“This call is to inform you that legal action is being taken on your BSN number. Send your BSN number to…”
“The callers often pretend to be from the National Police or the Dutch Supreme Court,” a spokesperson said. Victims usually hear an English recorded tape. “
What is said varies. Sometimes they say, for example, that your social security number is being misused, or that you have an arrest warrant against you.”
Then you are asked to enter a number, after which the victim is put through to a so-called agent. It asks for more information, or to transfer money.
What do they want with that data?
“This kind of sensitive private data is misused for identity fraud, but can also be used to make a scam even more credible. If the person on the phone knows your social security number or IBAN, you may be more likely to think: this is someone from the police or the bank. .”
What should you do if you receive such a call?
“If you get a scam call like this, it’s best to just hang up.
If the person on the phone says he or she is really from the bank or the police, then you ask for a name and that you call the organization back
But in general, this important rule applies: a bank, the police or any other government organization will never ask you for payment details, nor let anyone install software on their computer or phone.”
We all want to live in a greener and cleaner environment, and The Netherlands strives towards this goal. As an individual and a household, we are required to abide by certain waste management protocols. These protocols do vary between municipalities, so it is especially important to check what is required of your household in your specific municipal area. Your taxes pay for these processes, so it is vital you understand how they work.
It is also important to understand the rules around household waste removal, as they can be strict. For example, what rubbish goes where, how to position your roadside waste containers, and when to put them out. Breaking these rules, can result in fines, and YES – they do have waste inspectors who sporadically check what you have placed in various waste containers!
Some municipalities provide waste systems for your home, such as rubbish bins or cans which are collected on the roadside by the local waste removal company at certain (but usually regular) times of the month or week. Others provide communal waste containers, either above or below ground for various waste types, and are emptied by the local waste removal company once full or at certain intervals.
All of this can be ascertained by checking your local waste system’s website or downloading the applicable app. Here you will be able to see which days different household waste is collected in your area or where the closest communal waste container is located. It is important to know that for certain waste containers you may require a “waste container key-card” which are allocated per household if applicable, via your local municipality.
So, let’s talk practicalities. Firstly, knowing what goes where is particularly important, and this can be checked on the internet, waste management websites or your local refuse company’s app. If still in doubt, speak to a neighbour, or simply email your municipality, they will assist you. You will often see the following four colours, where household waste management is concerned:
1 – Blue – Paper recycling – In Dutch known as the papierbakken
This is the blue bin or container and the communal containers are often located near the “glass” recycling containers at shops or parking-lots. They may also be in a public space in your local suburb (wijk). It is important to understand what “types” of paper can be recycled. You don’t want to receive a fine for putting the incorrect thing in your paper recycling container!
2 – Green – Organic waste – In Dutch known as the groenbak or gft (groente, fruit en tuinafval)
This is the green bin or container. All organic waste goes in the green bin, including garden clippings and grass, but be sure not to place large wooden pieces into this bin, as it disrupts the machines and organic composting processes. About two thirds of this type of waste is made into compost and reused by both the municipality and farmers. As organic waste can get messy and stinky (you know what we mean…). Here are a few tips to help with this,
Don’t leave you bin in full sun or a hot place,
Place this waste into the bin as dry as possible, so squeeze out liquids from organic waste, allow grass clippings to dry for a day or two,
Don’t clean these bins with chlorine products, they disrupt the composting process,
Special composting bags are available to help keep your green bin a little cleaner, alternatively a couple of newspaper sheets at the bottom of the bin help too,
Cat litter does NOT go in the green bin – This is a big no no!
3 – Orange – Plastic and packaging waste – Known in Dutch as verpakking or PMD (Plastik, metaal en drinkkarton)
This is the orange bin or container. Certain municipalities pick up verpakking bags directly from the curb side. Most packaging is recyclable these days. This waste stream is for plastic packaging waste, tins and tetrapak packages (e.g. fruit juice/milk containers). It is NOT for hard plastics, like children’s toys or garden furniture. A top tip here, is to clean/rinse this type of waste as much as you can, it really helps keep the recycling process more efficient and not get ruined.
