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Guide to The Hague - The Move & Arrival 

Pre-arrival


Please check the Notes for Guidance on The Netherlands on SWW, written by the Expatriate Shared Services team, detailing contractual information to help you settle into your new assignment:
swwhome.shell.com/sps/employees/expatriate_services/guide/expat/cover.html
(only accessible within internal Shell network)

Your Expat/Local Shared Services Adviser will guide you through the whole process including registering with the Alien Police, registering with the Gemeentehuis or Town Hall, getting your SOFI number and so on. Details are available in the Introductory Folder, which you will receive when you arrive.
You can print out a comprehensive list of things-to-do before departing for the Netherlands from the SWW: swwhome.shell.com/sps/employees/expatriate_services/country/netherlands/checklist/beforetravel_hostnl.html
(only accessible within internal Shell network)

A list of things to do upon arrival is also available:
swwhome.shell.com/sps/employees/expatriate_services/country/netherlands/checklist/arrival_hostnl.html
(only accessible within internal Shell network)



Useful Information

Before departure, it is advisable to get the documents required for your residence registration: birth certificate, marriage certificate, divorce decree, non-marriage/single status certificates, death certificate, and adoption papers. These documents need to be certified by means of an apostille * or double legalization ** (dubbele legalisatie). The following countries do not require apostilles: Aruba, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Macedonia, The Netherlands Antilles, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland and Turkey. Documents issued in the United States must have an apostille, whereas double legalization is required from Canadian citizens. These documents must be written in Dutch, French, English or German. If they are in any other language, you will need a sworn translator to translate them.

Consult the authentication guidelines for detailed instructions: sww.shell.com/sps/employees/expatriate_services/guide/transfer_guidelines.html
* Apostille: statement on a separate sheet of paper affixed to the original and signed and dated by the Ministry of Justice or of Foreign Affairs in the country of the document’s origin.
** Double legalization: the signature on a document is first legalized by the Ministry of Justice or of Foreign Affairs in the native country. Subsequently, the Dutch Ministry of Justice or of Foreign Affairs must authenticate the signatures on the document verifying the issuing authority in the native country.



The Gementeehuis or Town Hall:

The City of The Hague is very active in promoting The Hague as an international city. The International Corner (IC) is a department located in The Hague City Hall / Gemeentehuis especially created for the international community. The International Corner works closely with the Municipal Contact Centre (GCC) in dealing with municipal issues like: waste, parking, noise pollution, road maintenance, defect street lighting and traffic lights, maintenance of green areas, converting a driving licence, marriage and registered partnerships, registration of births, schools, childcare centres and new building projects. You are welcome to contact them for information, help or complaints.
Tel: +31 (0)70 353 3000
E-mail: contactcentrum@dsb.denhaag.nl
Website: www.thehague.nl or www.denhaag.com
To visit:
The City Hall of The Hague,
Spui 70,
Monday-Wednesday-Friday from 8am to 2pm
Tuesday from 12pm to 2pm
Thursdays from 12pm to 8pm
Closed on Saturdays and Sundays
Please contact Outpost The Hague for the addresses of the Town Halls in other areas.

 

BSN (Burger Service Number) (ex SOFI number)

Other than your partner, who is an employee, you must also acquire a Burger Service Number (BSN) if you want to be put on a Dutch payroll or to get child allowance. Contact your local tax office (Belastingdienst) 2 weeks after you get your registration card from the Aliens police.

The Hague:
Stationsplein 75, 2515BX The Hague
Tel: 0800-0543 (from abroad +31 555 385 385)

Open Monday to Thursday 08:00 – 20.00 hrs. Friday from 08.00 to 17.00 hrs.
Website: www.belastingdienst.nl

Visa / MVV information
Please check the Immigration website for detailed information on visas/MVV: www.ind.nl

Driving license
Websites: www.rijbewijs.nl or www.rdw.nl
(See also Cars for more details)

 

Vaccinations and Medical Checks

Before coming to the Netherlands, you and your family are required to have a medical examination, which will normally be done by the company medical adviser of your previous company. For health care within The Netherlands click here.


Banking


The euro (€) is the currency in the Netherlands. If you are not coming from a EU country, you should change money before arrival as it takes a few days to open a bank account and two weeks after your first deposit before you get your PIN card or your credit card.

There are several choices of banks; Fortis, ING, Rabobank, Postbank etc. but many Shell expatriates choose ABN-AMRO because they are the largest bank and have branches in the Shell Offices on Carel Van Bylandtlaan and in Rijswijk.

