The Alumni Network Blog

The latest from the Alumni Network at Lund University

8 insights into living and working in Amsterdam

Curious about living and working in Amsterdam? Every semester we take the opportunity to invite alumni who have established themselves in some of the larger cities around the globe, to share their experiences with current students at Lund University. These events have become a popular part of our career programme. Earlier this year we had the pleasure of meeting with a brand-new alumni panel living and working in Amsterdam.

Photos of alumni residing in Amsterdam
(from left) Grace Lucky Janssen (MSc in Managing People, Knowledge & Change) Matteo Giulio Testa (MA in European and International Tax Law with a specialisation in indirect taxation), Beatriz Oliveira (MA in Entrepreneurship and Innovation) and Thijn Vrielink (MSc in Accounting and Finance, Business Administration)

Our new colleague Katja Woxell has gathered the best insights from the panel discussion.
Click here if you would like to see the recorded version of the webinar (available until spring 2022)

And here they are, 8 insights into what it is like to live and work in Amsterdam

Amsterdam – a city for bikers
Amsterdam is a cozy city where everything is just around the corner, which makes biking an optimal means of transportation.

No need to speak Dutch
In a city home to many nations you can conduct your business or everyday life in English. Dutch is not a must. However, it might be good to speak a little bit of Dutch for buying groceries at the supermarket and for cultural immersion.

Apply for jobs from abroad
Start applying for jobs or internships at the Dutch companies you want to work for early on in your studies, from Sweden. You can often go through all recruitment steps online and come to Amsterdam with a guaranteed job opportunity ahead of you.

Use recruitment companies
Create your profile at one of the Dutch recruitment companies such as Unique or Randstad. They can help you look for vacancies.

Prepare for an extensive interview process
You can expect at least two or three job interviews – one with the HR department, one with the hiring manager and a third one with a panel of potential colleagues. You may also be given an opportunity to demonstrate your skills through a portfolio or a test, including behavioral and technical questions.

Yes to straightforwardness
Giving and receiving feedback, and applying it in practice, is expected and a part of your job description in the Netherlands.

Cheaper to live outside of Amsterdam
It may be difficult to find accommodation in Amsterdam. That is why, it is common, and even cheaper, to rent an apartment in a nearby city. For instance, it takes about an hour to commute from Amsterdam to Rotterdam or the Hague. Although rent is more or less comparable to Swedish prices, goods such as fruit and vegetables are notably cheaper.

Work-life balance
The Netherlands has a good work-life balance. People usually work from nine to five. However, private life and work are strictly separated. When people are done working, they “close” their doors and start their private lives, which can make it difficult to make friends as a newcomer. However, you can still easily make friends with your colleagues as long as you make plans with them in advance.

Text: Katja Woxell
Feature photo from

December 8, 2021

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