4 – Black – All other non-recyclable waste – Known in Dutch as restafval
Anything which is not green, blue or orange waste, or any of the below, is then allocated to normal household waste, and is collected in black or grey containers. If your municipality does not provide such a bin, you can search for your closest communal “restafval” waste container. This waste is most often incinerated and used for energy purposes.
But… it doesn’t end there! The following household waste management systems are also in place for us all, more information on this will follow in Part 2 of this blog.
An Inschrijving/offer by deadline, something you’ve no doubt heard of or dealt with if you’ve (ever) set your sights on buying a home in the current housing market in the Netherlands. Especially in today’s market, buying by inschrijven/ offer by deadline is more common than ever.
We explain what it is.
When there is a lot of interest in a property, several bids are often made by different interested parties. In that case, the seller can decide to give every candidate the opportunity to make a one-off final offer within a predetermined period. This method is also known as an Inschrijven.
Everyone an equal chance In the case of a tender, the seller does not, therefore, enter into negotiations with one specific candidate (which means that they are not allowed to negotiate with the rest). With an inschrijven, the seller gives everyone an equal chance to bid. The seller can then choose from the bids made.
Right of award The seller always reserves the ‘right of award’. This means they may determine whether the combination of price and terms is sufficient to sell to a particular bidder. Therefore, the seller is not obliged to sell to the highest bidder but can also opt for a lower bid with better conditions, for example. It can even be decided not to award (not to sell). But in general, the seller aims to let candidates know the same day whether the contract has been awarded and to whom.
Not always to the highest bid If you make a bid, it must be expressed in an absolute amount, and the offer must not be related to any other offer. In other words, it is not possible to make a bid of, for example, a thousand euros above the highest bid. Your bid will then be declared invalid.
In addition to the price, a bid must also contain the proposed delivery date and any (resolutive) conditions. These are essential criteria for the seller when making the sale decision.
Is now the time to buy, or is it better to wait? How do I find out defects? These are all questions you have to deal with when you have your eye on a house. It is nice to consult with an experienced buying consultant, completely without obligation. Let one of our brokers call you back!
Yes, call me back!
Buy on registration: blind bidding. The broker may not let interested parties bid against each other. That’s why you never hear what other bidders have bid. This keeps the process fair.
At the same time, this means that you have to bid ‘blind’, that is difficult for many interested parties. On the one hand, you do not know whether you have a chance with your bid, creating uncertainty. Of course, you don’t want to bid too little, but you also don’t want to be ten thousand euros above the second-highest bidder. On the other hand, your chances would shrink if other candidates knew your offer. Moreover, this rule prevents candidates from getting caught up in a bidding war.
When will the sale be completed? Has the seller accepted your offer? Congratulations, you have then sidelined all other bidders, and the purchase agreement can be drawn up. Once the purchase agreement has been signed, the purchase is immediately binding for the seller. The buyer then has a statutory cooling-off period of three days. After the reflection period has passed, you as a buyer can only get out of the purchase agreement if you legally invoke a resolutive condition.
Do you want to buy or sell your home? If there is a lot of interest in your home, selling by inschrijven may be the best choice. Our competent team of consultants are here to help you with the buying or sale process?
From 1 July 2022, a smoke detector is mandatory on every floor. This has been mandatory for new construction since 2003, but will soon also be mandatory for existing homes. We will now include costs for missing smoke detectors as directly necessary costs in an architectural report.
Regardless of whether you have an EU passport or not, if you are going to be living in the Netherlands (for the first time) for more than 4 months, you will need to register for your Citizen Service Number: BSN.
BSN Appointment at Gemeentes:
You need to register for your BSN at your local Gemeente within 5 days of your arrival in the Netherlands. This can either be at the Gemeente where:
your work address is located (if you have permission from your employer to use their address),
your short stay accommodation or people you’re staying with are located (if you have permission from them to use their address) or
the property you’re renting (if you have a rental contract) is located*.
*Note: if you sign a rental contract before your BSN appointment and it’s in a different Gemeente you’ll need to cancel your existing appointment and make a new one at the relevant Gemeente.
