The Netherlands is one of the European countries that has benefited greatly from the opening of internal frontiers. The European Union has a lot of benefits for its state members: among these, the increment of trade of goods and services as well as free internal EU mobility of its citizens, between the 28 countries.
Yes, the Netherlands is in the European Union (EU) and it has been an active member from the very start. In 1952, alongside the other 5 state members, the Netherlands signed the first economic treaty that later on would usher into the EU. Dutch is also one of the 24 official languages.
The Netherlands is one of the founders of this international alliance and it has been one of the pillars ever since. If you want to know more about the advantages and disadvantages, as well as why is the Netherlands still part of the European Union and why it all started, keep reading this article.
The Netherlands Is a Founding Member Of The EU
The European Union is a political and economic union constituted by 28 member states, including the Netherlands. These countries joined forces on the 1st of January 1958, starting as a European Economic Community (better known as EC). This union began with the Treaty of Rome signed by the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg and what was back then West Germany. This makes the Netherlands one of the founding members of the EU.
Since 1958 there have been many other treaties that would shape the actual EU as it is known today. Along the years, several other countries have joined this alliance, Croatia being the last one to join in 2013. The 28 state members are up to 2019 are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden and the United Kingdom (UK).
The Netherlands in the EU
Every year the Dutch Government publishes a report where every single aspect of the relationship between the European Union and the Netherlands is studied in order to evaluate its benefits and inform Dutch citizens of its progress and development. This means that Dutch citizens, as well as any other EU citizen, are allowed to vote on referendums and make proposals that the MPs representing the Netherlands in the European Parliament will bring up during their daily meetings. At the moment the Netherlands is represented by 26 seats and this is very important to give each country a voice.
Besides having a lot of common legislations, the Netherland is also free to decide its own:
- Health System: that in this case, it’s private. Any person living and working in the Netherlands has to have personal Dutch health insurance, no matter where they come from.
- Education: the Dutch educational system is very particular, preparing the kids from an early age to follow their future career path. These differences also apply to the higher educational system: the Netherlands has three different types of universities.
- Internal market: setting its own prices and legislation.
- Environmental policies
- Research (and the development of the Dutch research universities, like the UvA)
- Transport ( for instance, the NS train system and use of OV chipkaarts)
When and Why Did The EU Started?
After the Second World War, most European countries had the need to seek for peace and stability and it was proposed that through an economic dependence among the countries the chances of another war would decrease. According to the history of the EU, the concept was born in 1946 and it has been shaped ever since after every treaty.
In other words, this alliance started as an economic agreement to avoid conflict, and it has been adding other aspects to it. Even though every single country has its own legislation, the EU has its own Charter of Fundamental Rights (created in 2004). This represents the EU Constitutional Treaty.
Moreover, 19 of the 28 countries share the same currency, the euro, facilitating the trading system and the sharing economy: among them, the Netherlands. The Netherlands has been in the Euro-area since 1999, leaving his old currency behind (the guilder).
Besides, the European Union functions by a three-pointed governing system that includes a council, a parliament, and a commission:
- The European Parliament is the principal democratic component of the EU system, composed of members directly elected by European citizens. All of the 28-EU countries are represented on all thee institutions, each country votes for different parties and according to the number of citizens, these get seats in the Parliament and so on. In the case of the Netherlands, the majority is represented by D66, the centre democratic party.
- The Council of Ministers represents the governments of EU countries in the EU system and works close by the Parliament.
- The European Commission represents the executive power of the EU and is in charge or proposing more EU laws for the Council and the Parliament to consider and managing the daily issues.
EU Citizens: Advantages
Being an EU citizen and living in the Netherlands has a lot of advantages. From reductions of fees to equal treatment in most aspects: if you are a national from any of the 27 other European countries you will live with the same rights as a Dutch citizen while being in the Netherlands.
- Residence permit: if you are from the EU and you are planning on moving to the Netherlands, you won’t need any residence permit. You are allowed to live in the Netherlands for as long as you want, as you would do in your own country.
- Working permit: same! if you are from the EU you don’t need it.
- Travel permit: in fact, you don’t even need a passport! There is a free entrance policy to all the European Union countries and its citizen, with a valid ID you are allowed to move around wherever you want. The only exception is the UK and they will need to travel to the Netherlands with a passport.
- Tuition fees: if you are planning on studying in the Netherlands, there are several things you need to know. Dutch universities have two types of fees, the statutory fee and the institutional fee. If you are a national of any EU country you will be allowed to pay the statutory fee, which means just between 20% and 40% of the fee. The Dutch Government covers the rest for any EU citizen. If you want to know more, read here.
- Diploma: as a student of the EU your diploma will be valid in any of the 28 countries, including the Netherlands.
- Eurozone: if you belong to a country that also has the euro as a currency, there are a lot of economic advantages such as not losing money on the exchange transactions, having a stable economy, being able to pay without being asked to pay commissions in most places, etc.
- Travel to the Caribbean: the Netherland still holds certain territories in the Caribbean. Those territories are separate nations that belong to the Kingdom of the Netherlands are Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten. This means that with any European passport or ID you are allowed to travel there without any sort of permit.
- Taxes: if you were leaving in any of the EU-28 before, all your information and who you are will automatically exist in the Netherlands. These countries being connected means that all your taxes information, salary, social security data, the information of your personal business or company will automatically be valid in the Netherlands. This also means that your pension or retirement money will also be given to you in the Netherlands, independently of where in the EU-28 you have made your contribution.
- Multilingualism: the Netherlands itself is bilingual, anywhere you go you can speak English. In any case, thanks to the language policies of the EU you are legally allowed to use any of the 24 EU languages for any legal matter.
- Leave and minimum payment: like the rest of the EU countries, the Netherlands has an implemented system of minimum paid annual leave and time off work that you are allowed to by law.
- ERASMUS exchange: most EU citizens have the chance to study abroad and their destination can also be the Netherlands. This country counts with some of the best-rated universities in worldwide rankings, including the UvA. This means that if you are currently studying in any other European university you are allowed to ask for an exchange or even do an internship in the Netherlands
- Mobile phone networks: since roaming charges in the EU were abolished, the EU citizens can use their mobile phone allowance to make calls and send texts, and use data, in any EU country. It now costs the same to use your phone abroad, so you can use it here in the Netherlands without having to change your number. This also applies to data, and you will be allowed up to 4GB per months.
The Netherlands being part of the European Union bring a lot of benefits for both Dutch and members of the other 27-EU members. Since 1958, the Netherlands has been creating an alliance with several countries, allowing their citizens to travel freely through all the countries, free mobile connection and freedom to move and live wherever they want.