Teaching English in the Netherlands

By | December 27, 2016

The Netherlands (sometimes called Holland!) is a country located in Western Europe. It borders with Belgium and Germany to the south and west respectively.

The Netherlands is a very low-lying country and about one fifth of the country is located below sea level and only half of it is about one metre above sea level. In fact, the name ‘Netherlands’ actually means ‘Low Country’.

The Netherlands is a relatively small country but is densely populated with a population of around 17 million. Most of these people speak Dutch as their native language, but about two thirds can also speak English. English is a very popular language in the Netherlands and is a mandatory subject at high school.

The country is famous for many things including cheese, bicycles, clogs, tulips, windmills and the unusual smell coming from the country’s numerous coffee shops! The country is rich in history and culture with Amsterdam at the centre of its cultural heritage.

For more information about the Netherlands see Wikipedia.

Why teach English in the Netherlands


Amsterdam – Image courtesy of Wikimedia.

The Dutch are known for their tolerance, love of cycling and their ability to speak foreign languages. Therefore one might ask is there a need for native speaking English teachers in the country? Well the answer is that there isn’t a huge demand, but there are jobs available to the right applicants.

There are many big cities in Holland where English teachers can go to find work and each one has its own different identify. Amsterdam is home of creativity, culture and fun. It’s a known destination for those who like to smoke substances other than tobacco and are open to seeing and talking about sex. Moreover, Amsterdam is home to some amazing museums and art galleries and stunning architecture. Rotterdam is the business centre of the country and Den Hague is all about the politics.

Although English is studied by every high school student and a large number of the population in the Netherlands can speak English, there really isn’t much of a call for native English teachers. The demand is met by locals and expats already living in the country, but there are some opportunities available if you have the right mix of qualifications and experience.

Where to teach English in the Netherlands

As stated above, there aren’t many opportunities for native English speaking TEFL teachers, but you will find most available positions in the larger towns and cities. These include Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Den Hague, Maastricht, Leiden and Arnhem.

Types of Teaching Jobs in the Netherlands

Language Schools



There are quite a few private language schools dotted all over the country. Usually, you will need to have at least a bachelor’s degree and some kind of teaching certificate like a TEFL, TESOL or CELTA to be considered for a position in one of these schools. Most of the language schools in the Netherlands are international chains, but you will find some independently ran schools too.

International Schools

There are international schools across the country that teach various subjects in English. These schools employ native English teachers to teach a range of subjects, but they are also the hardest types of jobs to get. You will need at least a bachelor’s degree, be a qualified teacher in your home country, and have at least 2 years of experience. In some cases, you will also need a master’s degree in something connected to education. However, you can expect much higher salaries and great working conditions in international schools.


Globalised education is seen as very important and as a result there are many universities that have courses in English. If you want to teach at a university then you will need to be an expert in your field, have the appropriate qualifications (in some cases a PhD!) and experience before even being considered. This probably isn’t an option for most TEFL teachers!

Private Lessons

You might find some opportunities for giving private English lessons. However, as the standard of English is already very good and most Dutch citizens study English at school for a number of years, it can be difficult to find students willing to pay for your services.

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Teaching Requirements and Qualifications

Dutch Tulips

Dutch Tulips

If you are going to work in a language school, then should have at least a bachelor’s degree, hold a teaching certificate like a TEFL, TESOL or CELTA, and have some experience teaching English, although not necessarily in the Netherlands.

To have even more of a chance finding a job, a Master’s degree and specific teaching qualifications would mean that there will be more opportunities in other institutions such as international schools.

As most Dutch people already have a high standard of English, they are usually competent enough to teach it. Therefore, if you want to get a job teaching English in the Netherlands, you will need to be very well qualified and experienced.

Expected Salary and Living Costs

[sociallocker id=”1599″]Expected salaries are particularly high, usually around $25 – $40 per hour of teaching. If you work 25 hours per week, you could expect to earn around $2000 per month. However, there are also some very high taxes to be paid which will amount to around 30-40% of your salary.

The cost of living in this densely populated country can also be very expensive. A room rental can easily cost around $500 per month and a one bedroom apartment in the city would cost at least $1000 per month. Transport and food isn’t provided by schools and can also cost quite a bit, especially if you need to travel long distances that aren’t possible on a bicycle.

You shouldn’t really expect to earn a lot, unless you are working in an international school, and you should also expect to spend of a lot of your income on your monthly living costs. If you can live frugally, you might be able to save a few dollars each month on a TEFL teacher’s salary, but not a huge amount. If you find a higher paying position in an international school your salary will be much higher and you should be able to make fairly reasonably monthly savings.

You can get more specific information about the cost of living in the Netherlands from Numbeo.[/sociallocker]

Visa Requirements

De Gelukkige Zwann (The Happy Swan)

De Gelukkige Zwann (The Happy Swan)

Most of these teaching opportunities will be found in the private sector in language and international schools. Preference is given to EU citizens (i.e. British or Irish) because they don’t need a work visa to work in the country.

For teachers from other countries, it can be very difficult to obtain a work visa and they are usually arranged by your employer. The rules are made to ensure that EU citizens are given priority and a work permit will only be issued if certain conditions are met. These conditions mean that employers must make an effort to find a suitable candidate from the EC first.

For more information about obtaining a work permit, click here.

How to Find a Job Teaching in the Netherlands

the capital at night, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

The Capital at Night

You might find that some schools advertise for positions online on international, national or local jobs boards. However, schools will usually require that you complete a face-to-face interview in person before offering a job. This means that it will probably be easier to find a job when you are already in the Netherlands.

If you are already in the country, you can use online jobs boards to search for vacant positions and also use the internet to find website for schools. You should then check their websites because often schools will advertise for vacant positions on their own website. You can also use this method for finding contact details for schools and contact them directly.

Teach English in the Netherlands

All in all, it’s quite difficult to find a job in the Netherlands and it can be an expensive place to live. Having said that, if you do live and work in the country you’ll be surrounded by a wonderful culture, an exceptionally high standard of living and great transport links to other countries around Europe.


Although I have never worked in this country, every effort has been made to ensure that this information is correct. This blog post has been written after extensive research online, interviews with teachers who have worked or are working in the country, and local schools have been contacted. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below. If you have worked or are working in the Netherlands, we would love to hear from you, so please leave a comment and share your experiences with us.

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