Haarlem expat guide

All about moving and living in Amsterdam’s ‘little sister’
verhuisbedrijf haarlem

Are you planning to move to Haarlem? Moving to another country and navigating immigration can be very challenging. That’s why we’ve designed a comprehensive guide to make sure your move is easy and successful.

Wondering what lies ahead? In this guide, we’ve covered everything: from expat resources to visa prerequisites and registration procedures.

And if you’re still losing sleep over housing, we give you tons of tips regarding the liveliest neighbourhoods that suit your preferences and how to be successful in the competitive Dutch housing market. We talk about taxes, the Dutch health insurance and education system – everything you need for a smooth move.

Of course we don’t only talk about logistics in this Haarlem expat guide. We also tell you more about the culture of Haarlem and how to connect with fellow expats to share stories with and build friendships. Let us help you take the first step into your new life in Haarlem!

General expat information and services

As an expat settling in Haarlem, obtaining reliable information and essential services becomes paramount for a seamless transition and successful integration into your new hometown. This chapter delves into everything you need to know for accessing trustworthy expat insights, leveraging comprehensive resources, and tapping into the invaluable support network offered by the IN Amsterdam, formerly known as the Amsterdam Expat Centre (which is the official expat centre for not only Amsterdam, but also Haarlem and other neighbouring cities) to facilitate your journey.

Finding reliable expat information

Before embarking on your expat adventure in Haarlem, it’s vital to gather comprehensive and dependable information. Luckily for you, you’ll find a wealth of resources, such as online platforms, expat forums, and official government websites to help you understand the city’s culture, lifestyle, and practical aspects such as what you need to know regarding housing, healthcare, education and transportation. 

The “gemeente Haarlem” of course is a very trustworthy source of information. The website of the city has an array of webpages, talking about pretty much everything from culture to lifestyle to practical matters such as transportation and education. 

In addition to the sources from the municipality, it’s worth exploring (online) expat communities and social groups. Experienced expats who’ve already navigated life in Haarlem (or neighbouring cities) can give you the best insights and tips. Getting involved in these communities not only nurtures a feeling of inclusion but also opens up chances for building professional networks and establishing new friendships.

Accessing essential expat service

If you’re settling down in Haarlem, you will encounter certain administrative procedures and documentation requirements specific to the Netherlands. A very invaluable resource is IN Amsterdam, providing comprehensive support throughout your expat journey.

Their services include personalised assistance, including visa and residence permit applications, municipality registration, and acquiring a BSN (Burger Service Nummer) number. Additionally, IN Amsterdam offers advice on how you can best navigate the Dutch bureaucracy, what you need to understand regarding local laws and regulations, and how you can easily access essential public services.

If you’re moving to Haarlem as an expat, there are quite a few organisations that can support your move. Nevertheless, it’s important to understand the rules and requirements that are involved. In the upcoming chapters we’ll dive deeper into these topics.

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Immigration and registration in Haarlem

Are you planning your move to Haarlem? Then it’s a must to have a thorough understanding of the via and immigration requirements. The complexities regarding the visa regulations can be overwhelming, but with the right preparation, everything will go smoothly.

  • Navigating expat visa and immigration requirements

Prior to establishing your roots in Haarlem, it is necessary to deal with the registration procedure, often referred to as “first registration” or “immigration registration.” This is a fundamental step towards achieving legal residency in the city. Whether or not you need to apply for a visa or a residence permit, depends on your nationality and the purpose of your stay in the Netherlands. 

To register in the Netherlands, you must complete your registration with the Haarlem municipality. This entails submitting a bunch of documents and information to acquire a Burger Service Number (BSN), a distinctive personal identification number indispensable for various administrative formalities.

  • Understanding the difference between expat and immigrant status

Throughout your registration process, it’s crucial to clarify whether you classify as an expat or an immigrant. 

Expat = You’re in Haarlem on a temporary basis, typically for work, study, or specific assignments, with the intent of eventually returning to their home country. 

Immigrant=  You intend to establish Haarlem (or the Netherlands) as your permanent place of residence.

It’s important to know this distinction, because it affects the type of visa you need, but it also affects other things such as the rights you have and the benefits you are entitled to during your stay in Haarlem. For instance, expats might have access to specific tax benefits or temporary residence permits, but immigrants can be eligible for permanent residency or even citizenship over time. 

