Welcome to the Fulbright US Graduate Student Resources page. Below you will find information to prepare you for your Fulbright grant period in the Netherlands.

Congratulations on your Fulbright or NAF-Fulbright Grant!

Please read all sections carefully after receiving your grant documents, also the general sections and the information for during your stay and at the end of your stay. This way, you will have a complete overview of which organizations are involved, what will take place when, which dates to block in your calendar and where to find information on which topic. You may also find it useful to use this checklist.

Also, Fulbright Commission the Netherlands has set up a Discord Page to communicate with the grantees before and during the grant. Please join this group via this link.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to the Fulbright Program Manager via email l.pietersen@fulbright.nl.

Organizations

The Institute of International Education administers the Fulbright program in the US. They contacted you with the result of the selection procedure and will provide you with access to important information and documents via their website. 

Contact person: Kyler Castro, FulbrightStudentAdvisingEUR@iie.org,
tel. (202) 326-7855.

The Fulbright Commission the Netherlands (also referred to here as Fulbright Commission or Commission) is the organization that administers the Fulbright program in the Netherlands. You can find more information about the Fulbright Commission the Netherlands in English through the following link: https://fulbright.nl/en/over-ons/.

Points of contact: Linda Pietersen, Program Manager US students and Scholars, Dutch Fulbright Programs, l.pietersen@fulbright.nl, +31 (0)6-2701 3344
If Ms. Pietersen is absent and your matter is urgent, you can contact Dr. Gradenwitz, Executive Director, c.gradenwitz@fulbright.nl, +31 (0)6-1134 1150

The Netherland-America Foundation was founded in 1921. It is a bilateral foundation initiating and supporting high-impact exchange between the Netherlands and the United States, including the NAF-Fulbright Fellowships and programs in the arts, business, public policy, and historic preservation. As of 2003, the NAF sponsors a number of Fulbright grants. If your grant is sponsored by the NAF, this will be indicated on your Grant Authorization. If administrative procedures for NAF-Fulbright grantees differ, or additional actions need to be taken, this will be indicated in all the information below. 

Contact person: Maggie Maloney, Program Manager NAF, MMaloney@thenaf.org.

Before Arrival

The IIE website for finalists has a detailed overview of what actions you need to take to accept the grant.

You can find the information through this link: https://us.fulbrightonline.org/finalist-resources. The Netherlands is a Commission country. Please follow the instructions on this link to make an account on the IIE participant portal, where you can upload the necessary documents. The Fulbright Commission has (limited) access to the participant portal, but does not receive notifications when participants upload documents, so for certain document submissions we ask  that you notify the program manager.

Document 1: Grant Authorization

The Grant Authorization is the document that explains the various benefits of the grant. It will indicate the grant amounts and the grant length. This document is sent to you by the Fulbright Commission. If you accept the award, you must sign it, upload a signed copy into the IIE portal within two weeks, and notify the Fulbright Commission that you have uploaded the document as soon as possible via l.pietersen@fulbright.nl.

You will see on your grant authorization if you are a NAF-sponsored grantee or not. If you are, your grant authorization will state “Netherland-America Foundation Fulbright Grant Authorization.” If you are not sponsored by the NAF, it will state “Fulbright Grant Authorization.”

NAF-Fulbright grantees have the same rights and obligations as other Fulbright grantees. The NAF will contact you before your departure with more information. If you are sponsored by the NAF, a specific sponsor, a company, or a private person may sponsor your grant. We would appreciate it if you could cooperate with the NAF in letting the sponsor know that you are grateful for their financial help. The NAF will give you further information if this is the case. If you have a NAF-Fulbright grant, please also send a digital copy of the signed Grant Authorization to the NAF, with the same deadline, to Ms. Maggie Maloney at MMaloney@thenaf.org

Document 2: Terms and Conditions

The terms and conditions, together with the specific Dutch terms that you will find on the second and further pages with your grant authorization, form the terms and conditions that apply to the grant. You need to sign the last page and initial every page at the bottom, and once on the first page in the middle. Please upload the complete set of the Terms and Conditions on the Fulbright self-service portal and notify the Fulbright program manager that it has been uploaded via l.pietersen@fulbright.nl. This needs to be done within two weeks of receiving the introductory email from IIE. 

