ICAP has to date, October 2018, carried out four surveys of the views of the international community in the Netherlands – on education; on housing; on healthcare and, the proposed changes to the 30% ruling. Below, some key findings and updates on the results, as well as a heartfelt thank you to those who have participated in our surveys, know your voices are being heard.

Want to be kept informed on future surveys?  You can sign up to take part here.

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In April of this year (2018), when news came of proposed changes to the 30% ruling and in particular the lack of a transition period, ICAP decided to poll the community about its thoughts. More than 4,500 people responded, and the results of the survey were shared, in a letter to the Finance Committee, as well as media and community organisations such as United Expats of the Netherlands. A copy of this letter, with our general findings, commentary and conclusions, can be found here.

Some key findings include:

63% will lose up to €1,000 in take-home income when they no longer qualify for the ruling

31% will lose the benefit on January 1, 2019

over 50% of respondents losing the benefit before December 31st 2019

71% said the 30% ruling was a factor in making the move

13% work for a university and 41% for a Dutch company

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April 2018: With appreciation to our community, we shared an update on what together we have achieved.

"Your views are having a "huge and positive impact"

In Amsterdam, for example, our housing survey is being used to tailor a new approach to helping new arrivals find a place to live.

This is what IN Amsterdam (formerly Amsterdam expatcenter) told us:

The survey has had a huge and positive impact and has helped draw up the basis of the Housing Analysis and Action Plan we are currently working on. The Amsterdam Metropolitan Area agreed with the budget proposal to position the greater Amsterdam region more towards internationals as a place to live, due to your work!! That plan also includes measures to improve our English information supply on housing and housing possibilities.’

Key Findings - What we’ve learned so far:

The education survey revealed that most new arrivals don’t get any help with paying for their children’s education and that at least half of you want to send your children to a Dutch school.

The housing survey showed that a large majority of you feel you are paying too much rent, and that most people want to cycle to work – and for no more than 30 minutes.

In the Press - Here’s some of the press coverage we have received so far:

Most expats in the Netherlands get no help with housing or school fees

British expats in the Netherlands could do with more financial help

Expats vaker in de knel

Expats relocating to Amsterdam bereft of housing and school finance

Expats have been in the headlines in a big way in recent months as well. Amsterdam local broadcaster AT5, for example, carried a bizarre story about expats causing problems and forcing up rents while the Parool wrote about expat children in Amstelveen ‘overwhelming’ local schools.

some conclusions

As our ICAP surveys show, most parents want their children to go to a local school, so building more international schools is not the answer, whatever the Parool might think.

The local elections also created quite a buzz and the international vote was suddenly in demand. Research by showed that political parties have woken up to the power of the expat vote – no less than 60 of the 75 local branches of the big national parties had some sort of information in English.

The healthcare survey is still being processed, but we can already tell you that your opinions on the Dutch healthcare system range from great to terrible. A surprising number of you have had treatment abroad and it is pretty obvious that much needs to be done to explain how the Dutch system actually works.

Most of you also think that most Dutch women have drugs-free home births. In fact, just 13% actually do so! More on the results later.

We will be carrying out a new survey later in the year, with the focus on discrimination so get ready for that one.

For now, we would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to every single one of you who has participated in and helped to further the distribution of our surveys. With each survey we launch our respondents increase in the hundreds. We are committed to raising the voice of the international community in the Netherlands and we could not do it without your support.

With gratitude,

Robin, Deborah, Lynn and Emmy

ICAP Netherlands

For more information about the ICAP surveys, please get in touch.


February 2017: The ICAP education survey was carried out at the end of 2016. The aim was to find out what the international community thought about education in the Netherlands - international or otherwise – as well as how the community meets the educational needs of their families and what challenges families face.

Top 5 key findings

55% of respondents had children at a Dutch school, 23% at a private international school

56% said closeness to home was most important factor in school choice, 53% said international environment, 36% said cost

49% would consider a Dutch school if more emphasis on English

Just 12% said their Dutch school was unhelpful in dealing with children who did not speak Dutch

63% had no help from their employer in paying school fees – this figure was higher in Amsterdam



June 2017: In spring 2017 ICAP undertook a survey on the subject of housing for internationals. The intention was to discover what internationals had to say about housing with regard to availability, cost and accessibility.

Top 5 key findings

80% of new arrivals get no help with housing costs and 50% wanted to rent furnished accommodation

A large majority said they are paying more than they can afford for a place to live and 25% of internationals earn less than €3,000 a month

16% of expats buy a home within one year of arriving

Most want to cycle to work – and a 30-minute cycle ride is the max

Most plan to stay here at least five more years, or have no plans to

These brief highlights raises the question: are the perceptions about the expat/international community accurate?

comments from the HOUSING survey

Start looking in advance because it might take some time. Possibly compromise on a few things for your first home until you settle down. Then you will have more time and less pressure to find a more suitable/desired home. Take time to understand the type of Dutch houses. They are different from other countries.
the housing market also has changed A LOT. When I first came here I had no issues finding a great place to live, then I was offered (!) an even more amazing place to live because I’m a great tenant. It was all affordable.But I gave up my amazing place to go abroad for a while and when I came back to start playing apartment musical chairs, though things got even worse in the past 2-3 years
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As new research (April 2018) by the International Community Advisory Panel into the international community in the Netherlands shows, confusion and lack of understanding persists when it comes to healthcare in the Netherlands. While internationally it scores highly, local internationals have much to say, otherwise.


35.6% indicated that the healthcare system would ‘encourage them to leave the Netherlands’

Only 33.5% felt well, or relatively well-informed about the health insurance system; and in the comments there was overwhelming number of comments regarding confusion about eigen risico.

More than 60% felt the were not, or insufficiently informed about, the healthcare system

44% believe most women have drug free births in the Netherlands (which is not correct, only about 13% do)

While 62% say their huisartsen are open to different ways of doing things, including ideas they bring from their home countries; 53% have difficulty agreeing on when a specialist consult may be required

36.7% believe the Dutch healthcare system to be equal to that of their home country, while 35.9% believe it to be inferior.