To establish a legal and comfortable residence in Haarlem, it’s essential to possess the correct documentation and diligently follow the mandatory registration procedures. It’s noteworthy that staying well-informed about the latest immigration regulations and seeking professional guidance will significantly contribute to a smooth and successful move to Haarlem as an expat or immigrant.

 Expat housing and accommodation

Finding a place you can call home and feel at ease in, is super important when you’re moving to another country. Haarlem has it all: from small apartments in the historic city centre to neighbourhoods full of family houses with gardens. Whatever you’re looking for, there’s bound to be a neighbourhood you feel at home in.

Suited housing support for expats

In Haarlem, securing the perfect accommodation entails interactions with property owners, rental management entities, and real estate professionals. Familiarity with lease agreements and local regulations is indispensable for a seamless rental experience. To streamline this procedure, you have the option of seeking guidance from a Haarlem-based expat rental agency or a trusted real estate expert with an intimate understanding of the local market, ensuring you discover a property that aligns perfectly with your requirements and preferences.

For those contemplating the purchase of a home in Haarlem, the expertise of a skilled real estate agent is super important. A professional with experience regarding expat housing in Haarlem can provide valuable insights into the local housing landscape and buying or renting in Haarlem. He or she can pinpoint the most suitable neighbourhoods and properties that fit within your financial parameters.

Furthermore, there are specialised housing support services and expat housing networks that can help you in identifying suitable rentals or navigating the intricate process of home buying in Haarlem.

Where to live in Haarlem?

Haarlem, often considered Amsterdam’s “little sister”, has a lot of neighbourhoods, each with its own vibe and appeal. Do you prefer to live close to lots of shops and bars? Then the historic city centre is the place for you. There’s always something to do or to see in this area! 

Are you looking for an area your family can settle down in and your kids can play with lots of other kids? Take a look at the Bomenbuurt, Zuiderhout and Leidsevaartbuurt. 

And if you love going to the beach in the summer, it might be handy to live on the eastside of Haarlem. You’ll be close to the highway and you’ll be able to stroll on the beach in Zandvoort or Bloemendaal in no-time. 

No matter what you’re looking for, Haarlem for sure has an area that will make you think ‘this is home’. We recommend you to explore the different neighbourhoods and pay attention to the things you consider to be important. Do you prefer proximity to your new workplace and the highway to Amsterdam? Or proximity to schools and amenities? Depending on your wishlist, certain neighbourhoods might be more suited for you than others.

Moving within Haarlem?

If you’re already living in Haarlem and thinking of moving within the city, then you’re obviously already in the know about the neighbourhoods and more. But don’t forget that there is still some paperwork involved with moving within Haarlem. For example, it’s essential to update addresses with the authorities. Luckily, this process is pretty straight forward:

  1. Registering your new address in Haarlem: Once you’ve settled into your new home, it’s essential to inform the Haarlem municipality about your change of address. You can complete this process either online or in person at the local municipality office (“gemeente”).
  2. Haarlem municipality address update: When updating your address with the municipality in Haarlem, ensure that you fill in all the necessary details. This includes both your old and new addresses, personal information, and any supplementary documentation they may request.
  3. Official change of address: Following this, the municipality in Haarlem will revise your information in their records, and you’ll receive confirmation of your address change.

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 Taxes for expats

Gaining a comprehension of the Dutch tax system is vital to guarantee compliance and maximise your financial circumstances. Manoeuvring through expat taxation can be intricate, yet with proper guidance, you can optimise your tax matters and reap the advantages of residing in Haarlem.

Understanding expat taxes

To manoeuvre the complexities of the Dutch tax system, numerous expats turn to the knowledge of tax consultants with expertise in expat taxation. These experts possess an in-depth grasp of the tax statutes and rules relevant to expats, allowing them to offer custom advice suited to your individual circumstances. Whether it’s optimising deductions or managing cross-border tax concerns, a tax advisor can assist you in attaining tax efficiency and a sense of security.

