The Netherlands – Europe’s powerhouse for software development?
December 22, 2020
Europe is a powerhouse for software developers – and the Netherlands with its tech hubs is one of them, thanks to the competitive Dutch salaries, the attractive work-life balance, and the advanced digital economy. With over 320,900 registered software developers, according to the State of European Tech 2019 study, the density of tech talents is disproportionally high relative to the number of inhabitants compared to other European countries. The largest tech communities are in Amsterdam, Utrecht, and Rotterdam.
The Netherlands is not only known for its canals, hundreds of cyclists, numerous windmills, and the home (not the real one, but at least in Europe) of tulips, but also for its vital tech scene. The Netherlands' tech sector is booming. The top Dutch tech startups list is an eclectic mix of hyper-growth scale-ups, small creative start-ups, and everything in between. Based on the data, the Netherlands ranks 4th out of 28 EU Member States in the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) 2020. Therefore, it remains one of the top performers across Europe, with stable and steady “digital growth”.
The Netherlands is the home of companies like WeTransfer (sending files around the world), Sketch (design tool for digital experiences), Framer (design tool for hi-fi prototyping), and other well-known brands.
Working as a developer in the Netherlands
In the Netherlands, 0.4 % of employees work very long hours, the lowest rate in the OECD, where the average is 11 %. Full-time workers devote around 16.1 hours more of their day on average to personal care (eating, sleeping, etc.) and leisure (socializing with friends and family, hobbies, games, computer and television use, etc.) than the OECD average of 15 hours – ranking on the third place after Italy and France.
In the Netherlands, vacation policies are generally good. A full-time worker is entitled to 20 days paid vacation (tech companies can offer up to 25+), plus an additional nine days of paid public holidays. On a world scale, these vacation policies are quite generous.
Paid vacation and public holidays
Parental leave policies offered in the Netherlands are similar to its European neighbors. Mothers are entitled to up to 16-weeks of paid maternity leave, while fathers can request up to five weeks off under specific insurance policies. Northern European countries are the most progressive when it comes to parental leave. In Sweden, for example, parents are entitled to 480 days paid leave at 80 percent of their salaries.
Developer salaries in the Netherlands
Developer salaries in the Netherlands start around 36,000 Euro, increasing to approximately 51,000 Euro for mid-level developers. Senior developer salaries typically range from 50,000 to 80,000 Euro, rising to upwards of 80,000+ Euro for skilled individuals and managers leading teams.
Note: To understand the “average” Dutch developer, we extracted the raw data from Stack Overflow’s Developer Survey 2020 and extracted the Dutch respondents’ data. While the cumulative sample represents less than 0.01 % of total Dutch developers, it is the most complete dataset currently available and reveals fascinating insights into their experience and preferences.
Moreover, the data provides us with an understanding of developers’ professional coding experience in the Netherlands, showing that relative age distribution is getting younger again due to the Netherlands’ educational efforts compared to 2019.
The 30 % tax ruling in the Netherlands
The 30 % reimbursement ruling (also known as the 30 % facility) is a tax advantage for highly skilled migrants moving to the Netherlands for a specific employment role. You may experience a higher cost of living than you are used to, for instance, because living expenses are higher than in your country. If so, your employer may compensate you for these so-called “extraterritorial costs” untaxed. They may also choose to pay you 30 percent of your salary, extraterritorial costs included, tax-free. Usually, the employer is responsible for the 30 % ruling on behalf of the employee. Read more details about the 30 % facility for incoming employees.
As a tech employer, it makes perfect sense to take a look over the Dutch borders. Europe has a talent pool of 6.1 million professional developers, representing an increase of 400,000 compared to 2018.
The happiness of developers in the Netherlands
Overall, developers in the Netherlands tend to be satisfied with their jobs, with over 69 % reporting that they are either slightly or very satisfied with their job. Dutch tech companies seem to be perceived as attractive employers for software developers above the global average. On the other end of the spectrum, around 21 % are slightly dissatisfied to very dissatisfied.
Even though most software developers are happy with their jobs, almost 62 % of software developers would not deny a new, more attractive job opportunity or are already actively looking for a new job.
We always recommend that companies take happiness seriously; it's not just an ethical imperative; it's an economic one. Companies that are racking their brains for ways to increase developer happiness benefit, on the one hand, from truly connected employees, and on the other hand, from being more attractive to potential candidates.