It is useful to keep a bank account open in your home country to pay for expenses there. You can easily transfer money from Holland via Internet.

(See also set up a Bank Account).

Insurance

1) Everyone has to have 3rd party insurance (aansprakelijkheid verzekering) as you are liable for everything your children and pets or anyone in your family does to inflict injury or damage on others or their property. For Medical Insurance, click here.

2) Kröller Assurantiën B.V. offer motor insurance under attractive conditions. To obtain a no-claim discount, it is necessary to bring with you a certificate from your present insurance company stating the period during which no damages were claimed. For more details www.kroller.nl

3) An insurance company often requires proof of residence before issuing a policy. This can be a problem, as the Aliens Police require proof of health insurance coverage before your resident alien status is granted! So be sure you have interim insurance cover before arriving.

Shell expatriates/repatriates are welcome to borrow the many useful publications available on loan from the Outpost The Hague library contact Outpost.

Air/Sea freight

What air and sea freight you bring is very much a matter of personal choice. If you are relocating to The Netherlands from the tropics in winter, an extra warm jacket/coat and a few warm sweaters are useful items in your airfreight. Some include their computers and if accompanied by children, extra toys and a few of their favourite items are always worthwhile. Many include car seats for babies/toddlers in the airfreight.

Sea freight does not tend to catch up with you until you move to permanent accommodation.
(see: Relocation Info for Container item)

 

Hand luggage

- Follow the duty free regulations for The Netherlands!
- Check import restrictions e.g. meat products.
- Check the security restrictions of the airline - no sharp instruments and flammable items.
- Carry all your personal documents with you, in a secure place.

Traveling with children
- Give your children a bag with toys and books to occupy them on the journey.
- Take a change of clothes - accidents do happen!

What to take

Appliances-electrical plugs-circuit breakers, transformers
The voltage in the Netherlands, as elsewhere in Europe, is 220-230 volts and 50 cycles. In the USA it is 110-115 volts and 60 cycles. Voltage can easily be converted with the use of transformers on most appliances up to 1,000 watts and may be bought from people leaving The Netherlands or are readily available from most hardware stores (ijzerhandel). However, transformers of up to 2,000 watts, for high-wattage appliances such as deep fryers or mixers, may be more difficult to find in The Netherlands and household appliances with large motors do not fare well with transformers. They often have a shorter life and may not perform well. There is also a high "nuisance factor" to carrying around a heavy transformer with your vacuum cleaner!

Travel-sized converters- omzetter/omvormer up to 1,600 watts size are available in many luggage shops or electronics stores, and in duty free shops. These are oversized adapters, which reduce the voltage from 220v to 110v, suitable for small appliances like contact lens cleaning kits, electric razors etc. They are not suitable for clocks or refrigerators and probably not strong enough for electronic devices such as photo flash units.
Be aware: parts may be difficult to replace; service hard to find; Water and electricity outlets may not be sufficient; A transformer will not change the frequency cycles, so machines with moving parts will never operate quite smoothly; European appliances are generally smaller (60cm width);

However, European appliances are quite expensive.If you buy new appliances here most of the operating manuals come in many languages. If English is not one of them, you can usually have the store order you an English manual.
Most places in The Netherlands provide cable television. The channels offered can vary slightly according to area, e.g. just south of The Hague Casema Internet service is offered via cable. You may have a choice of packages, although if you want English programmes you will most likely have to accept the most expensive option. In the Gemeente Gids (under section Televisie) the channels are listed so you can program them into your TV and Video.

The frequency system in The Netherlands is PAL 1, in Britain it is PAL 2 and in the USA it is NTSC. This means they are not compatible. A multi-system TV and Video recorder will play all systems and is becoming standard. This has nothing to do with the voltage; it has to do with the reception. Some families will bring a small American/British TV and video so that their children can play all their non-European videos.

Note: nowadays most electronic equipment and appliances are adaptable for worldwide use so please check items like your television, video and computer.

Plug adapters- tussen stuk and universal adapter kits are difficult to find in the Netherlands. You will need universal adapter kits in order to use small appliances and if you plan to use your American appliances with transformers. You can buy these adapters in duty free or luggage stores or electrical supply stores in your country.

Transformers –transformator have a heavy metal core and reduce the voltage from 220v to 110v. They are much heavier then converters and quite expensive. You may need several for use in the kitchen or with the stereo or computer etc. Be aware that the continual use of a transformer may cause premature failure of the appliance.