Utilizing DigiD for expat taxation in the Netherlands

In the Netherlands, DigiD (Digital Identification) stands as a secure online platform granting access to various governmental services, notably those related to taxation. As an expat in Haarlem, acquiring a DigiD is a fundamental step for engaging with Dutch tax authorities and accessing your tax-related data and services over the internet. It simplifies the procedure of filing tax returns, overseeing your tax matters, and staying informed about any alterations or notices from tax authorities. By using DigiD, you can easily deal with all your expat taxation needs and manage your tax affairs.

 Mortgage process in the Netherlands for Expats

For those expats eyeing Haarlem as their potential new home, buying a property can be a rewarding financial move. As you embark on this journey, the crucial initial step involves gaining a comprehensive understanding of how mortgages function in the Netherlands.

Financing your home in Haarlem

In the Netherlands, securing a mortgage as an expat involves several key steps. Many banks and lenders have designed specific mortgage products tailored to expats, making the process more accessible based on your residency status and income.

To get started, you’ll need to provide a lot of documentation. Some of the documents you’ll need to provide are proof of income, a residency permit, and, in some cases, a work contract. Credit history is also considered by some lenders, so it’s essential to be prepared with relevant financial records to make sure this process runs smoothly. 

To discover the most suitable option for your needs, it’s advisable to compare offerings from different lenders since interest rates and mortgage terms can vary. Enlisting the services of an expat mortgage advisor, well-versed in the intricacies of the Dutch mortgage market, can provide valuable insights.

Acquiring a mortgage sets you on the path to becoming a homeowner, which gives you not only a feeling of stability but also enables you to integrate fully into the community.

Expat mortgage advisors and platforms

The Dutch mortgage system can feel like a labyrinth of paperwork, particularly for those unacquainted with the local rules and procedures. Expat mortgage advisors come equipped with an understanding of the unique challenges faced by expats in Haarlem, and can provide tailored solutions and expert guidance throughout the entire mortgage process.

Moreover, there are multiple expat mortgage platforms that offer access to a vast selection of mortgage options from diverse lenders. This way, you can search for the most fitting and competitive rates. Both expat mortgage advisors and platforms simplify the home-buying journey for you as an expat.

Choosing the best expat health insurance

For expats residing in Haarlem, securing a great health insurance is an important part of your overall well-being. The Netherlands has a good healthcare system, but there are a lot of different health insurances to choose from. It’s important to find the best one that aligns with your specific requirement. 

When making your choice, we recommend you to take into account certain critical factors, including coverage for medical services and hospitalisation, specialist consultations, and prescription medications. Numerous insurance providers present customised packages tailored specifically for expats, guaranteeing access to top-tier healthcare services.

Additionally, Haarlem has quite a few medical centres and facilities designed with expats in mind, staffed by healthcare professionals well-versed in attending to international patients. These centres offer streamlined and readily available medical services, simplifying the process of navigating the Dutch healthcare system for expats.

By having a good, comprehensive health insurance and being aware of the locations to access medical services, you will be secure in the knowledge that your health needs are adequately addressed when living in Haarlem.

Expat life in Haarlem

Residing in Haarlem as an expat promises a dynamic and multifaceted experience. The city boasts a substantial expat community, facilitating connections with individuals hailing from various cultures and backgrounds. Expats are greeted warmly, and Haarlem’s international ambiance fosters a profound sense of inclusiveness.

Melding seamlessly into the Dutch way of life can be quite easy to do, as the Dutch are renowned for their open-mindedness and amiable disposition. While embracing local customs and acquiring a few fundamental Dutch phrases can enhance an expat’s integration, they are not obligatory.

Haarlem, with its abundant cultural life, an efficient public transportation system, bicycle-friendly streets, a flourishing job market, and an exceptional quality of life, offers an enriching and exhilarating lifestyle for expatriates embarking on a new chapter in this contemporary city.

Expat communities

Cultivating connections while in Haarlem stands as a fundamental facet of your expat life. Fortunately, the city extends a warm embrace to expats, offering a lively expat community and an array of social groups and expats meet-ups tailored to ease your transition. Becoming an active participant in these groups presents a splendid opportunity to meet kindred spirits, forge new friendships, and engage in the exchange of experiences. Haarlem hosts an array of expat-centric events, meetups, and gatherings, creating an ideal milieu for both social interaction and networking.

