Returning to the Netherlands. What arrangements do I need to make?

Has your adventure abroad come to an end? Are you returning to The Netherlands? It sounds simple, yet it is quite the puzzle. The whole (bureaucratic) process requires the necessary organizational skills. This article is intended to help you  plan your return to the Netherlands.

This blog discusses the arrangements you need to make to return to the Netherlands:

  • Arranging the return trip
  • Closing and opening a bank account
  • Moving your household effects
  • Arranging accommodation in the Netherlands
  • Schooling
  • Registering in the municipality
  • Taxes
  • Health insurance
  • Insurance policies
  • General practitioner and dentist
  • Feeling at home in the Netherlands again

This article focuses on the group of Dutch people returning to the Netherlands with a Dutch passport and nationality.

Return trip
We advise to regularly check the Dutch website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Here you will find any restrictions and advice on travelling to the Netherlands.

Consult the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the country where you are currently residing, as well as the website of the Dutch embassy/consulate.  Prepare yourself and make sure that you are constantly informed of any developments and changes. It is wise to prepare a list of all necessary documents, permits and possible test results you need to travel (internationally) to leave and enter the countries involved.

Once you meet all requirements, you can actually book the trip. Mention to all parties involved that your journey concerns a return to the Netherlands, your home country.

Legalization of documents is necessary to validate and register the documents in the Netherlands. Once you have returned to the Netherlands you do not want to head back in person to get some official stamps and signatures.

Get all your documents legalized in the country where they have been issued.  Examples are:

  • Diplomas
  • Driving licenses
  • Marriage certificate
  • Birth Certificate
  • Residence cards
  • Sales certificates/purchase contracts



Do not forget to close your local bank account. If you wish, you can of course consider keeping this account.

It may be wise to have an authorized person registered to represent you and your affairs. This can be a friend or business relation (notary, accountant).

If you do not have a bank account in the Netherlands: you can only open a bank account once you are officially registered in the Netherlands.

Moving your household effects
To plan your relocation it is important to select a reliable international removal company. If possible, we suggest to contact the moving company a few months ahead. The relocation industry reaches peak levels around the summer holidays. Try to secure your preferred moving days as soon as possible.

Satisfied with the (Dutch) removal company that organized your international move before? They can certainly service you again in cooperation with their local moving partner.

Always select an international removal company with extensive experience and a good reputation.  Tip: Check the company’s reviews online and ask for referrals in your (expat) network.

Windmill Forwarding might be the right company for you! Request your quote here and set your moving dates.

Property in the Netherlands
Do you still have your house in the Netherlands? In that case, it is important that you inform your tenants as early as possible about your return to the Netherlands. Check the tenancy agreement and discuss when your tenant will leave your property.

If this coincides with your return to the Netherlands, you can move into to your home immediately. That would be wonderful!

However, often an interim period to bridge is involved because:

  • Tenants stay longer
  • Your container with belongings is still sailing
  • You are not returning to the same city of residence and need to find another home.

In that case, you can:

  • Stay in a hotel for a period of time
  • Rent a furnished (holiday) home
  • Stay with friends or family
  • Temporarily rent a (furnished) house in the private sector

In case of school going kids: contact the school of your choice about your return to the Netherlands and get your children registered. Discuss with the school on what level your child is performing. Extra attention is often needed, especially for the Dutch language.

Registering with the municipality
You are obliged to register in the Netherlands within 5 working days of your arrival in the Netherlands. This registration is very important. Without this registration you will become lost in a bureaucratic jungle.

To be able to register officially, you need an address where you can be registered. If this is difficult at your temporary address, we recommend you to immediately register at an address of family or friends.

Make proper arrangements: as soon as more people are registered at a home address, certain (municipal) taxes will increase. Agree on the costs that you will reimburse.

An appointment should be made as soon as possible with your municipality for your registration from abroad. After you have submitted all forms, it can take up to 6 weeks for the registration to be processed at the municipality. As soon as you are registered in the municipality, you are automatically registered in the BRP (basic register of persons). Congratulations, this is the most important step!

You can now proceed with arranging all your other affairs regarding your return to the Netherlands:

  • Pay taxes!
  • Apply for health insurance
  • Possible: buy a car and/or register it in your name
  • Take out car insurance
  • Sign rental contract

As soon as you are registered in the Netherlands, you are liable for tax. In case of a more complex situation, we recommend calling in a specialist in international tax law. Especially when you are a shareholder of a company abroad, it is wise to discuss this with an expert.

If you do not have a DigiD, we advise you to apply for one (online) as soon as possible.

Health insurance
ealth insurance  (zorgverzekering) is mandatory in the Netherlands. As long as the registration in the municipality has not been confirmed, you cannot apply for regular health insurance. We recommend to continue your expat insurance until your health insurance is confirmed.

In other cases you can contact special parties who offer health insurance especially for this interim period.

Do not forget to check all your necessary insurances. This package is different for everyone:

  • Health insurance
  • Liability insurance
  • Property (house hold goods) insurance
  • Legal Aid
  • Travel insurance
  • Car insurance

Please note: continue with your expat insurance until you have received all requested policies. When applying, please indicate that it concerns a return to the Netherlands from abroad.

Family doctor and dentist
Once your application for your health insurance has been accepted you are welcome to register with a general practitioner’s practice.

Most practices suggest to make an appointment for an introductory meeting if you wish. Mention that you are returning from abroad. If applicable: returning from a tropical destination is important information for your medical file.

Also register with a dentist practice to avoid stress in case of an emergency.

Getting used to the Netherlands again
After a (long) stay abroad, it might take some time to get used to the Netherlands again. Below, you find 3 x tips on how to integrate quickly:

  • Seek direct contact with your (direct) neighbors.
  • Reach out with colleagues. Especially when working from home, your return may feel a little distant.
  • Decide which club or association you want to join. Arrange this at short notice, as there may be waiting lists.

You can feel homesick from time to time, you might feel a bit lost, you may experience social pressure. This is normal. Give it some time. Be gentle to yourself and keep enough time for yourself and your family.

Do you have any advice for fellow Dutch returning expats? We invite you to share your tips and mail them to The best 10 tips will be the content of our next blog article.

Windmill Forwarding wishes you good luck with the preparations for your return to the Netherlands.  We are here and ready to help you!

*This article is written for Dutch citizens returning to the Netherlands after a stay abroad. Remigrating after having lived abroad for a longer period of time is a different process. Other steps and rules may apply.

Do you have a question?

Leave your details and we will contact you within 24 hours.

    Prefer direct contact?

    mon-fri 9:00 – 17:00