All lamp bulbs have screw –in fittings. Buy a 220-volt light bulb and a small attachment to put in the electrical outlet so that the plug will fit (The British bayonet or clip-in-fitting is not found here).

The Netherlands has a two-pin system for electrical plugs. Adapter plugs can be bought in duty free shops or in some electrical stores in your base country.


What to wear

The Netherlands is a multi-national country and there is no dress code. However be aware that there are seasons and temperatures hover around 2°C in January/February to around 20°C in July/August. Rain gear is also essential, although all clothing is readily available.

 

Pets

  Importing Cats and Dogs

If you wish to bring your cat or dog with you to the Netherlands it will need its own pet passport. A recognised vet in the country you are moving from in order to obtain the passport must examine your pet. The passport should contain the following information:

•  The name of the owner and a complete description of the animal (breed, sex, age, colour, fur type and other specific marks)

•  A statement from the vet (in Dutch, English, French or German) that your pet has been vaccinated against rabies and the date.

•  A statement from your vet that your pet does not show any signs of diseases.

Pets being imported from outside the EEC, Switzerland and US require a blood test to confirm the rabies vaccination.


Regulations

Pets are very popular in Holland, so pet products and services are plentiful.

There is no quarantine necessary as long as your pet is healthy and vaccinations are up-to-date.

However, specific requirements for your pet's health certificate should be obtained from a Dutch consulate in your home country. If you wish to import a bird into the country, contact the Council on the Importation and trade of Endangered Species (CITES), on +31 (78) 639 53 95.Only on weekdays from 2 to 4 pm. www.cites.org

For any further information on importing your pet to The Netherlands from outside the EU please write to: import@vwa.nl

•  Vaccinations

Before coming to The Netherlands, get a certificate of Vaccination for Rabies issued by a recognised veterinary surgeon stating the:

•  Owner's name

•  Description of the animal (breed, sex, age, colour of fur, marks)

•  Date of vaccination

•  Type and expiration date of vaccine

•  Name of manufacturer and batch number

The rabies vaccination must be given more than one month and less than one year before entering the Netherlands. If, upon arrival, your pet does not have a passport it will be vaccinated then and will have to remain in quarantine for 30 days

Important:

•  You also need a certificate of good health dated less than 14 days before the date of departure from the country of residence.

•  Evidence of vaccination must be proven by a blood test if you are entering The Netherlands from an unlisted country. Please contact Outpost The Hague for more details.

•  The minimum age of animals from an unlisted country is 7 months.

•  Microchip implants

Computer technology has made it possible to permanently implant, under the skin of your pet, a microchip programmed with an ID number that can be read using a scanner. The ID is linked to a European database containing information about the animal, making it easier for authorities to reunite lost pets with their owners. If you have already had a microchip implanted in your pet, it is worth getting it read to ensure that the number is recognised by the database. If it is not in the database, you can register it at the vets for a very small fee (€3 in Spring 2005).

•  Dog Tax (Hondenbelasting)

You do not need a permit for your dog in the Netherlands. However, dogs are taxed. They must be registered with the Gemeentelijke Belastingdienst (Municipal Tax Department) by sending a letter, which includes your contact information, the date you arrived in The Hague, and the number of dogs you have.

Addresses

Gemeentelijke Belastingdienst

Laan van Nieuw Oost Indië 127
2593 BM The Hague
Tel: 070 353 3000
E-mail: contactcentrum@dsb.denhaag.nl

or District Office
Spui 70 (City Hall)
Tel: 070 353 3000
Open from 8:00 - 15:00 hrs.
E-mail: contactcentrum@dsb.denhaag.nl

•  Vets (Dierenartsen)

Veterinary care is excellent in Holland . Most vets have a special time (spreekuur) when you can visit them with your pet for a check up or vaccinations. Alternatively you can call them for an appointment. Usually you are reminded by your vet of the date of your pet's next vaccination!

Dierenkliniek Statenlaan
Statenlaan 19Tel. 070-3524221

Dierenarts J.M. Thijsse
Surinamestraat 54Tel. 070-3460040

DAP Bezuidenhout
Theresiastraat 430Tel. 070-3835205

DAP Oomen-Wiersma
Van Alkemadelaan 20Tel. 070-3248651

•  Kennels

Kennels (Dierenpensions) are found throughout Holland. There is an information line to find out availability of places by calling 0900 102 0400 (Dutch language). For a list of kennels, please contact Outpost The Hague. It is a good idea to visit a kennel before registering your animal for the first time.