For individuals with a proclivity for sports, participation in expat-friendly (team) sports in Haarlem can prove to be an immensely fun.These activities not only allow you to partake in friendly matches and maintain an active lifestyle but also serve as a means to connect with fellow expats (and Dutchies) who share a fervent passion for sports.

Working in Haarlem

While you’re reading this, it’s quite likely that you’ve already secured a job in Haarlem (or Amsterdam!).The job market in Noord-Holland is both diverse and welcoming to expatriates, presenting a plethora of opportunities spanning various industries. As an expat employed in Haarlem or the neighbouring cities, you’ll become acquainted with the Dutch work culture, which places significant importance on maintaining a healthy work-life equilibrium and fostering open communication.

Are you currently in search of employment in Haarlem? The city presents a plethora of job prospects for expats, with numerous companies actively scouting for international talent. Expats in pursuit of employment opportunities in Haarlem (or the other cities in the ‘randstad’) can explore dedicated job portals for expats and websites featuring vacancies tailored to English speakers. Additionally, as an expat, you can leverage networking events and professional associations to broaden your connections and enhance your prospects of securing fitting roles. With its dynamic job market and hospitable work environment, Haarlem stands as an appealing destination for expats aiming for career advancement.

Education for (the children of) expats in Haarlem

Planning a move to Haarlem with your family? Ensuring access for your children to a high-quality education is a top priority. Luckily, Haarlem offers an international school with a great curriculum; the International School Haarlem, an authorised IB World School. Of course, you can also opt for one of the international schools in the greater Amsterdam area. 

Opting for expat education affords several advantages, including the continuity of your children’s education, even in a foreign land. All the international schools in the randstad area adhere to globally recognized educational frameworks, guaranteeing a seamless transition and consistent academic excellence. Enrolling your children in a great expat school ensures their education is entrusted to capable hands, enabling them to flourish within their newfound international community.

Driving in Haarlem

For expats considering driving in Haarlem, obtaining a Dutch driving license stands as a pivotal prerequisite. Simplifying this process is attainable by enrolling in a respected driving school that conducts lessons in English, guaranteeing a seamless and comprehensible learning experience.

The “gemeente” (municipality) of Haarlem oversees the application procedure for driving licenses, necessitating drivers to meet specific regulations and prerequisites for license acquisition. Whether you are in need of a standard driver’s license or a motorcycle license, possessing a thorough understanding of the governing rules and regulations is of paramount importance.

Numerous expats find it highly advantageous to participate in Haarlem’s driving schools offering instruction in English. This approach fosters a deeper grasp of traffic regulations and safety guidelines, creating a conducive and supportive environment for expats embarking on their driving education in a foreign country.

Owning a car in Haarlem

Navigating the streets of Haarlem poses unique challenges, particularly when it comes to parking. Securing a parking spot in the city can prove to be quite a daunting task, especially in bustling areas where available spaces are scarce. The combination of high demand for parking and the city centre’s narrow streets can truly test your patience as a driver.

Good to know: In a bid to address concerns related to air quality and traffic congestion, many areas in the Netherlands have introduced “milieuzones” or environmental zones. These zones impose restrictions on certain vehicle types that fall short of specific emission standards. In Haarlem, the milieuzone is only applicable for big lorries, but if you often take the car to Amsterdam, it becomes imperative to familiarise yourself with these zones and ensure that your vehicle aligns with the required emission criteria. Non-compliance with these regulations can lead to fines and limitations on your vehicle’s access to designated areas.

The limited availability of parking spaces poses a considerable challenge when driving within Haarlem’s city centre. Nevertheless, Haarlem provides an extensive and effective public transportation network with buses and trains. This comprehensive system ensures hassle-free exploration of the city without the necessity of a car. Embracing these alternative transportation choices not only offers a sustainable and convenient approach to experiencing Haarlem but also contributes to reducing your environmental impact.

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The most important part: the relocation

Upon delving into the comprehensive information presented in this guide, it becomes evident that the process of relocating to a new destination, particularly as an expat, can present a considerable challenge. Fortunately, we are here to simplify a crucial aspect of this endeavour: the relocation itself. Serving as a reputable moving company in Haarlem, Holland Movers stands ready to facilitate a more seamless and stress-free transition for you. We offer an array of exceptional services meticulously tailored to your specific needs, ensuring that your move to or from Haarlem is handled with the utmost care and precision, ultimately delivering a streamlined and efficient experience.

