I'm thinking about heading over to Europe for a year, and do a working holiday. I'm Australian, and would really like to head over to Amsterdam to work if I could. My question is this: Is it particularly difficult for non-dutch speaking people to get work over there? Obviously, I will be trying to learn some dutch before I head over (I'm looking at going at the end of this year) but I'm sure I will be a long way off from being fluent in it. I've heard that most Dutch speak English fairly well. Also, is it difficult finding a place to live? And, if I really love it and want to stay for longer than a year, is it possible to get a visa to allow me to stay longer? I have no connection to The Netherlands (family etc) other than a desire for a new experience in a beautiful country!
If anyone has had experience doing this, any tips would be greatly appreciated!
I think you better forget your plans. Europe is in a bad economical situation now and chances for a (even temporaily) job are very, very poor.
These kind of jobs are filled in by students mostly, and the are much more students than jobs, especially now a days.
European currency is high against the Aussie dollar, (1 euro is 2 dollar) and prices are pretty much the same as in Australia, which means that life overhere is double the price.
Apart from all this it's almost impossible to get a workingvisa as an australian, unless you are registered as an universitystudent.
good luck and please do come on holiday in Europe.
[ Edit: Edited on 26-Jan-2009, at 00:33 by Vadrozsa ]
I'm not as pessimistic as Vadrozsa, although some of his warnings are true... But I'm Dutch, so I think I can adress your questions a little better then he does.
As for Amsterdam, there's always work to find for young foreigners, for example as a waitress or a shop assistant. The last would in your case especially count for brand stores from Aussie-based brands, like Crumpler and the likes. They are begging for australian shop assistants, as the enhance the shopping experience. (buy something australian from an australian!)
And for the waitress story: try hostels, Irish pubs and trendy bars and restaurants. I know for example that noodle-restaurant Wagamama only employs foreign waiters and waitresses.
For detailed information on extended stay visas, check this link from the Dutch immigration office (in english):
In Amsterdam, you can certainly good English to work in restaurants and cafes. There are also more foreigners working. (There are also many tourists in the English used to be. (I think the Dutchman as honest or annoying to the English word to be supported in a Dutch cafe, but ok)
You say that you like to learn to speak Dutch, which seems to me a long time especially if you really want to remain a winner.
Damian has give you already a good link about the visa.
I know (but do not know very much about it) you need for a longer visa work , you do not get out of work visa.
Have fun in the Netherlands, but not just go to Amsterdam ... The Netherlands has a lot more than this city!
I did the working holiday visa in 2002-2003. I'm Canadian and I believe Australia offers the same kind of working holiday visa that I took. I am not fluent in Dutch and I found I was able to manage working at places over there with little problems. I never worked in Amsterdam, but worked in the town of Zwolle and then I worked in Nijmegen. Usually the jobs I would have was working at TNT sorting mail, testing electronics (like in a big factory warehouse).
Goodluck to you, I think you should try and see what happens in Amsterdam!
Take it from the local: Amsterdam is incredibly expensive, and the chance that you find a job where you earn enough to support yourself in the city is extremely low. Also, job opportunities for foreigners have never been good, but right now it's hopeless. My neighbour, who happens to be Australian, has been looking for a new job for over 14 months now. He's returning to Oz as we speak, because he really couldn't pull it off.