Wednesday 06 July 2022

So just how many expats are there in the Netherlands?

passportsThe Netherlands has between 39,000 and 75,000 expats, according to new research by the national statistics office CBS.

The researchers define an expat as someone who was born outside the Netherlands and does not have Dutch nationality, who is aged 18 to 75 and earns a salary at the upper end of the norm in their sector.

The CBS research shows one in four ‘foreign employees’ with a high wage comes from England or Germany. Indians account for the third largest group of men, while Poland is third on the women’s list.

Most expats, according to the CBS, are aged 18 to 40 and one-third are single.

The four big cities and their surrounding areas are home to most expats, while university cities also host a significant number, the CBS says. The report also shows the business services, healthcare, academia, trade and the hospitality industries are most likely to employ expat staff.


The researchers point out there is no clear definition of an expat and that the official government website uses the term 300 times without explaining what they mean.

The traditional definition of an expat is someone who is sent to work in a foreign country for an international company or organisation for a few years at most and earns a high salary.

Research by the International Community Platform last year involving over 2,000 international workers showed the traditional definition has been overtaken by changes in global migration.

The ICP says there are some 500,000 internationals living and working in the Netherlands and they can be roughly divided into two groups: the ‘global citizens’ who settle here, stay on average for at least eight years or do not expect to leave the country at all, and the ‘free movers’, the growing number of ‘short stay’ internationals who stay approximately one year or less.

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