These documents, the grant authorization and the terms, spell out the most important terms and conditions under which the grant is given. Not all possible situations are (nor can be) covered by these documents, as they are generic in nature and apply to all countries where the Fulbright program is carried out. In the Netherlands, the Board of the Fulbright Commission takes decisions on all matters concerning the Fulbright program, within the framework of the program policies formulated by the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board (FFSB). The FFSB is the official governing body of the Fulbright program, based in the United States of America. You can find the program policies of the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board through this link: https://eca.state.gov/fulbright/about-fulbright/fulbright-foreign-scholarship-board-ffsb/ffsb-policies

Document 3: Code of Conduct

This Code of Conduct is sent to you by the Fulbright Commission the Netherlands together with your Grant Authorization. Please sign and initial this document and return it to l.pietersen@fulbright.nl. This document does NOT need to be uploaded to the IIE participant portal. Please make sure you have sent this to the Fulbright Commission at least 3 months before the start of your grant period. 

Other required grant documents: 

For the Medical form, the proof of US citizenship, and the Bachelor’s Degree Verification, please follow the instructions on the IIE finalist resources page. You do not have to send this to Fulbright the Netherlands. These documents need to be uploaded to the participant portal no later than three months before the start of your program. You will find all documents on the finalist resources page, apart from the Grant Authorization and the Code of Conduct, which you will receive directly from the Fulbright Commission the Netherlands. 

If you do not yet have a passport, please apply for one as soon as possible. You can find more information on the procedure, documentation needed, and costs via this link. If you already have a passport, please make sure it is valid for at least 3 months after the end of your grant, see this link (there is also interesting information under all the tabs).

To stay in the Netherlands for more than 90 days, your host will need to apply for a residence permit (called VVR in Dutch, or Verblijfsvergunning Regulier) on your behalf before your arrival. Fulbright does not anticipate any issues with this application process, provided it is started in time. You do not need an entry visa (sometimes also called MVV, which is the abbreviation of Machtiging Voorlopig Verblijf) or other visa to enter the Netherlands as an American citizen. You also do not have to visit a Dutch Consulate in the US before your departure to the Netherlands (this is only required for an MVV/visa application). 

The Immigration and Naturalisation Service of the Ministry of Security and Justice (IND for short) issues these residence permits. The host university will need to apply for your residence permit on your behalf well before your arrival. You cannot do this yourself. If you have any accompanying dependents (spouse, children), the host will also be able to apply for a residence permit on their behalf; please ask them to do so concurrently with your residence permit application. To start the application, the host will need several documents from you, and will most likely ask you to fill out one or more forms. The procedure and requirements of the documents you will need to provide may differ between hosts, so please follow their instructions. If you have not yet received any requests for documents or information 3 months before your intended arrival, please ask your host about the process and whom to contact to start the application process.

Costs of the Residence Permit

The Fulbright Commission will reimburse you for the costs to obtain this residence permit. The costs for a residence permit at the moment of preparing this information is € 228 (last updated 12 March 2024). This may increase or change slightly, and if so, you will be reimbursed for the changed fee. Your host will have to pay this to the IND before your arrival in the Netherlands, and we will reimburse either your host or you after your arrival. We will give you more information on how this will be done at our first meeting with you. Please bear in mind that you must pay the costs of this permit for any dependents yourself. 

Background/More information on residence permits can be found through these links:

You may see the term “work permit” or “TWV” mentioned. If necessary, the host will also apply for this for you. In all cases, please follow the instructions of your host. 

To live in the Netherlands, you will need to register in the municipality where you will live (also see this link). One of the documents you will need for this registration is a birth certificate with APOSTILLE (stamp). This is different from a regular birth certificate. If you have an accompanying spouse, a marriage certificate with apostille will also be needed, as well as a birth certificate with apostille for your spouse. The same goes for any accompanying children. An apostille is a certification of the validity of your document and must be obtained specially from your state’s department of the Secretary of State. It is only given to official documents. A “regular” birth certificate or marriage certificate is not sufficient. You can find more information on apostilles on the website of U.S. Department of State. A list of U.S. authorities that issue apostilles can be found here.

 

It is extremely difficult at the moment, especially in university cities, to find affordable housing in the Netherlands. There has been a problematic housing shortage in the Netherlands for some time, especially for students. This is now increased by the influx of refugees in the Netherlands from the Ukraine. 

