day shooting, and another day editing and boom! A couple of grand in your bank account.
Video editing may have a high barrier to entry if you want really nice equipment and editing software. But if you want to learn on a budget, check out some YouTube tutorials and practice editing footage you shoot on your phone.
And if you really enjoy it, you can drop some euros on a GoPro, Adobe Premiere, or more in-depth masterclasses!
After a long week at a corporate job, people don’t want to clean their own house. It can often be a source of stress or anxiety.
But not if you’re paid to do it. Take a few hours out of your day to listen to some podcasts while cleaning someone’s house – and get paid to do it! There’s not much of a barrier to entry, other than being a responsible human being.
Helpling is a platform for customers to find house cleaners in their zip codes. If you want to be a cleaner, it’s free to register!
The platform tells you the average rate for your city, but you can set the rate and the hours that best fit your schedule. For example, the average hourly rate in Rotterdam is €14.90, whereas in Utrecht it’s €15.80.
Ready to live your best life?
Finding freelance jobs in the Netherlands isn’t hard. It just depends on what you want to do and how much effort you’re willing to put into it. And whatever it is, it should make you happier than what you’re doing now!
What freelance jobs in the Netherlands do you recommend for expats? Do you have experience with any of these? Let us know in the comments!