Your cat or dog will need its own passport, dierenpaspoort, in which vaccinations and care are recorded. This document is required when you leave your pet at a kennel

•  Rules for Dog Owners

•  Dogs must always be kept on a leash except in marked “dog run” areas (uitrengebied or uitlaatplek), punishable by a €50 fine.

•  You must clean up after your dog everywhere in the city, including the “dog run” areas, punishable by a €75 fine.

•  Dog owners must carry a “pooper scooper” with them at all times. You must be able to show that you have paper, plastic bags or a small scoop with you, punishable by a €50 fine.

•  No dogs are allowed in children's play areas or where posted (verboden voor honden).

•  Dogs are allowed to run freely on the beach. However, no dogs are allowed on the beach, day or night, between 15 May and 1 October except in designated areas in North Beach (Noorderstrand) next to the Zwarte Pad and South Beach (Zuiderstrand) next to Kwartellaan.

Owners of seeing-eye dogs are not obliged to clean up after their dog.

 

On Arrival

At the Airport
Most people arrive in The Netherlands via Schiphol airport, (info: 0900-0141 www.schiphol.nl) a modern international airport located on the outskirts of Amsterdam.

Schiphol has one terminal and on the ground floor you will find Arrival Halls 1, 2, 3 and 4 and the NS (Dutch Railway) station. The yellow signs with “Exit, Baggage Hall/Arrivals Hall and Immigration” will show you the way to the nearest Passport control. Free luggage trolleys are available to help you carry your luggage. If you are from an EU country, passport and customs are straightforward. For non-EU nationals there can be quite a lot of red tape.

After customs clearance, follow the yellow signs in the direction of Schiphol Plaza for several options of transport to The Hague e.g train, taxi, car rental. The Hague has two railway stations, Central Station (Hague CS) and Holland Spoor (Hague HS). There is a fast, regular rail network linking Schiphol to The Hague with a train departing from Platform 5 at 04 and 34 minutes past each hour via Leiden. For new arrivals moving first to hotel accommodation in The Hague or Scheveningen area, the Central Station is the most convenient destination.

NS (Dutch Railways) ticket desks (big blue sign “Train tickets & Services) are located at Schiphol Plaza, the central hall of the Terminal and are open 24 hours. You can also buy tickets from the self-service ticket machines (tickets are slightly cheaper than from the tickets’ desk). The platforms are located under the terminal building and accessible from the ticket area.

If you are travelling with a large amount of luggage consider taking a taxi from the airport. Schiphol taxis operate from the taxi rank outside Schiphol Plaza. Use a regular taxi company, although you might get hassled in the airport by “other taxi offers”. The price (based on meter prices without any delays) from the Schiphol taxi organization to The Hague/Scheveningen area is +/- € 70 (one way). Credit cards are accepted. These days, other Taxi companies are allowed to work from Schiphol and they are also located outside Schiphol Plaza. Not all taxi drivers operating from Schiphol know The Hague area well. They tend to be more familiar with routes/hotels around the Amsterdam area. Be warned. It is possible to pre-book a cab from a Hague based company. They will meet you at the airport. Ring +31 (0)70 3830830 or fax +31(0)70 3817707 for the Haagse City Taxi B.V. Give your name, flight number, number of persons travelling and an estimate of luggage and they can meet you at the Meeting Point at Schiphol airport. (+31 (0) 20-6531000 for information on taxi services and fares)

Click here for more information on Public Transport.

Arriving in The Hague
When you arrive in The Hague, you can either take a taxi or a train taxi from the Central Station: Treintaxi (train-taxi) serves a certain area, shown at the Treintaxi stand at railway stations in The Netherlands, where you report to the taxi driver. He will wait approx. 10 minutes for other passengers to share the taxi and you therefore travel at a reduced rate. Available to and from 111 railway stations in the Netherlands, with a fixed price per person per ride, regardless of the distance within the defined area (approx. 8 km around the Treintaxi-station). When purchased from a Treintaxi driver, the ticket costs a bit more. Treintaxi is available from the first to the last train on the timetable.

The chauffeur waits for a maximum of 10 minutes for any other possible customers to share this Treintaxi, then determines an efficient route and brings the passengers to their destinations. For the return trip to the railway station, you call the Treintaxi call-centre at least half an hour prior to being collected. The telephone number is (+31) (0) 900-TREINTAXI or (+31) (0) 900 873 46 82.