Looking for accommodation can be a very time-consuming, expensive and difficult challenge, even for Dutch students. Universities have already indicated that they expect an enormous shortage of student accommodation for the next academic year, therefore please contact your university as early as possible to inquire if they have housing for international students available. If they do not, they may have tips for you about how to navigate the local housing market and where to look. If your university does offer guaranteed housing as part of your stay, we very strongly recommend that you accept their offer. The Fulbright Commission cannot provide any assistance in finding accommodation. In case you do have to find your own housing without assistance from the host university, a few years ago the Fulbright Commission made a brief brochure on housing that you can find here. Prices have risen considerably in some cities since the brochure was made, so please keep that in mind when reading it. Also feel free to reach out to the current grantees for advice on housing. 

Your grant will contain an amount of € 1,000 allocated for international travel costs for regular Fulbright grantees, OR, if you are sponsored by the NAF, a KLM round-trip ticket. 

Fulbright grantees not sponsored by the NAF will receive the travel allocation after arrival in the Netherlands with your first grant payment, to avoid international bank transfer fees for the grantees. If the travel costs are a financial burden to you, it may also be possible to receive the € 1,000 prior to booking travel. This would involve transfer fees, which vary depending on the U.S. bank. You will be responsible for any fees the bank may charge. Special circumstances will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Please feel free to contact your program manager if you need to have the travel allowance transferred before booking your ticket.  

NAF-Fulbright grantees (sponsored by the NAF) will be given a KLM round-trip ticket, for which you will be sent extra information in a separate document. NAF-Fulbright grantees will arrange their ticket via the NAF; the taxes and other costs associated with the ticket will need to be paid by the grantee.

Boarding a flight to the Netherlands without a return ticket has sometimes caused issues in the past. As far as the Commission knows, it is not mandatory to have a return ticket if you have a residence permit. Should any issues occur, please make sure that you have your grant authorization, letter of admission/invitation to the program, and letter of approval for your residence permit easily accessible, for example in your hand luggage.

If you already know which municipality you will be living in, it may be possible to make an appointment to register from the US before traveling to the Netherlands. In the past two years, there have been delays in getting appointments to register at Dutch municipalities, so it may be handy to check whether you can set up an appointment from abroad. This may not be possible in all municipalities, but it could give you a head start after arrival if you can arrange it beforehand. Below, you will find two links with information on the process as examples. 

https://groningen.nl/en/practical-matters/municipal-services/register-your-move

https://www.amsterdam.nl/en/civil-affairs/first-registration/

A number of Fulbright grantees have indicated that they are already studying Dutch, and several have plans to do so after arrival. Please keep in mind that although most universities organize Dutch courses, it is usually too late to enroll after your arrival for first semester courses, as courses fill up very quickly. Therefore we advise you to have a look at this link, where you will find links to all university language courses and organizations the universities partner with to give these courses, so that you can look into your options and register early from the US. It also has links to other useful resources and apps for learning Dutch. Student cities usually also have a number of independent language schools, commercial or not, which you can easily find through Google. After arriving, you may also want to look into whether there is a language café in your city, which is a low-cost or free way to practice languages.

The Fulbright grants (apart from the grant sponsored by Maastricht University) do not cover tuition fees. Tuition fee waivers are at the discretion of Dutch educational institutions, and applicants are responsible for requesting waivers. In the event a fee waiver/reduction is not granted, candidates should be aware that the Fulbright grant does not provide the cost of these fees. Please be aware that tuition waivers are only very rarely granted. You should inquire at your host university whether there is a process to apply for a tuition waiver (there may not be) and what that process is.

Arrival in the Netherlands

To be able to pay out your grant soon after your arrival, the Fulbright Commission requires you to open an online bank account immediately after your arrival. There are a few possibilities for this: 

  • N26: You can open an account in minutes with just your passport, and it is completely free. You do not need to provide a BSN.
  • BUNQ: You can open an account in minutes with just your passport. You have 90 days to provide your BSN. The cheapest option is € 2,99 per month.
  • Revolut and Wise: We do not yet have experience with these online banks, but if you want to, feel free to try them out!

