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I'm an 18-year old French citizen looking forward to working and living in Amsterdam.

Given that I don't have any work experience nor degrees and a very limited amount of money (I'll barely have enough for a month of rent), how would someone go about finding work in these conditions ?

By "work" I mean anything that's legal, doesn't require experience and pays enough to at least rent a room, so that I can start looking for better alternatives, hopefully something in the IT field.


Background: right now I live (or should I say survive) in an awful french town (there is absolutely no work, not to mention transportation issues given that I don't own a car and there is no metro/subway) and the worst thing is that I don't have the "bac" (some sort of "degree" you get if you pass an exam at the end of high school and it's required for almost any job), which means it's basically game over for me in France.

  • Try booking.com call center workingatbooking.com/vacancies/… – Eugen Martynov Sep 22 '14 at 8:35
  • Do you have any noteworthy hobbies? Computers, music, sports, plastic arts, etc.? If you list some, people might be able to make more specific suggestions. Also, you did not explain your motivation in moving to Amsterdam (as opposed to, say, a French city which is unlike your awful town); that might have bearing on what kind of work you should look for. – einpoklum - reinstate Monica Jun 18 '16 at 10:35
  • Also: Is it possible for you to get the 'bac' before, or even after the move? This might well be worth it, since it would make it a lot easier to get into university (which is a good path for "finding work" in the long term). – einpoklum - reinstate Monica Jun 18 '16 at 10:38
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You didn't state where in the Netherlands you will be living. If you have no proof of education your biggest asset is that you speak French and you are also fluent in English (I assume you did write the OP yourself). Not many people in the Netherlands speak French, yet there is quite some trade going on between the Netherlands and France (and other French speaking countries), so there is always some demand for french speaking staff. Knowing this there are quite some options. You will need to be creative though. You first would need to register with as many interim offices as possible, indicating you want to work. Every town has a bunch of these interim offices, of which some examples are Randstad or Adecco. The dutch word for interim office is "uitzendbureau".

Next to the so called uitzendbureau's you could aim to get a job in retail (Supermarket, Ikea) in a region where many French life (Amsterdam, the Hague). Many Dutch in your age range start their career as a "vakkenvuller". In this job you will be responsible for filling the supermarkets with the different goods. A job as a vakkenvuller provides you with a good way to get a accustomed with Dutch culture.

There is also Maison descartes in Amsterdam where you might meet fellow countrymen that could advise you.

In the end it boils down to creativity. The options are abundant, you simply need to find them

  • I'll be living in Amsterdam. Do you know how much time is needed to get a job through these interim offices ? I'd like to get one in a matter of days so that I secure a way of paying rent for the next month. – user2468 Sep 21 '14 at 17:48
  • @AndréDaniel It can be relatively fast to get a job, however you'll need a bankaccount and a social security number first. Usually it takes about 2-3 months to get your first income. At age 18 with limited education you'll be looking at earnings around 6-7 Euro per hour. Being French, Paris might be a cheaper option. You could do a bac for adults (lyceedadultes.fr) , while part of your rent might be paid by the caf (caf.fr/ma-caf/caf-de-paris/actualites). As a Dutch man I have found it easier to get started in Paris then in Amsterdam. – Andra Sep 21 '14 at 18:57
  • Have a look at undutchables.nl as well. They recruit people who have a non-Dutch language / culture for jobs in the Netherlands. – Lode Jan 5 '16 at 7:31
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Quite honestly I don't think you're going to find a job in IT as quickly as you think.

Don't get me wrong, I too moved to Holland with only a couple of month's rent money; but to look for an IT job will take some time, especially given your lack of qualifications (same for me).

I'm English so for me the quickest jobs I could find were bar jobs and a pub crawl job (fun!). Rent is pretty expensive in Amsterdam (~ €500+/m), so I'd suggest finding any job you can, initially.

From there you can register with some agencies like others mentioned in their answers. There are a few big companies right in the city centre (A'dam is tiny anyway) - the ones I can think of off the top of my head are Booking.com in Leidseplein, and TomTom in Rembrandtplein.

There is also a thriving business district in the South / South-East, which you can get to very easily on the Metro (although it's sometimes cram-packed in the mornings).

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You would basically look for a job as you would in France, send your resume, check job offers on websites or go through a temping agency (uitzenbureau in Dutch, travail temporaire or interim in French), etc.

A few resources that might be especially useful for you as a French-speaking expat are:

  • leforum.nl, a website for French speakers in the Netherlands. It does include a forum with job postings but last I checked it wasn't very active.
  • Undutchables, a recruitment agency focusing on multi-lingual personnel. They mostly have postings for people with specific qualification and more experience than you have, though.

One thing that could be worth trying are call center jobs. There are some call centers covering the Benelux or even France from the Netherlands which might hire French speakers with no other experience.

That said, do realize you face an uphill battle. In spite of widespread perception and commentary, so far the Netherlands has actually done worse than France in the current crisis. I have many friends who speak Dutch and some other languages, have university educations and still struggle to find jobs. Speaking French could be a small advantage but mostly if you also speak Dutch and have relevant work experience, otherwise your options are extremely limited. There are many qualified young people on the market, and more than a few who speak two or three languages.

Furthermore, the Netherlands is really bureaucracy central. The bureaucracy is efficient and generally pleasant to deal with, but still. When I first came here, I needed a BSN (citizen's number, then called a sofi number) and a registered address for everything, which means paying several thousands euros for rent and deposit before getting anything from my employer (and I had a job lined up and assistance from said employer in finding accommodation). Also note than rents are high in the Randstad. Good jobs have salaries to match it but it's definitely more expensive than in most parts of France. France has a bad reputation but I think it's actually easier to get set up quickly than in the Netherlands (at least as an EU citizen).

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