Do you need to speak Dutch to work in Amsterdam?

Interested in AM/HF/S&T roles. Heard that many Dutch offices still prefer hiring native Dutch speakers for IB. This also true for market-facing roles?

Comments (37)

Oct 12, 2020 - 2:28pm

You can still make decent money in the Netherlands. It's not like France/Italy/Spain w taxes. Good $ can generally be made in Switzerland/Luxembourg/Netherlands/Germany/England/Ireland

Aug 14, 2020 - 4:09pm

European countries generally prefer native speakers, or at least fluent. But I have also met a lot of English speaking immigrants over the years who didn't speak the language. There is always your friendly US American or Canadian dude at the local office who doesn't speak German or Dutch or whatever. But you know what? Most people really like North American folks because they usually have an interesting, different view on things.

You could also start learning the language before you apply for the jobs and get better over time. It shows true interest for the culture and a willingness to change and learn.

  • 1
  • Intern in IB-M&A
Aug 14, 2020 - 4:11pm

For market-facing roles there's usually no Dutch required. Even in client-facing roles in banking it's okay if you're an international. It may differ per firm, but overall English is sufficient.

Sep 11, 2020 - 12:47pm

From what I've seen/experienced, that's not really the case. Try applying for any client facing tole (i.e. at Van Lanschot Kempen) and you'll immediately get rejected if you don't speak Dutch. While it's true that some firms (i.e. ACT Commodities) don't have such a hard requirement for knowing Dutch, 90% do.

Just look at the people that currently work in those positions and you'll see that 95% of them are native/advanced Dutch speakers.

On the other hand, the more BO type of roles are filled in by internationals. So yes, there you don't need to speak Dutch.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Oct 12, 2020 - 8:31am

Try applying for any client facing tole (i.e. at Van Lanschot Kempen) and you'll immediately get rejected if you don't speak Dutch. 

Absolutely not true, know for a fact people working in IB at Kempen not speaking Dutch. True tho that local branches of many banks (Lazard, Barclays, BNP, Jefferies) require fluency in Dutch for Amsterdam based roles.

Most Helpful
Sep 11, 2020 - 3:30am

Don't mind. Just make sure you have realistic expectations. Look out for the following words when looking at places. "Luxe" is used to describe having a bit more space than others but not necessarily the better quality one would expect if called luxury. "Moderne" aka modern is a level below. "Riante" is a level below that and might be rather old. I'm assuming you're renting. If you want fast internet then a complete package from Ziggo or Kpn will be around 70€/month. Also please note for food shopping that Albert Heijn is sometimes more expensive than Hoogvliet although the quality is pretty much identical. Make sure you get a Gal & Gal pass (alcohol shop usually next to supermarkets) so you can get discounts. If you're looking to buy keep in mind that "K.K." aka "kosten koper" means you as the buyer have to pay the sales tax or whatever you'd call it where you're from. Also you can call (Very important google it) this telephone line called "koopzom". This let's you find out how much the owner paid for the house/apartment and then if they pulled the typical Dutch house flipper (greyish walls all white modern interior design) you can make the call yourself whether it's still worth it. Hope this helps!

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Dec 19, 2020 - 10:31am

Are you sure on this as someone told me ING does not recruit non-dutch speakers? Also in the job requirement they strictly ask for working knowledge of Dutch

Dec 19, 2020 - 11:01am

I interviewed with ING as a non-Dutch speaker. Not sure if this is a general rule or whether some roles are different, but there are a lot of expats in their business (ie Germans, Swiss, Brits, French, ..)



Oct 12, 2020 - 4:42pm

Generally speaking, for these front office positions, the more junior you recruit, the more they require you speak Dutch. Even as an analyst or intern, you can find positions without Dutch at banks (esp. ING/ABN) or Asset Management (NN/Robecco). Hedge funds really depend on the PM wishes, but there aren't that many in NL anyway.

I live in Western Europe and don't speak any of the local languages, but have been headhunted from several countries with just English. From my experience so far, I would say the Dutch/Belgians and Nordics are most relaxed about you not speaking their language fluently. 

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Dec 19, 2020 - 7:06am

Can you share the Belgian and Nordics firms' names as you did for Dutch banks/AM where knowing the local language is not a strict requirement? Thanks!

Dec 21, 2020 - 12:54pm

I'm by no means a recruitment consultant, and so my info comes either for jobs that came my way or friends and MBA colleagues. The best way to do it would be to talk to someone working for those banks/AM firms and find out how strict are any language requirements. Also, I don't have great visibility over requirements for jobs straight after undergrad, so some of these may only apply to people with a few years of experience. But here are some examples I've come across where I interviewed or people I knew there didn't speak the local language: KBC and Candriam in Brussels, EQT in Stockholm, Nordea (the bank and the asset management unit) across the Nordics.  

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Oct 12, 2020 - 5:26pm

Question for the Dutch: resume, with or without picture?

The rule in the UK is always no, however in the neighboring country (Germany) often yes.

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Oct 15, 2020 - 4:59pm


Question for the Dutch: resume, with or without picture?

The rule in the UK is always no, however in the neighboring country (Germany) often yes.


Dec 15, 2020 - 10:30am

Do they really have resumes with pictures in Germany? I find that hard to believe for a country that prides itself on diversity and thus wouldn't want biased discrimination.

Quant (ˈkwänt) n: An expert, someone who knows more and more about less and less until they know everything about nothing.

Dec 15, 2020 - 10:45am

It depends on the job or the industry. When my cousin applied for a job as a resident doctor, she was asked to supply a picture in the corner of her CV.  It is "common" and "expected" in certain, conservative industries like medicine or smaller law practices. Mostly smaller firms would do this. There are only very few visible minorities in some EU countries, I can imagine that some would not feel comfortable putting a picture on the application.

Requiring a picture from an applicant is not a legal requirement in Germany.

When you apply for most larger corporations like banks, tech firms, automotive, (etc), there is the standard online form and that's it.


  • 1
Dec 19, 2020 - 11:18am

For people looking at jobs in general within NL: Tesla is also based there, they have a big office and hired many professionals with no Dutch language skills. If corporate finance at Tesla is something you can live with, they regularly advertise jobs there.

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