  1. Ease of process
    Our user-friendly online platform empowers you to effortlessly arrange (virtual) viewings and solicit information or quotations, all backed by our commitment to providing same-day responses. Recognizing the time-sensitive nature of your relocation, our prompt and transparent communication truly distinguishes us.
  2. Expertise and professionalism
    Our multilingual team ensures that there are no language barriers throughout the process. Communication is key, and our team of proficient movers is well-versed in the intricacies of handling relocations for expats. Punctuality is a core value for us – you can rely on us to be on time, every time.
  3. Tailored Solutions
    Recognizing that every relocation is distinctive, we extend adaptable solutions tailored to your specific needs. Whether you find yourself pressed for time, necessitating swift and efficient clearance of your previous residence, or if your current building imposes constraints such as limited access requiring specialised moving equipment such as moving lifts, we possess the means to ensure your relocation proceeds seamlessly. Should you require temporary storage, we can offer you options.
  4. Complete peace of mind
    A prominent aspect of our service is our all-encompassing insurance coverage, offering protection of up to 2.5 million euros with no deductible. We recognise the value of your possessions, and we are committed to safeguarding them throughout the entire relocation process.
  5. Ready for anything
    We understand that unforeseen emergencies can occur, and we stand ready to provide swift assistance. Our inventory of top-notch moving materials, equipment, and even handyman services guarantees comprehensive coverage for every facet of your relocation. Whether the need arises for furniture disassembly or the provision of essential equipment, we are dedicated to simplifying your move.

Time to focus on your new beginning!

Congratulations on successfully completing our Haarlem expat guide. Armed with this comprehensive knowledge, you’re well-prepared to navigate your adventure in this captivating city without the burden of unnecessary stress. As you bid farewell to this guide, shift your focus to the exciting journey that lies ahead.

Our guide has covered a wide range of essential topics, from valuable neighbourhood insights to administrative procedures, healthcare alternatives, and promising job prospects. The expat experience can be both thrilling and challenging, but Haarlem’s welcoming ambiance greatly facilitates the transition. Always remember, you’re part of a vibrant and diverse expat community here in Haarlem.

Now, take a moment to inhale deeply and internalise the wisdom you’ve acquired. Prepare yourself to immerse in Haarlem’s abundant culture, history, and limitless opportunities. Whether you find yourself exploring neighbourhoods, engaging with the arts, or forging connections with fellow expats, your journey has just begun.

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 Summary of our guide

  1. Secure reliable information: Access dependable resources such as online platforms, expat communities, and the Amsterdam Expat Center to obtain essential information and services.
  2. Immigration and registration: Navigate visa requirements, complete municipal registration, and acquire a BSN number to establish legal residency.
  3. Housing hunt: Explore the diverse neighbourhoods of Haarlem and seek guidance from international housing agencies in your quest for suitable accommodation.
  4. Tax management: Efficiently handle Dutch taxes with the assistance of expat tax advisors and make use of the DigiD system.
  5. Healthcare choices: Select the right expat health insurance and access medical facilities that cater to expats for your overall well-being.
  6. Education matters: Ensure a seamless education experience for your children by enrolling them in international schools.
  7. Driving in Haarlem: Attain a Dutch driving licence through driving schools, and remain mindful of parking challenges and environmental zones.
  8. Expat life: Embrace the diverse expat community in Haarlem and immerse yourself in the city’s cultural offerings and employment opportunities.
  9. Cultivate connections: Engage with expat groups and participate in activities like expat football to expand your network and cultivate friendships.
  10. Relocating with Holland Movers: Simplify your relocation process with the assistance of Holland Movers, guaranteeing a smooth and stress-free transition.

Quality. Flexible. Safe.

Your wishes are always central at Holland Movers. We always take the time to carefully and extensively discuss your move and your wishes in this regard. This way you know exactly what you can expect from us and we are well aware of your expectations. This way you will not have to deal with unpleasant surprises afterwards.