How to find an internship in Amsterdam
From visas to internship types and where to look, we’ve rounded up everything you need to know before you start your search.
Landing an internship anywhere is tough these days, let alone in one of Europe’s most popular and dynamic cities. So, you should find some comfort in the fact that whether you’re an Amsterdam local, international student or still abroad, there’s kind of a level playing field when it comes to actually landing those coveted, competitive internships.
And in all honestly, it’s worth the work and stress you’re going to put in to get there. With a bubbling cultural scene, an iconic cityscape and incredible opportunities across an array of industries (and major corporations) — an internship in Amsterdam could truly be the start of an epic career and lifestyle in the Netherlands.
So whether you’re looking to apply your theoretical knowledge, develop those professional skills you’ve been honing, expand your network or finally get your feet wet in your field, Amsterdam has a wide range of internships for you to explore.
To help you realize that dream, we’ve scoured the ‘net for all the information, tools, and resources you need to get there. Let’s start with the basics first.
The basics of interning in the Netherlands
Before you start your search on where to find and internship in Amsterdam, you’re going to want to familiarize yourself with the kinds of internships that are available.
1. Work-along internships in Amsterdam: this is where you spend a semester working at a company as part of a team learning and gaining experience on the job.
2. Research internships in Amsterdam: this is where you conduct research and write a thesis on a topic that is relevant to the business you’re interning for.
3. Post-graduate internships in Amsterdam: sometimes known as traineeships, these are paid internships for recent graduates to gain experience and learn.
In terms of what to expect when it comes to interning in Amsterdam, the work culture in the Netherlands is notoriously informal. While this obviously differs depending on your industry — a law firm will always have a different vibe than a creative studio — it’s generally relaxed and there’s a very egalitarian culture. That means you won’t be fetching coffee Monday through Friday, and you’ll usually receive lots of great support from your colleagues as you learn on the job.
When it comes to working hours, these are negotiable. Although, most often, internships are full-time jobs where you’re expected to work like a regular employee. These internships can range anywhere from 3-months to a year depending on the company and the kind of internship you’re looking for. No better way to learn than jumping in headfirst, right?
However, if you are studying full time, you can negotiate with the company about working fewer hours over a longer period, for example. But that really depends on the company’s individual internship structure.
Who can intern in the Netherlands?
Unfortunately, internships in the Netherlands aren’t readily available to everyone. So, it’s really important to double-check your eligibility and visa status before you start figuring out how to find an internship in Amsterdam.
If you’re an EU citizen, getting internships in Amsterdam is pretty straightforward. You not only won’t need a permit or any sort of additional documentation, but you get the same rights as you would if you were trying to get any other job within the European Union. You will need to look into Dutch health insurance, though, once you get accepted and move.
However if you’re not an EU citizen, things get a little tricky. But don’t fret, it’s not impossible! Essentially if your internship is part of your studies and you’re a student already in the Netherlands, you won’t need to secure a work permit and you can intern under your student visa. But if your internship is not part of your degree program, you’re not enrolled at a Dutch university or you’re looking for a graduate internship, you’re going to have to apply for a work permit. So, keep that in mind as you navigate this process.
There are some great perks to Dutch internships, too
Besides the fact you get to live and work in Amsterdam, there are some serious perks to interning in the Netherlands that you’re going to appreciate.
Work-life balance: The Dutch value their work-life balance and it shows. You’ll notice everyone from the top of the company to the bottom takes their annual leave and prioritizes life outside of work. In the Netherlands, it’s also quite typical that employees work 35 hours a week instead of the standard 40. Parents even take ‘mamadagen’ and ‘papadagen’ which are days off in the week to care for the kids. So as an intern, you can expect to learn a lot while still having time to explore and enjoy your new city.
Office comradery: In many Dutch offices, it’s typical to have lunch offered in-house and eat with your colleagues around the table. This is a great way to meet people and form deeper connections with your colleagues. Plus on Friday’s, most companies also host a ‘borrel’ which is essentially just happy hour with beers and bites. You’re going to love it!
English is widely used: Because Amsterdam is home to so many international corporations and students, almost everyone you speak to will know English. While there are, of course, internships offered exclusively in Dutch, there are plenty of internships in Amsterdam with a vibrant, international community who will have no problem communicating with you in English.
You might get paid: While it’s not required for companies to offer an internship allowance, many Dutch companies will offer some form of stipend. Usually ranging from €100-500, this can be used for everything from transport costs to your internship accommodation and groceries.
The good stuff: where to find an internship in Amsterdam
Okay now that you know all the basics (and perks) of getting an internship in Amsterdam, it’s time to actually start looking for where to find an internship. One of the best places to start is on the websites of companies you admire and would love to work for in Amsterdam. Not only should you look on their ‘jobs’ page, but also check out the company blog where they might post opportunities and even interview previous interns about their experience. This is a great way to not only see what’s available, but what an internship at their company might involve.
But, what if you don’t have any companies in mind? Or you want a better idea of what other opportunities are out there? Well in that case, there are a few important platforms you should be searching, too.
