Laurens Meijer
Advisor Mobility Info Point
l.meijer [at] dutchculture.nl

Working in the Netherlands

Working in the Netherlands

This page provides information about working in the Netherlands as an artist and the work- and/or residence permits you might need.

Whether you need a work- and/or residence permit as an artist in the Netherlands depends on: your nationality, the type and the duration of the work you are planning to do. The purpose of this text is to provide information to both individual makers and cultural organisations in the Netherlands that would like to include a non-EU national in a project. For settling in the Netherlands as a self-employed artist, please scroll down to the second half of this text.


If you are citizen from one of the EU/EEA countries or Switzerland you can benefit from the right to freedom of movement of persons within the EU/EEA or Switzerland and settle as an economically active (employed or self-employed) or economically inactive citizen (on the basis of savings) in the Netherlands. You will be treated similar to a Dutch citizen and have full access to the labor market. 

If you are a citizen from a country outside the EU/EEA + Switzerland you might need a visa, a work- and/or residence permit to work in the Netherlands. Please refer to this list of nationalities to find out if you do or do not need a Schengen visa to enter the Netherlands. If you do need a visa please check this page on our website for more information on how to apply. Non-EU citizens (both those that have a visa and those that don't need one) are allowed to stay in the Schengen area for 90 days within any 180 days. 

The type and duration of work

If you are a non-EU citizen visiting the Netherlands you are allowed to take up: 

  • short-term work up to 6 weeks: as an artist or musician, a structural companion of an artist or musician, as a visual artist, curator or restorer for a maximum of 6 consecutive weeks within a period of 13 weeks*;  

  • short-term work up to 3 months: as an artist, musician, choreographer, artistic manager or director in these disciplines: dance, classical music, opera or (musical) theatre. The inviting organisation needs to apply for a permission to work / work permit (or tewerkstellingsvergunning (twv)) from the UWV. Minimum salary requirements apply. Please check this page on the website of the UWV to check if you meet all the requirements.**   

If you are a non-EU citizen invited to participate in a project exceeding your permitted 90 days you will need a permission to work and a residence permit to take up:  

  • long-term work: as an artist, musician, choreographer, artistic manager or director working in these disciplines: dance, classical music, opera, (musical) theatre or as a curator or restorer working for an organisation that is a member of the Museumvereniging. The inviting organisation can apply for a permission to work / work permit (or tewerkstellingsvergunning (twv)) and a residence permit in one go by applying for a Single Permit (or Gecombineerde Vergunning voor Verblijf en Arbeid (GVVA)). Minimum salary requirements apply. Please check this page on the website of the IND to check if you meet all the requirements.**  

  • Please note: if you are a non-EU citizen not already in the possession of a residence permit for the Netherlands, the inviting organisation will have to apply for a long-stay entry visa (Machtiging tot Voorlopig Verblijf (MVV)) and a permission to work- and residence permit at the same time. Check if you need an MVV here. You will be asked to collect the MVV at a Dutch embassy or consulate in your country of origin. This means that you cannot apply for this residence permit from inside the Netherlands. 

* Please refer to artikel 1 lid 1 aanhef onder a no. 7 en lid 2 van Besluit uitvoering Wet arbeid vreemdelingen (in Dutch).  

** Please refer to §34 and §34a Bijlage I Regeling uitvoering Wet arbeid vreemdelingen (in Dutch). 

Continuing your stay as a self-employed artist

If you are a non-EU citizen already in the possession of a residence permit in the Netherlands for example for the purpose of study, looking for work after your studies or cultural exchange you can switch to a residence permit for the purpose of self-employment based on the cultural interest your presence in the Netherlands serves***.  

Who can apply for this residence permit?

The application for a residence permit for the purpose of self-employment based on cultural interest is open to for example: visual artists, designers, musicians and performers. The residence permit allows you to work in self-employment only, which means that you will have to work on the basis of sending invoices. If your first application is approved you will receive a residence permit with a validity of 2 years. 

The key part of a first application is to prove that your presence is 'in the cultural interest of the Netherlands’. This can be done by including an invitation letter from a publicly funded cultural organisation that wants to include you in their upcoming programme or by showing that you received a grant from one of the public funds yourself.  

Publicly funded upcoming art project

It is important to understand that the project is planned in the future (you actually need the residence permit to allow you to be present in the Netherlands to do the work). The funding should come from: 

  • the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science; or,  

  • one of the national public art funds: Performing Arts Fund, Dutch Film Fund, Dutch Foundation for Literature and the Mondriaan Fund; or, 

  • one of the four main cities directly (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Den Haag or Utrecht) or one of their art funds: for example Amsterdam Fonds voor de Kunsten (AFK) and Stroom Den Haag.  

Additional requirements

In addition to an upcoming project, you need to have an active business registered at the Chamber of Commerce (Kamer van Koophandel), an updated CV and a bookkeeper to draft a projection of your estimated income for the coming two years (the validity of the residence permit you are applying for) stating that you will meet the income requirement for self-employed entrepreneurs (currently (2021) €1274,-) on average per month.  

The application fee for a first application is currently (2021) €1412. Please note that other requirements apply when you already have this residence permit and wish to renew it. 

***For relevant legislation please refer to art. 3.30 Vreemdelingenbesluit and Vreemdelingencirculaire B6/ §4.5 (in Dutch). 

Additional research and information is gathered and edited by Laurens Meijer at DutchCulture’s Mobility Info Point. If you have any questions please feel free to reach out to us via infopoint@dutchculture.nl. 

Please be aware that although the information provided is gathered with utmost care this article cannot serve as a legal basis for any type of action and no rights can be derived from it.