N26 and Bunq are suitable for immediately opening a bank account while you may not have a valid residence permit or Burgerservicenummer yet (see “Register at the Municipality, Get your Burgerservicenummer (BSN)” below). However, Bunq has been known to take a long time to verify the identity of Americans (up to 3 weeks or more). As such, we would suggest that you try N26 first. For any of these online bank options, please do not open them before arriving to the Netherlands. Otherwise, you will be opening a US bank account rather than a Dutch one, and we will not be able to transfer your grant.
Once you have opened a bank account, please send the IBAN number to your program manager as soon as possible, so that your first month grant can be deposited.

Fulbright asks you to open an online bank account immediately after arrival to make sure you have funds available as soon as possible. However, if you do not feel comfortable using an online bank account, and want to set up another account at one of the regular banks in the Netherlands (ABN AMRO, ING, ASN, Rabobank, SNS, or others), this is also possible. You can wait until you have received your BSN number and open an account at one of these banks, or switch to one of these banks after you have received your BSN number.

Alternatively, if your university is arranging for you to open a regular bank account within a week after your arrival, that would also be acceptable instead of an online bank account. Fulbright just wants to make sure that you receive your first month grant as soon as possible. 

You will need to register at the municipality where you will live as soon as possible after your arrival. This is a legal requirement in the Netherlands. First contact with the municipality (setting up the appointment) should be made within 5 days of your arrival, if you were not able to do so ahead of arrival. Not all municipalities follow the same registration procedure, so be sure to check what the correct procedure is for your municipality; either your host will be able to provide you with information on how to register, or you can find it on the website of the municipality itself. As an example, you can find the registration process guidelines for the municipality of Amsterdam through this link. It is important to begin this procedure as soon as possible, as registration is a legal requirement in the Netherlands, and it is a prerequisite for receiving a Burgerservicenummer or BSN (comparable to a US social security number). This number is needed if you want to open a bank account at a regular bank. Depending on the municipality, you may receive your BSN immediately during your appointment to register, or a number of weeks later.

A number of universities also may organize a “one-stop-shop” around the arrival times of new international students. At these events, you can register at the municipality, open a bank account, and also have your residence permit appointment all at the same time. If this is available at your university, this is a much easier process, so please check ahead of your arrival and make use of this possibility.

Before your arrival, your host organization should have applied for a residence permit for you. After your arrival in the Netherlands, there are still two things you will need to do before your residence permit process is complete: 

  1. Give your biometrics via an appointment at the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND). Your host university will give you instructions when and how you need to do this. 
  2. Pick up your physical residence permit, which will be a plastic card the size of a credit card. You will receive a letter at your accommodation when this is ready to be picked up. 

For all residence permit issues, please contact the university/host organization for guidance. 

Please download and fill out this personal data form, and send it to your program manager within 5 days of your arrival. If you have any changes of address during your Fulbright grant period, please always inform your program manager. 

Please register in the Smart Traveler Enrolment Program (STEP) after your arrival. This is a service set up by the US Embassy and US Consulate in the Netherlands. If there are any safety or security issues in the Netherlands, they will send out an email to everybody on the list. Additionally, in case of emergencies, they know you are in the country. 

The Dutch healthcare system (see this link) is set up so that for minor health complaints or referrals to a specialist, you will first need to see a general practitioner. In Dutch, a GP is called a “huisarts,” which literally translates to house doctor; these doctors still do house calls for those who cannot travel to the doctor’s office. They will service a certain postal code area that they can easily reach. 

To have access to health care in the Netherlands, it is imperative to register at a huisarts near where you live. This link gives you an overview of how you can find a huisarts in your neighborhood. In some cases, a few universities will have their own huisartsen or may recommend certain huisartsen. If this is the case, this will be available on the university website. Please DO NOT WAIT until you fall ill to register with a huisarts – do this immediately at the beginning of your grant.

If you have found a huisarts near your accommodation but cannot register with them because they say their practice is full, sometimes it helps to explain that you will only be in the country for 9-12 months; they might have room in their practice for shorter-term patients.

