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The land of windmills, tulips, beer, and bicycles has a lot to offer an intern. Beyond the fascinating history, distinctive culture, and thrilling travel opportunities, there are some truly exciting things to expect from an internship in the Netherlands.

One of the economic powerhouses of Europe with a hugely international professional landscape and a deep commitment to social and environmental issues, this country offers unique opportunities for professional growth.

In this blog, we’ll lay out what to expect from an internship in the Netherlands. We’ll run through all you need to know before an internship in the Netherlands, offer some tips for internships in the Netherlands, as well as some general Netherlands travel tips, and, finally suggest a few of our top internships in the Netherlands.

8 Things to Expect from Your Internship in the Netherlands

1. Excellent Professional Development

The top priority of what to expect from an internship in the Netherlands, or anywhere else, is professional development. Fortunately, internships in the Netherlands deliver on this front.

Dutch companies have an excellent reputation for investing heavily in training and development programs to ensure their employees are well-equipped with the latest skills and knowledge. During your internship, you can expect access to workshops, seminars, and online courses that will enhance your professional skill set.

The emphasis on continuous improvement and skill-building ensures that you will leave your internship with valuable experience, new professional skills, and a competitive edge in the job market.

2. Flat Hierarchy and Open Communication

One of the most important things to expect from an internship in the Netherlands is that you shouldn’t be surprised if you find yourself on a first-name basis with your supervisors, and perhaps the CEO too.

The Netherlands, along with its Scandinavian neighbours, is known for rejecting pyramidal hierarchies where ‘low-level’ employees can often feel undervalued and unappreciated. Dutch management style fully embraces a flat hierarchical work culture, characterized by employee autonomy and open, direct communication. This egalitarian approach to work fosters a collaborative environment where everyone’s ideas are valued.

The reason this is such a vital part of what to know before an internship in the Netherlands is that you should be prepared to share your thoughts during meetings and brainstorming sessions. Not only will this lead to exciting opportunities as an intern—the ability to speak up and pitch business ideas is one of the most valuable things an internship can teach you.

3. Multicultural and International Environment

One of the most exciting aspects of what to expect from an internship in the Netherlands is the diverse international networking and social opportunities.

First and foremost, the country’s central position in Europe makes it an attractive destination for visitors across the continent. This, along with its world-famous cities means the country has a vastly international population. Many Dutch cities have active expatriate communities and support networks. These communities often organize events for interns to get involved with and provide valuable advice on navigating life in the Netherlands.

Moreover, the Netherlands is home to numerous multinational companies and attracts talent from around the world. During your internship, you’ll work with colleagues from diverse backgrounds. This multicultural environment enhances global perspective, improves intercultural communication skills, and most of all, offers exciting networking opportunities.

4. Cultural Commitment to Social Issues

Dutch companies often have a strong commitment to social issues and community work. In fact, social conscience and a high value on voluntary community work are deeply engrained in the culture of the country. This is one of the most important parts of what to know about internships in the Netherlands and one of the best reasons to do internships there.

This means there are fantastic internship opportunities to join projects committed to meaningful causes like poverty, inequality, and the environment. Many organizations encourage employees to participate in volunteering activities and social initiatives. During your internship, you may have opportunities to engage in community projects, support local charities, or participate in corporate social responsibility programs.

Some of our best Netherlands internship advice is to seek out and embrace these opportunities. This focus on social responsibility not only enhances your professional experience but also allows you to contribute positively to society and develop a deeper connection with the local community. On a more self-serving note, engagement with important societal issues looks great on a CV too.

5. Work-Life Balance

The Dutch, like many of their European counterparts, place a high value on work-life balance. So one of the great things to expect from an internship in the Netherlands is regular working hours, typically from 9 am to 5 pm, and a strong emphasis on maintaining personal time. Many companies offer flexible working hours and the option to work remotely too.

This balance is especially valuable for international interns as it allows them to explore more the rich culture and vibrant cities of the Netherlands outside of work hours. Alongside the country’s youth-centric culture means internships in the Netherlands aren’t just great for professional development, they’re a lot of fun too.

6. Youth-Centric City Life

An active social life and plenty to do in your downtime is another big part of what to expect from an internship in the Netherlands. This country is well-known for its vibrant cities, thrilling nightlife, and youth-centric culture, and for good reason too.

Cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht, and Eindhoven offer a plethora of activities tailored for the younger crowd. From trendy cafes, music festivals, and art galleries to bustling nightlife and sports clubs, there’s always something happening.

Public transportation is efficient and affordable, making it easy to explore and enjoy these activities. Another of our top Netherlands travel tips is that many cities have student discounts and young professional networks that offer social and professional events, helping you make the most of your time outside of work.

7. Bicycle-Friendly Commutes

Yes, some cliches do hold true. The Dutch love a bicycle.

The Netherlands is the safest country in the world to cycle in. City streets are all furnished with a busy cycle lane, and a huge percentage of the population uses this as their primary means of transport for their daily work commute. Many companies even provide bicycle parking and facilities. As well as this, the country contains thousands of miles of interconnected Eurovelo routes for those who are interested in cross-country bike rides.

So, some of our best advice for internships in the Netherlands, and one of our best general travel tips for Netherlands is investing in a good bike for while you’re in the country.

8. English is Widely Spoken

Fortunately for English-speaking interns, learning Dutch needn’t be one of our tips for doing an internship in the Netherlands. With such a diverse international population, it is unsurprising that the majority of the population knows at least the basics of English and many are fluent.

While Dutch is the official language, English is widely spoken in the business world, especially in international companies. That said, while you don’t need to be fluent in Dutch to thrive in your internship, learning a few basic phrases can help you navigate daily life and show your appreciation for the local culture.

Top Internships in the Netherlands

Social Internship in the Netherlands

This is your chance to work at the epicentre of a global movement of volunteer work committed to important social and community projects. You’ll work with Amsterdam’s largest volunteer initiative connecting homeless shelters, refugee centers, urban-greening efforts, and hostels for victims of abuse with willing volunteer workforces.

Your role will involve you in a lot of different aspects of the organization’s work. You’ll contribute to project coordination, volunteer management, a dnget involved with an array of social work yourself. This could be anything from cake-baking fundraisers to haircuts for the homeless, to city litter picks.

Event Management Internship in the Netherlands

Gain hands-on experience in event management while working with the same volunteer organization in Amsterdam as above. This internship however focuses more on the event management and corporate relationship-building side of things.

You’ll be supporting corporate volunteering projects by connecting businesses with community-building efforts and coordinating various volunteer initiatives. You’ll work closely with project managers, organize team-building activities, and develop skills in project management, event planning, and NGO operations as you do.

Are You Ready for an Adventure in the Netherlands?

A unique blend of professional growth, multicultural collaboration, and personal development — this is what to expect from an internship in the Netherlands. From embracing the egalitarian work culture to enjoying the vibrant, youth-centric city life, there are countless opportunities to learn, develop professionally, and enjoy yourself too with internships in the Netherlands.

Ready to embark on this exciting journey? Get in touch with Roots Interns today to learn more about the opportunities awaiting you in the Netherlands. Contact us now to find the perfect internship match and start your adventure!

Browse All Available Internships in the Netherlands

This blog was written by Tom Rusbridge