If you are in the Netherlands for longer than 6 months, it is strongly recommended to get a Dutch bank account. 

If you are a member of an EU/EEA country using the SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area) system, it is still advised to open a Dutch bank account. SEPA means that all banks in Europe use a uniform manner of accessibility. This means that there is no difference in using your account domestically or for other cross border payments in Europe. 

This means that an International Bank Account Number (IBAN) must be used for Euro accounts throughout Europe. 

International Bank Account Number

International Bank Account Number or IBAN has replaced the 9-digit account number since February 2014. IBAN in the Netherlands consists of the following details: 

  • The country code NL 
  • 2-digit control number 
  • 4 letters to identify the bank 
  • 10 digits, of the current bank account number supplemented with zeros 
  • Example of Dutch IBAN (NL12 INGB 123 456 78 00)

Opening an Account

To open a checking account you will need the following:

  • A valid passport 
  • A valid address in the Netherlands (for example in the form of a rental agreement)
  • A BSN (Social Security number obtained after registering with a local municipality)
    • It should be noted that banks have been exempted from the obligation to ask for a BSN by the Ministry of Finance for international students. If you do not have a BSN yet the bank will ask for your confirmation of enrolment from your institution.
    • It has been noted that sometimes banks are unaware of this exemption. Certain universities have agreements with banks so you can check with your university for further details. 

August and September tends to be a busy time at the bank, therefore some banks will only help those with appointments. 

Please Note: if you bring more than or equivalent of €10,000 in cash you need to declare this at customs. When you open your bank account you will be asked to present a copy of your declaration form. You may be fined if you do not make a declaration. For further details you can check the Dutch Customs Administration website. 

Good to know

It should be noted that unlike some countries, you will not get interest from the bank. Moreover, there is a difference between the primary and saving account. The rules might differ per bank so you can check with them what the specifications are. Banks also have separate rates for student accounts you can check with them regarding this. 

Popular banks in the Netherlands are:

You can check with your university to see if they have an arrangement with a particular bank 

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