How to get a great internship in the Netherlands

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Finding an internship in the Netherlands (also called ‘stage’ in Dutch), can be a long and tough process especially when you’re a foreign student who does not speak Dutch. However, being well-informed about the system can be helpful to anticipate the demand of the job market.

Why doing an internship?

In the Netherlands, it is quite frequent to do one or several internships during your studies. The main reason is, of course, to gain experience within a company. Usually, you’ll have a mentor who will show you the job you have to do and give you tasks to fulfil. It is the start of your career, you will learn if the job you thought you would like is actually for you or not.

Also, even if you already have some knowledge in the field from your classes, an internship is always a good way to put theories into practice and improve your skills in a real work environment. You can, afterwards, put those experiences and competencies on your CV to have some quality content to show to future employers. They will appreciate the fact that you already have experience before actually starting to work at their company.

Internships are a great way to start developing your professional network. Indeed, networking can be an important aspect of your future professional life so to start building it soon will help you to know people from your field and find a job more easily.

Learn more about professional networking here.

Dutch system

According to Dutch law, you must be enrolled at a university to apply for internships in the Netherlands. The most convenient period is usually a semester (6 months) but internships can be shorter (3 months) or longer, up to a year, depending on the company’s availabilities and your study program. Likewise, companies mostly offer full-time internship contracts, which represent 40 working hours a week, but sometimes they are also looking for part-time interns.

Now about work permits! Depending on your county of origin, you might need a work permit that will allow you to work in the Netherlands legally. If you’re an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen you don’t need a work permit or any additional permits to do your internship in the Netherlands.

Now if you’re not from those countries, several situations exist.

  • If you have a Dutch ‘study’ residence permit you DON’T need a work permit, but you need to sign a work placement agreement with the company.
  • If your internship is shorter than 90 days and is a part of the Erasmus+ program, you DON’T need a work permit, but you need a short-stay visa (VKV).
  • If your internship is shorter than 90 days and is not a part of the Erasmus+ program, you DO need a work permit and a short-stay visa (VKV).
  • If your internship is longer than 90 days and is a part of the Erasmus+ program, you DON’T need a work permit, but a ‘work placement’ or ‘job-seeking year’ residence permit is required.
  • If it is longer than 90 days and you have a residence permit stating ‘free to work’, you DON’T need a work permit.
  • If your internship is longer than 90 days and is a part of the Erasmus+ program, you DON’T need a work permit, but a ‘work placement’ or ‘job-seeking year’ residence permit is required.
  • If your internship is longer than 90 days and is not a part of the Erasmus+ program, you DO need a work permit and a ‘work placement’ residence permit.


Things to know before you apply for an internship


In the Netherlands, internships are not always paid since companies don’t have an obligation to pay their interns. It really depends on the company’s budget and your school grade (1st-year student will probably not be paid but 4th year might be because they have more knowledge or experience). However, the good point is that usually, companies are willing to pay your travel expenses which can be very expensive if you don’t live near your workplace.

Where to search: is a popular Dutch website for students who are searching for internships. Even if a lot of offers are for Dutch speakers, international people could find one interesting offer and apply for it. Also, it might be interesting to type ‘stagebank’ on Google, you’ll come across other Dutch internship websites.

LinkedIn is also a great platform to search for them. However, it is better to search for offers in the content section instead of the job section. Indeed, only paid offers are composing LinkedIn’s job section. Companies that are looking for interns probably won’t spend money on a paid ad so instead, they will post it as content. Lastly, going directly on companies’ websites is quite a good idea because you can find more information about the internship than on a LinkedIn offer for example.

Here is a list of nice companies to do an internship in the Netherlands


Internship interviews are usually quite similar to regular interviews. However, requirements are different from a normal job because recruiters don’t expect the same amount of experience. They know you’ve never worked before, but they want to check if you have enough motivation and knowledge from school to accomplish tasks for their company. For example, if you apply for a digital designer internship, recruiters will expect you to already know software like the adobe suite. Putting forward your personal activities or hobbies is also a good idea to show your passion and determination.

We hope that advice will help you find internships, good luck!

Abroad Experience BV is an international recruitment agency that offers unique career opportunities to multilingual job seekers. See our vacancies.

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