Many Gemeente are struggling with the backlog of appointments and some have moved these registrations for expats over to Expat Centres that work in their areas, for example, Utrecht’s Expat Welcome Centre now manages the BSN appointments for the Utrecht, Amersfoort, Woerden, and Oudewater Gemeentes – at no additional fee (read on for explanation).
There are 11 expat centres across the Netherlands each serving a certain area but all focused on helping expats and relieving the burden from local Gemeentes. Service offerings at these centres can vary and additional service costs may apply.
In the case of IN Amsterdam for example, they are an expat centre that caters as an additional service desk where you can register your BSN and collect your residence card – for a fee. It specifically caters for the following gemeentes: Amsterdam, Amstelveen, Almere, Diemen, Haarlemmermeer, Haarlem, Hilversum and Velsen.
One of the selling points of using a expat centre is that though you may pay a fee for their services you will walk out with your BSN from the appointment (some Gemeentes, not all, will mail it to you in the week[s] following your appointment). But, Expat Centres themselves are also struggling with a backlog of appointments and you might be looking at similar waiting times as the Gemeentes themselves (up to 6 weeks) in certain areas. You’ll either need to make your appointment as far in advance as possible or hope for a cancellation.
IND Appointments at IND Lokets and Expat Centres: Currently, you can only collect your residence permit from the location specified in the letter from the IND (the one chosen by your company when they applied for your residence permit/visa), this means, due to circumstances, that you might not always we able to make use of Expat Centers as a one-stop shop for IND and BSN appointments. These are the current general IND locations where you can collect your residence permit:
Utrecht (they’re closing it 31 March – your company will need to choose another location)
Rotterdam (they’re closing it 25 May – your company will need to choose another location)
If you’d like to have your residence permit sent to an expat centre then your employer needs to select that specific location option (they’re seen as separate from the general IND loketen listed above): https://ind.nl/en/Forms/7511.pdf
Documents for BSN:
It is important to note that there may be differences in the requirements for documents used for your visa application vs. the requirements for the documents you need for your BSN. But, regardless of whether you’re applying for your BSN via an expat centre or a gemeente, the documents for your BSN will stay the same and are required. For example, you are still required to bring (for everyone):
an unabridged birth certificate* with apostille regardless of your age. According to IN Amsterdam this is “applicable for children, European citizens and their partners (EU and non-EU), self-employed entrepreneurs and startup professionals and people with an orientation year residence permit.”
An unabridged marriage certificate*, letter of no impediment (for unmarried couples), divorce decree, adoption certificate or family book. Even if the partner is not joining, a marriage needs to be registered. These documents will also need to be apostilled.
If you don’t believe you’ll have your unabridged birth-/marriage certificates with apostille ready in time for your BSN appointments, the Gemeentes, have been lenient and will allow you to present your unabridged birth-/marriage certificates with apostille within 3 months of your first appointment. You will need a new appointment for this.
IND and BSN appointment dates:
Bookings on short term notice are getting far and few between for both BSN and IND appointments. And, you won’t always be able to make an appointment for your BSN online which means expensive international calls on top of having to wait to be attended. Expat Property Brokers will arrange these appointments for you as part of our Expat Service (which includes collecting you from the airport, arranging a bank appointment to open a bank account and getting a TB test appointment at your local Gemeente). But for us to be the most effective and to arrange the most ideal appointment dates for you we’ll need to know your arrival time is and what address to use (ie. which Gemeente you need to register with) as soon as possible. The sooner we’ll be able to schedule your appointments in advance. Convenient, right?
Speak to one of our Expat Service Agents today for more!
If you’re planning on moving to the Netherlands, it’s a good idea to know what the standard documents are that you’ll be asked for when applying for a rental property (or to just be considered for a viewing).
It’s important to gather these documents as quickly as possible. Properties go extremely quickly in the Netherlands and making sure that you have all your information and documents sent through to the rental agents as quickly as possible means a better chance of your application being accepted.
Because of the housing shortage, owners have a lot of power in choosing their tenants so it’s also important to use this opportunity to sell yourself as the best possible tenant. Being able to provide all the needed information, and more, all in one go makes you stand out as a serious candidate for consideration.
