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  • David VanAssche

Estimating the Cost of Moving to The Netherlands with the DAFT Visa

Moving to The Netherlands under the Dutch-American Friendship Treaty (DAFT) is a dream for many US citizens seeking a fresh start in Europe. However, understanding the financial requirements is crucial. Based on a vibrant discussion among many (myself included) who've made the move, this article offers a realistic view of the upfront costs involved.

Initial Investments and Legal Fees

  • DAFT Investment: Mandatory €4,500 deposit into a Dutch business account. This may not be utilized in the business. Actual expenses of setting up your business are in addition to this cash deposit.

  • Legal Fees: Approximately €5,000 to €7,000 for legal assistance in navigating the DAFT visa process.

Travel and Shipping Costs

  • Airfare: One-way tickets from the US range from €500 to €1,500 per person.

  • Shipping Personal Goods: Can vary widely. Some spend as little as €2,000, while others, shipping more items including furniture, vehicles (huge tax break/benefit to importing cars as part of immigration) report costs up to €20,000.

  • Pet Relocation: Costs for moving pets can be significant, with some spending up to €8,000 for specialized pet relocation services.

Housing in The Netherlands

  • Rental Deposits and Advance Rent + Real Estate Agent Assistance: Often requires a two-month deposit plus the first month's rent upfront. For a 2 bedroom €1,500/month rental, this could be around €4,500. When negotiating - cash is king - and sometimes offering 6 months of rent in advance may be what it takes to get the landlord to choose you over other applicants. On a €2,000/mo budget - this could be €16,000 upfront. Real Estate Agent Fees Vary, but as an expat who needs all the assistance they can get, expect to pay the equivalent of 1-2 months of rent for the best service.

  • Furnished vs. Unfurnished: Furnished apartments can reduce initial costs but might have higher monthly rents.

Living and Settling In

  • Immediate Needs: Initial expenses for groceries, transportation, and other necessities can easily range from €200 to €500 per person in the first few weeks.

  • Furniture and Household Items: Depending on the choice of furnished or unfurnished housing, this can add several thousand euros to the initial costs. Whether you choose to order a house full of Ikea furniture or prefer to go shopping at another store and have furniture delivered - you can easily range from €5,000 - €15,000 for a 3 3-bedroom home to be fully furnished. Tastes and preferences can easily exceed these figures - or be below if you are willing to shop Facebook Marketplace for used stuff that you can collect over time.

Miscellaneous Costs

  • Health Insurance: Approximately €100 per month per person for basic coverage.

  • Schooling and Childcare: If applicable, can add to the monthly expenses.

Total Estimated Cost

Based on other DAFT visa experiences, the cost of moving to The Netherlands under the DAFT visa can range significantly:

  • Lower End: For those opting for minimal shipping and unfurnished rentals, initial costs can be around €15,000 to €20,000.

  • Higher End: Including comprehensive professional services around shipping, legal fees, home rental search and negotiation, setting up an unfurnished home etc. costs can escalate to €30,000 to €50,000 or more.

Factors Affecting the Cost

  • Lifestyle Choices: Furnished vs. unfurnished housing, amount of personal goods shipped, and choice of neighborhood significantly impact the total cost. Anything in the "Randstad" (Area from Amsterdam to Rotterdam) is going to be premium housing costs. Most expats live in this region or in/near the city of Eindhoven in the east of the country which is dominated by ASML Semi Conductors and it's partners and suppliers.

  • Income Sources: Having a steady income stream or savings can mitigate the financial pressure of the initial months. Keep in mind - using the DAFT visa you're starting a business in The Netherlands. Your business might be working remotely for clients in the USA - which is fine if you currently have a business where you'd simply be invoicing your clients from a now Dutch business instead of your previous American one. If you are opting to "Truly" start a Dutch business where income is sourced locally from local clients - be sure to have a LOT of cash for your runup and living costs.


The journey to The Netherlands under the DAFT visa can be both exciting and challenging. Costs vary widely based on individual circumstances and choices. It's advisable to plan for the higher end of the estimated costs to ensure a comfortable transition without financial strain.

For a large number of Americans utilizing the DAFT visa - it may be easiest to transition your current USA company into a Dutch company, and begin invoicing the same clients as before, but from The Netherlands.

To talk about and understand where you, your family and your circumstances stand in utilizing the DAFT to move to The Netherlands - set up a meeting with us to discuss a game plan to make it happen. Our team understands the nuances of American culture and what you'll be facing when making the move. We're here to assist you every step of the way.

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