Internships in the Netherlands

Internship is a system of on-the-job training and generally also referred as ‘apprenticeship’. Internships are mainly done by students who have an opportunity to integrate a career related experience, while also gaining practical exposure in the professional world.
In Netherlands, internships are not restricted to white-collar jobs, they are also offered in many fields, such as agriculture, construction, tourism, health care, etc…

Reasons for an internship

Students in any stream – whether high school or middle level, university or post graduate – can choose to follow an internship depending on time and availability. Internships are done in order to achieve one or more of the following:
Gain work experience, often in the second or third year of the study programme. The student puts skills learned through academia into practice which helps develop them for the final year.
In order to complete a final year research project or dissertation. The research can be done for a particular company, and the topic chosen by either the firm or the student. The results of the study are put in a report and often presented to the company.
Nowadays internships are also done during mid-career breaks and are known colloquially as ‘returnships’. They are becoming increasingly popular, in particular with stay-at-home mums. A return ship is exactly the same as a full-time internship, paid or unpaid, that give mums, dads and others who have left the job market a chance to get back in.

Benefits of internship

  • Receive academic/professional credit
  • Value addition to CV/ resume
  • Helps determine/field test career interests
  • Networking
  • Possibilities of future employment within the company

Types of internships

Interns can be partially paid a stipend by the companies or not paid at all. Interns from professional courses like architecture, medicine, engineering, law, finance, etc.., fields are mostly paid. They can also be unpaid or volunteer positions generally found in non-profit organisations, and can be part-time or full-time, depending on the student and company.
The duration may depend on the employer and/or the study.

Statistics of internships

A survey of more than 850 students conducted by internship agency Stageplaza showed that the students now rated their internship experience higher than before. It has increased in 2011 to 7.6 as compared to 2008’s 6.8 out of 10.
In 2011, the study indicates that students are generally satisfied with the support they receive from the company they interned for. This is fairly positive when compared to the 2008 indications, where students had reported that their skills were underestimated and they needed guidance from companies to better develop themselves.

Internships in the Netherlands

In the Netherlands an internship is called a “Stage”. As there is no obligation to pay the student, small companies sometimes won’t pay anything. Sometimes the interns could get a stipend of about €300 per month, depending on their education and company policies. Some universities offer internships as part of the course.
Dutch law requires applicants to be either a European Citizen OR currently be enrolled in an educational institution as a student.
In order to do an internship in the Netherlands, one has to determine whether the internship would be part of a Dutch study programme or a foreign programme. This is because plans must be made regarding work permits, the type of residence permit required, the maximum internship remuneration that can be paid out tax-free and if any other deductions are to be made. Once the diploma is awarded, you are no longer eligible to do an internship in the Netherlands.