The Dutch perspective: remote working and digital nomads

Monday 13 December 2021

Thomas van Houwelingen
Everaert Advocaten, Amsterdam

Hermie de Voer
Everaert Advocaten, Amsterdam

One must admit, working remotely from Bali, Costa Rica or any other climatologically attractive location sounds more alluring than doing so from within the oft-rainy Netherlands. Still, one can also imagine that living and working as a digital nomad in the vibrant city of Amsterdam might have its own upsides.

Although the Netherlands welcomes foreign talent and has several types of residency permits available to attract and keep these talents in the country, a specific visa for remote work is not (yet) one of them. While several other jurisdictions have created a residence permit explicitly for digital nomads, one is yet to be published in the Netherlands.

Though this does not mean that it is impossible for digital nomads to work in the Netherlands. Foreign talent may work for a foreign employer and at the same time apply for a residence permit in the Netherlands, though the procedure to obtain such a permit is slightly more complicated than the regular process to obtain a residence permit with work authorisation.

The way to do this is through a payrolling agent, who will hire and sponsor the foreign national and second them to the foreign business. The salary paid by the payrolling company must be at the required level. This way, foreign nationals may work for their foreign employer whenever and wherever and within the Dutch territory.

The above might also work for freelancers. The Netherlands offers several residence permits for self-employment. For example, there are self-employment permits for nationals coming from a country with which the Netherlands has signed a Friendship or Trade Treaty (for example, Bolivia, Japan or the United States), there is a points-based system for entrepreneurs who add economic or innovative value to the Dutch society, and there is a special procedure for foreign artists and creatives who bring artistic talent to the Netherlands.

The main purpose of granting these residence permits to foreign entrepreneurs is to deploy business activities in the Netherlands and therefore add value to the Dutch economy. However, nothing would stop holders of these self-employment permits from being engaged by foreign clients as well. They would, therefore, still be working remotely in part by accepting assignments from foreign clients.

All in all, while there is no specific digital nomad visa in the Netherlands, there are still plenty of options for those considering working remotely from the Netherlands for an overseas employer!