• Employment contract in NL
Few rental agencies will accept offers from clients that don’t have a working contract either from an employer in NL or from an employer abroad which allows you to work remotely. There have been quite a few cases where we have been able to come to arrangements with owners and agents, but this does mean that you’re working with a smaller pool of properties to choose from.
• Werkgeversveklaring – this you can ask from the HR department
If you do have a work contract with an employer here in the Netherlands then you can ask their HR department for a werkgeversverklaring, or employer statement. This is just a one-page summary of your work contract and is often requested by rental agents as it’s easy for them to go through quickly and highlights all the most important information for them.
• 3 months’ salary slips
If you’re working for a new company in the Netherlands and haven’t started yet, you don’t need to worry about providing the salary slips. We can explain the situation in the application. If you do have these salary slips (not necessarily as far back as 3 months) it’s always good to include these and it’s often requested.
• 3 months bank statements
This is important for the rental agents to check your financial stability. If you don’t have a Dutch bank account yet, that’s not a problem: you can send the bank statements from your local bank for the last 3 months. Please just make sure that your name, date, currency and closing amounts are clear on the statements.
• If currently renting a reference from your landlords
This isn’t always required but it’s a really nice touch to help you sell yourself as the best possible candidate for the owners to choose as their new tenant. If you owned your house then a reference letter from neighbours is helpful as well.
• Copies of your passports
This they need to confirm your identity and draw up the contract.
• Letter of introduction
Once again, this is a nice way to introduce yourself to the owner (who might never meet in person) and a way to put a face to your application. This is a short one-page intro to you /and your family and/or pets – who you are, what you do, your hobbies and interests, why the Netherlands, why you’ll be the best tenant, etc.
• Photo of you /and your family and/or pet
Same with the introduction letter it’s nice to show them in a picture who you are and lets your personality shine through. If you have pets it’s also great for owners to actually see what your dog/cat/etc looks like.
Please note that you mostly won’t be (if ever) able to apply for a property without having conducted a viewing first. This means that if you’re still abroad, services like the rental search option we at Expat Property Brokers provide come in very handy as you could be heading straight to your new home directly from the airport! Convenient, right?
House hunting at any time is a stressful and challenging experience. The Dutch housing market is unique, given its housing shortage and exceptional growth in the values of homes. The pandemic has directly impacted this market. We have experienced remarkable growth, and the demand is at an all-time high. “Stay home” has been the consistent mantra of the Coronavirus/Covid-19 pandemic, and having a home you love where you can safely shelter in place feels more critical than ever.
Space has become a prime factor with more than one work from home option in each property. We have seen a greater demand for gardens or some outdoor space properties.
Pursuing a new home purchase in the current environment has both upsides and downsides. Before the pandemic, this market was difficult as the housing shortage and prices made it difficult for many expats to secure homes. It would help to understand how the pandemic has impacted buying a home. The demand is even greater, and the prices have rocketed as buyer’s needs have changed and the importance of work from home space has become the priority.
In a time of great uncertainty, a voice of knowledge and reassurance can make all the difference.:
Contract a good buying consultant/aankoop makelaar, which can offer you a diverse range of areas to ensure your search radius is not limited to only one location.
Get a pre-qualification on your financial situation.
Attend viewings in person accompanied by your aankoop makelaar
Take hand sanitiser
Use a face mask
Don’t touch too much
Keep your 1.5m distance
Do the needed area and pricing research – ensure your offer is competitive without overpaying for the property.
Work with your aankoop makelaar to ensure your offer is correctly worded – it’s not only the highest price that wins a home. How the proposal is structured makes all the difference.
Be prepared as the bidding process is a bit of warfare at the moment, don’t get sucked up into the frenzy taking place at the moment. People are putting in exceptionally high offers, and they won’t see value in many years to come. Your proposal needs to be strong but not ridiculously high.
Let your aankoop makelaar review the needed documentation and declarations.
Let your aankoop makelaar handle the negotiations; dealing with an associate is at times a preference for the selling agents as they know the buyers are serious and not “tire kickers”.
