Applying for an Internship in the Netherlands

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A glimpse of Groningen where the author is studying. (Source: Author)

Are you interested in doing an internship in the Netherlands but are not sure how to start? Through this article, Shanisa Rahmaputri Dewanto, a third-year International Business student in Groningen, will share information about an internship in the Netherlands along with some application tips based on her experience as an international and bachelor student.


After studying for almost three years in the Netherlands, I was very interested in the idea of working abroad and gaining international experience. But, one thing that made me curious was how exactly these Dutch companies practice work-life balance. The Netherlands is one of the happiest countries in the world, according to the World Happiness Report. The OECD also reports that the Netherlands ranked first for the country with a work-life balance in the world.

Therefore, I decided to try and find an internship here! In looking for one, there were some challenges and new information that I encountered. That is why I want to share some pieces of important information if you want to find an internship in the Netherlands as an international student.

Types of Internship

There are several types of internship offered in the Netherlands depending on your situation:

Internship during studies

You can do an internship while still studying either voluntarily or as a part of your study programme (you earn credits or need an internship to graduate). This can be done either a few times a week combined with your classes or you have a semester off. In most cases, Dutch companies prefer to hire students that are registered in a Dutch university for an internship. If you are registered as a student, the company does not need to apply for a work permit for you since its purpose is solely for learning and be relevant to your studies. All you need to do is sign an internship agreement between the student, the company, and the university. This will ensure your rights as an intern are protected so that the whole internship experience will be for learning purpose. For further information, it is best to consult with your study advisor and university career service.

Thesis internship

If you find in some internship vacancies with an additional point that this position is ‘suitable for thesis’, then it is considered as the graduate thesis internship. This internship is intended for students who need to conduct their thesis research in the company. The topic itself can be chosen by either the firm or the student. Not all companies offer this type of internship, but if you are required to do a thesis internship, make sure again to the employer whether they can offer this to you!

Internship after graduation

Some internships accept graduated students to gain work experience. However, it might be hard considering your status as a non-EU student due to the hassle of making a work permit. Unless you apply for a zoekjaar visa or an orientation year visa where you are allowed to do any work in the Netherlands for a year after you graduated. With this visa, the company does not have to apply for a work permit for you!

Useful Information

Salary

You might get paid as an intern by the company depending on the field, the company that will hire you, and your qualification (bachelor or masters). Usually, the average salary for an internship is around €300-€600  per month. An important note is that if you got paid at least as much as the Dutch minimum wage for your internship, you are required to have  Dutch Health Insurance. If you are working as an intern or part-time worker, it is compulsory for you to report your income tax!

Work Permit

As mentioned before, a work permit is not needed for an internship if you are still registered as a student and already signed an internship agreement. If you are not a student, therefore the company needs to apply for a work permit.

Internship Duration

Internships in the Netherlands usually last around 4-6 months depending on the position. Usually, you are required to work full-time 5 days a week, but this can also be done only a few days a week, depending on your agreement with the employers.

How to find internships

Campus networking event with companies in the Netherlands. (Source: Author)
Campus networking event with companies in the Netherlands. (Source: Author)

The followings are some places where you can find internships in the Netherlands:

  • University’s career service
  • Job fair
  • LinkedIn Jobs
  • Company’s website
  • … or be proactive and reach out to the company!

Applying for an Internship in the Netherlands

Application Process

The process is quite common, where you will need to send/upload your CV and motivation letter. This is a chance for you to highlight your experiences and interest to your future employers. If they are interested in your profile, the HR or employer will invite you for an interview to get to know you better. In some cases, you might need to do some assignments such as presentation or business case. This depends very much on the position and company. Always make sure that you are well prepared!

Application Tips

  • Personalised your CV/Resume and motivation letter based on the position and company you are applying for.
  • Contact your university’s career service for internship information, tips, CV checks or even interview preparation!
  • This will be a challenging process during which you might get rejection letters over time. Take this moment as a reflection for you by asking for feedback in ways that you can improve in the future.
  • Be proactive and show your interests! Your employers will be more interested in hiring motivated and passionate candidates.
  • Networking! Build a long-lasting connection during the process of finding an internship. Even though you got rejected, you can still connect with the people you contacted for future references.
  • Since you are still an intern, they won’t expect you to know everything, but you need to show your willingness to learn. After a while, you should be prepared that you will have a responsibility of your own.

Editor: Haryanto


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Shanisa Dewanto
Shanisa is a final year undergraduate student majoring in International Business at the University of Groningen. She is currently doing a Marketing internship in a Dutch multinational dairy company in the Netherlands in her last semester. Along with her studies, she joined several student organisations such as PPI Belanda, PPI Groningen and Economische en Bedrijfskundige Faculteitsvereniging (Faculty of Economics and Business Study Association). She loves to be in an international environment especially meeting people from different cultures. You can easily find her studying in the library or at home watching movies and trying out new recipes!

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