The Dutch love Indeed . As one of the most-used platforms for finding jobs and internships in the country, you can pretty much count on the fact that an employer in Amsterdam will post their internships here.
Pro tips: After signing up, fill out your profile and upload your CV so you can speed up the application process. Indeed also has a great filtering system that allows you to choose things like ‘remote,’ ‘salary’ and ‘education level.’ Be sure to set vacancy alerts under certain search terms or filters to stay competitive, too.
Admittedly, Glassdoor isn’t as popular as Indeed. But it’s still one of the most widely used platforms in the Netherlands. So, don’t overlook Glassdoor when it comes to looking where to find an internship in Amsterdam.
Pro tips: As an intern, we think Glassdoor offers a slew of features that you’ll find really useful. More than just a job posting platform, on Glassdoor you can get insight into everything from salaries to employee feedback. These kinds of tips can be a huge advantage when deciding where you actually want to spend time applying.
This universally popular career-centred social media platform should definitely be on your list of places to check. Not only will Dutch companies post internship vacancies on here, but international companies with Dutch or Amsterdam offices.
More than just using LinkedIn to figure out where to find an internship in Amsterdam, you should also use the platform to network, network, network! Follow and connect with employees and leaders at local Amsterdam companies you’re interested in. Engage with their posts. Post about your own achievements and internship search. Use LinkedIn to get your name out there and make genuine connections with the people who can influence your career.
Pro tips: Be sure to fill out your profile as thoroughly as possible and upload your CV so you can speed up the application process. You’re also going to want to set your profile as ‘open to work’ so companies and recruiters can find you.
What no one else will tell you: Many times, companies will post internship vacancies on LinkedIn because of the huge network they can reach. But always be sure to read the post in its entirely. Often at the bottom of the post, companies will ask you to apply on their website or a separate platform rather than through the LinkedIn system. Noticing these seemingly small details can be what sets you apart from the crowd and actually land you that Amsterdam internship.
Major companies in Amsterdam always offering internships
The job market in Amsterdam is huge — there’s everyone from marketing and creative firms to real estate corporations, travel companies, NGO’s, clothing brands and more. Honestly, pretty much every industry is represented here, so you’re kind of spoiled for choice.
Plus, because Amsterdam is such an international hub, some of the world’s biggest corporations have offices here, too. Below, you can browse some of the most popular corporations and get a feel for the kinds of local, Amsterdam internships they offer.
The Dutch-founded international brewing company is looking for “positive, competitive and driven individuals” to join the team in Amsterdam. They break their internships down into “Non Supply Chain Functions” like finance, marketing and sales, and “Supply Chain Functions” like packaging, brewing and logistics.
The world-famous sportswear company says that when you join their team in Amsterdam, “you become a brand ambassador, living and breathing sport and a sporting lifestyle.” They’re looking for friendly, hardworking interns to join everyone from Brand Activation to Digital Performance Marketing and Software engineering.
Off the bat, the folks at Philips tell you that there you won’t just ‘make a living’ but a ‘difference’ on their team. With internships across their Product Marketing, Production Management and Marketing Global Creations teams, there’s plenty of opportunity to get your foot in the door of this influential global corporation.
Where to find an internship at other global corporations in Amsterdam: Nike, Hunkemoller, Lóreal, Uber, Netflix, ING, KLM, Booking.com, G-Star, Unilever, TomTom, Tesla, Sonos, IBM, Oracle, AWS, Salesforce and more!
Pssst! With a large footprint across Europe and plans to keep growing, our team at The Social Hub is always looking for curious, bold, entrepreneurial interns in Amsterdam and beyond. Be sure to take a peek at our internship openings while you’re at it.
Finally: top tips to keep in mind as you apply for internships in Amsterdam
- Timing is everything
Whether you’re looking for work-along or graduate internships in Amsterdam, you have to time it right. If you start looking for an internship in the middle of a semester, you’re probably not going to find all that much. Companies usually post their openings alongside the school calendar year, so always check at the start and end of the semester to see what’s available.
- Start early and stay on top of your deadlines
It never looks good to be the last person sending in your application. Start your search early to ensure you get in on the internships you’re most interested in, and be sure to stay on top of all your deadlines so that submit things in a timely manner. First impressions matter — and submitting your application last or late just doesn’t look good.
- In Dutch, ‘stage’ is ‘internship’
You might miss out on internships if they’re posted exclusively in Dutch and not English. Use ‘stage,’ the Dutch word for ‘internship’ to help broaden your search.
- Don’t be afraid to ‘cold call’ employers
Have you stumbled upon your dream company, only to find they haven’t advertised an internship anywhere? Don’t let that stop you from introducing yourself! Even if they can’t offer you an internship, they’ll be impressed by your initiative.
- Always, always personalise your CV and cover letter
While you should have a boilerplate CV and cover letter to work off of, you should always personalize them to the company, industry and internship type you’re applying for. Anything less will just make you look lazy.
Thinking about internship housing, too?
By the way — when you finally land that awesome internship in Amsterdam, we have just the place for you to stay. Be sure to also check out our blog about how to find the perfect student internship housing in Amsterdam. You can stay updated on all things student life by signing up for our newsletter below, too!
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