Once the offer is accepted, your aankoop makelaar will guide you through the post-sales process with as little stress to you as possible.
Have contracts call with your makelaar to ensure you understand what you are signing and ensure no areas for concern.
If you can be present at the technical inspection, it helps you understand your new home’s issues and critical factors.
Your aankoop makelaar will work closely with your mortgage advisor to ensure all dates are met, and you do not land in a situation where you could be in for penalties on your sales agreement.
Although a real estate agent usually focuses on the house itself, the way you decorate it is what makes it a home. Let’s have a look at how interior design has changed over the last few decades.
The start of the hippy movement had a huge impact on how people decorated their homes in the 1960’s. Lots of custom built furniture found its way into living rooms, floral prints were everywhere, kitchens featured a lot of wood and organic materials ruled the world.
If you ever watched a tv-show like The Americans or That 70’s show, you will have a good idea of what homes looked like during that decade. Geometrical shapes were key and carpets will never be as fluffy again. To compensate for the busy wallpaper, people used earthy colours.
Most of us will probably remember something green out of this era. Frosted glass became a thing and everyone got rid of their carpets. Laminate floors became very popular and could be found everywhere in the house.
Thanks to the booming economy in most of the decade, the size of homes increased. Yet minimalism was the trend. People traded in their laminate for wooden flooring and technology became more important. To stall all the tech-stuff, there were more shelves, closets and stands.
Minimalism was obviously here to stay. But people started to combine it with a more uniform look. Stainless steel, thinner televisions and computers made people get rid of their home entertainment systems.
Need help making changes to your home before selling? Or want some decorating tips after you bought a new home? Expat Property Brokers can come in with our amazing decorator.
Now that even very sustainable neighbourhoods are being built in the Netherlands, it does not hurt to take a critical eye on your current home. Making the home more sustainable is not only good for the environment, it also saves you money and adds to the value of the home. Expat Property Brokers gives you a few tips:
Cavity wall insulation
An easy way to reduce your energy consumption. With good insulation, your energy consumption will drop by up to 20%!
Fortunately, most suppliers realize that it is important to supply green electricity, sometimes even generated in the Netherlands. Compare the suppliers before you switch. Often it is not even more expensive than grey electricity.
This pump works together with your C.V. boiler. The pump delivers heat all year round and the boiler only needs you for really cold days and hot tap water. With a hybrid heat pump, you save a lot of energy quickly.
It is obvious, but we still see many homes with single glass. Sin, because a lot of heat is lost. Therefore invest quickly in double glazing. In cities like Amsterdam and Utrecht, there are different ways for old glass and window frames in the old buildings.
You might have noticed already, but the Dutch are obsessed with the weather. With temperatures hitting 37 degrees this week, we will give you a couple of recommendations of places in Amsterdam where you can enjoy the summer.
A day to visit the park
It can be the Vondelpark, Westerpark, Sarphatipark or any other. Everyone is out having a picnic and soaking in every ray of sunlight. Some parks allow barbeques, others do not. This is a great and relaxing day for the whole family or just you alone with a book.
The ‘terras’ (aka a beach/cocktail bar)
If you are lucky enough to find a spot to sit, definitely check these places out:
Sky Lounge is a bar on the top of the Double Tree hotel. Great for a cocktail and a beautiful view over the city.
De Waterkant in the city’s west, you can have a couple of drinks and some food along the water (like the name kind of says..).
Roest – If you don’t mind getting your own drinks from the bar, you can spend the whole day relaxing at here on the east side of the city.
Take to the water
Is there anything better than spending some hours on a boat, slowly passing all the beautiful canals while enjoying a beer/rose? We certainly can’t think of anything. If you aren’t lucky enough to have (friends with) a boat, there are plenty of rental options. Schippers included.
It’s time for the beach!
Ok, fair enough, it’s not Amsterdam, and we don’t have turquoise waters, no white sand, no palm trees….BUT there are many great beach bars to enjoy food and drinks. If you get too hot, you can have a dive in the North Sea, which is clean and has no white sharks (awesome). Take the train from Amsterdam central station to Zandvoort. Or relax in Bloemendaal aan Zee for the most popular places.