I'm a US citizen, working currently for a US company, but am considering a position for a company in Amsterdam. In absolute terms, the Amsterdam job would pay roughly 13% less than I am currently earning in the United States. But how does this compare after taxes, health insurance, etc?

At my current employer, my take-home pay, after tax withholding, etc, is roughly 73% of my base salary. My employer also pays 100% of my health insurance costs, which is a big bonus.

So how can I quickly estimate my take-home pay based on a base salary in the Netherlands to make a roughly apples-to-apples comparison?

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    @GregHewgill: I disagree. That question is asking about salaries in the US, coming from the EU (specifically, from Paris). That's different (and opposite) from what I'm asking. A duplicate question would be about going from the US to the EU, but that question would be far too broad. – Flimzy Jul 17 '15 at 0:17
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    @strongbad: I'm coming from Wichita, KS, going to Amsterdam. But I'm more interested in general rules. I can look up the per-city cost of living easily enough, but that doesn't generally take into account differences in taxes, insurance and other obligatory expenses. – Flimzy Jul 17 '15 at 1:31
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    Another thing to consider when making comparisons: You will probably look up rent, utilities, groceries, etc. but having a car is likely to be much more expensive in the Netherlands, think about that if you expect to have one. – Gala Jul 17 '15 at 5:26
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    @Gala the relative desirability of owning a car is rather different between Wichita and Amsterdam. I have never been to Wichita, but I expect it's like most of the other parts of the Midwest I'm familiar with where life without a car would be rather difficult, at best. In many parts of Amsterdam the inconvenience of owning a car would be so great as to outweigh the relatively small benefit even if someone else were covering the costs. Or, to put it another way, being liberated from car ownership was one of the best things about moving to Amsterdam. – phoog Apr 4 '16 at 21:54
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    @phoog Yes, of course, and personally I made the same choice. But I also know people who just expect to own a car, without thinking too much about it. If that's your case, you're in for a big surprise. And then if you don't have a car, you also need to budget for other means of transportation. So you better look into this into more detail before making comparisons. – Gala Apr 10 '16 at 22:47

Here is one simulator you can use for that. You can find others by looking for things like “nettoloon” or ”bruto netto” together with “Nederland” (name of the country in Dutch, to get rid of results about Belgium).

You haven't said anything about the type of work or the level of salary but my guess would be that you can expect the take-home pay to be slightly lower than in the US, on the order of 60-65% of your base salary.

In the Netherlands, what's withheld (called loonheffing in Dutch) includes both taxes (loonbelasting) and some tax-like contributions that provide most of the funding of the health insurance and basic pension system (bijdrage Zorgverzekeringswet and premie volksverzekeringen). On top of that, you will have to pay roughly €100 every month to an health insurer (I believe it is illegal for an employer to pay these €100 or to cover the legally mandated deductible, what employers can offer instead is to pay for optional insurance above the basic health insurance, e.g. to cover alternative medicines, treatment abroad, etc.)

Again assuming we are talking about a well-paid job as a professional, you would also probably qualify for the 30%-ruling (your employer has to apply for that on your behalf). If successful, you would pay taxes on 70% of your salary, the rest would be paid to you entirely (i.e. tax-free). You would also be exempt of taxes on property abroad but you would not accrue any pension rights on the tax-free part of your salary.

Finally, beyond all the usual costs (rent, utilities, groceries…), you can also expect a few other mandatory expenses: municipal taxes (in Amsterdam, that's about €400 per year for a single-person household and €470 for a family for waste and sewage but there also additional taxes if you have a dog, own a house, etc.) and water board taxes (that's the institution in charge of dikes and flood protection, perhaps €200-400 per year).

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    Don't forget additional benefits. For example, in The Netherlands it is very common for employers to pay for commuting costs, to pay a significant amount of extra money at vacation, and even to pay 13 months salary per year. – gerrit Jul 17 '15 at 9:41
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    @gerrit It's more meaningful to think about salary on a yearly basis so that a 13th or 14th month does not make any difference. I assumed that's what Flimzy did too. The only problem is that the site I mentioned makes a calculation based on the monthly salary so it might underestimate taxes a little. – Gala Jul 17 '15 at 10:44
  • Not paying for your commute is nice but that's a compensation for your costs so that's a wash, financially. And you can also choose not to have a commute for better quality of life so that's one of the things everyone has to decide based on their personal preferences/situation, not so much a characteristic of the tax system as such. – Gala Jul 17 '15 at 10:49
  • That choice is not available to everybody, as more than one person in the same household may need to commute. I don't agree that it's a wash, it can run into thousands of euros per year. – gerrit Jul 17 '15 at 11:05
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    @CadentOrange: €100 is minimum you have to pay just for health insurance (as in, does not include dental), but it's only per adult. Children under 18 are exempt. The minimum deductible now is few hundred euros, so in fact unless you're hospitalized for something serious, your healthcare spendings will go mostly out of your pocket. – vartec Apr 4 '16 at 22:24

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