First night accommodation
First night accommodation is generally a hotel and details are communicated to the employee by e-mail, where you will stay up to 10 nights. The local personnel department will arrange transfer into fully furnished company transit accommodation. (See section 3.4.2 Transit Accommodation)



Welcome Services

Company Orientation
The Expatriate Shared Service Team (PSES), responsible for the company you will be working for in The Netherlands, will take care of your briefing on contractual matters and they will direct you to the relevant people for housing, education etc

Outpost Package
The Outpost Welcome Team will send the Outpost Welcome Package to your hotel- or transit accommodation in the first few days of your arrival in The Netherlands. Sometimes for speed it will be sent via the partner’s office address. This package contains lots of information to help you in the process of settling in:
• An invitation to the next Outpost Welcome morning
• Welcome Newsletter
• ACCESS calendar……..and much more.

Welcome Committee
Every effort is made by the Outpost Welcome Team members to contact you and your family. The Welcome team members comprise volunteers of many nationalities. An informal monthly Welcome Morning is organized to welcome you. Children are welcome. A wealth of information is available about living in The Netherlands and these mornings provide a good opportunity to meet other new arrivals, our Career and Relocation consultants, make friends and even re-establish old acquaintances. The Outpost office has an open door policy and you are welcome at any time to browse through our extensive reference library and ask any questions over a cup of coffee.

Settle Services B.V. is a professional relocation company contracted to Shell to help you with your settling in process. You are entitled to 10 hours of their service, including work done at their offices on your behalf. If applicable, your personal details will be passed on to them and they will arrange a meeting with you (and your family) to:
• Give you an extensive briefing package containing lots of useful information on living in The Netherlands (e.g. on public transport, shopping, churches, clubs etc.) There is a lot of paperwork when you first arrive in a new location but please take the time to have a good look at the contents of this package. The information is very useful although it might seem a lot to go through.
• Take you (and your family) on an orientation tour either in the area of your temporary accommodation or in the area of your permanent residence.
• Link you (and your family) to a doctor (General Practitioner (GP)) and a dentist in the area of your temporary accommodation as well as in the area of your permanent residence.
• Help you with the procedure on how to obtain child benefit allowance.
Tel: +31 (0) 23 5344188; Fax: +31 (0) 23 5345917;
e-mail: settle@settleservice.nl; website: www.settleservice.nl

Transit accommodation
After an initial stay in a hotel most people move into transit accommodation provided by the Company until a permanent house, rented or bought, has been found. Apartments make up most of the transit accommodation available in The Hague area. Discuss any specific requirements you may have for transit accommodation e.g. proximity to a school, with your HR department on or before arrival. Where possible they will try and accommodate your needs!
You may need to make your own way to the estate agents office to pick up keys for transit accommodation. This means you have to brace yourself at an early stage to use the public transport to locate the agents' office. Of course a taxi is another option.
Needless to say some transit accommodation is better appointed than others. All have basic furniture, kitchen appliances, kitchen utensils, cutlery, crockery, linen, washing machine and tumble dryer, TV and phone. All items appear on an inventory, which is agreed and signed as a condition of taking possession. Children's cutlery and plastic crockery is not provided. You provide your own food, cleaning materials and toiletries. Make sure you find out where the nearest supermarket is, such as Albert Heijn, prior to moving in. You are responsible for cleaning the apartment on your departure.

Initial transport
For initial transport check the official Notes for Guidance, as there are various allowances you can make use of during the initial period of your assignment.


 
  ^ back to top  
 
     
  Guide to The Hague  
  •General Information  
  The Move & Arrival  
 
Pre-arrival
Town Hall
BSN (ex SOFI) number
Medical
Banking
Insurance
Air/Sea freight
Hand luggage
What to take
Pets
On arrival
Welcome Services
 
     
  Relocation Information  
  Schools & Education  
  Health & Safety  
  Leisure activities  
  Where to turn  
     
  What's on  
  Images of The Hague  
  Useful Links/Websites  
     
     
     
     
     
     
     



The information given by Outpost is based upon the gathered personal experiences of expatriate families. Therefore, you will appreciate that Outpost cannot accept any liability for damages directly or indirectly resulting from the services rendered or information given.

Source of images : Global Outpost Services & the Outpost network and www.thehague.nl
Updated : February 2, 2007