The Fulbright Commission has made an Emergency Action Plan, which contains useful information about possible (emergency) situations and how to deal with these. You can find the plan here

The Fulbright Commission the Netherlands will organize an introductory meeting on Thursday, 29 August 2024, in Amsterdam. At this meeting, the practical details around the grant will be discussed, and you will have the opportunity to get to know your grantee peers, the Fulbright Executive Director, and the program manager. This is a mandatory meeting, so please mark this in your calendar. Transport costs related to this meeting will be reimbursed for second class public transport. You can file a reimbursement form via this link

There will be more mandatory meetings during your time in the Netherlands. For further information, see this link

During Your Grant Period

Apart from the first meeting on 29 August 2024, there will be three more mandatory meetings. Please mark these in your calendar at the start of the year. The second meeting will be in September, will take place at the US Ambassador to the Netherlands’ residence in Den Haag, and will be about Dutch culture, politics, and history. After this meeting, there will be a reception to welcome the new US grantees to the Netherlands, and to welcome back the Dutch grantees. At the moment, the date for this meeting has not been set, but as soon as it is decided, the Fulbright Commission will let you know.

Before the evaluation meetings in February and in May, you will be asked by IIE to fill out an online evaluation form. This will be used as input for the meetings. For each of the mandatory meetings, you will be able to get your travel costs to the meeting reimbursed on the basis of second class public transport. You can file a reimbursement form via this link.

Here is an overview of all the mandatory meetings for the 2024-2025 cohort. Please keep these dates open in your calendar.

  • 29 August 2024: Introductory meeting in Amsterdam, Yellow Room, Grand Cafe Living, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Campus, De Boelelaan 1111 B.
  • Late September 2024: Second introductory meeting in Den Haag, location: Tobias Asserlaan 4, Den Haag (US Ambassador’s residence), date to be announced
  • 30 January 2025: Mid-year evaluation meeting and dinner, location to be announced
  • 15 May 2025, End-of-year evaluation and drinks, location to be announced

The first payment of your grant for the month of September will be sent out as soon as possible after your arrival. After this first payment, all subsequent payments will be sent out around the 25th of each month. This way, there will be money in your account when you have to pay rent by the first of the next month. Unless you inform us otherwise, Fulbright will continue to pay out the grant on the account number you provide your program manager with immediately after arrival. If you change banks, please inform the program manager as soon as possible, so that the next payment can be transferred to your new account. 

Your final grant payment will occur one month before your grant period ends. So if your grant ends at the beginning of June, your final payment will be around the 25th of April. 

If you do not remain for the full period of your grant authorization, an appropriate adjustment in the maintenance allowance will be made. Maintenance allowances are calculated in half month intervals. Five to fifteen days is considered one-half month. Sixteen to thirty-one days is considered a full month. No stipend will be provided for less than five days in the host country. 

For public transport use to and from mandatory Fulbright meetings and IND appointments, you can claim your travel costs via this linkReimbursements will be made within 10 working days. 

You will be required to upload proof of travel costs. An OV-chipkaart overview is preferred, but you may also scan your tickets (also see the information under Public Transport below). If you make use of an OV-chipkaart, you will need to make an account on OV-chipkaart.nlYou can also scan a paper ticket, or if you buy a ticket online you can submit the confirmation email as a PDF or any other proof as long as it lists the necessary details: your name, the cost, travel dates and destination. 

You can generate an OV-chipkaart history overview on the OV-chipkaart website after you have made an account and linked your card to the account. If you pay for a trip using your digital wallet (OV-pay onboard a tram or bus, for example), you will be able to see the cost of your travel in your bank statement. In all cases, we need to have proof of travel which indicates the costs, the locations and the name of the person traveling. 

You are expected to be a full-time master program student or researcher. You can of course take time off during scheduled university or office/lab closures. For personal appointments, such as doctor’s appointments and the like, we suggest you schedule these around lectures (for students) or consult with your direct contact at your research lab/office to find out their protocol for time off for personal appointments. 

All personal travel outside of the Netherlands unrelated to the grant is to be kept to a minimum to honor the full-time nature of the grants, and to use your free time to get to know the Netherlands. If you want to use personal travel days to travel outside of the Netherlands, you will always need to ask for approval of your Fulbright program manager in the Netherlands at least 5 days before traveling. This can be done by sending an email to Linda Pietersen with the time and date of your departure and return, your destination, and how you can be reached during your time abroad. Your terms and conditions state that you can use a maximum of 14 personal travel days outside of the Netherlands. Weekend days do not count towards these 14 personal days outside of the country. 

There are a number of Dutch public holidays on which schools and universities will be closed. You can find these holidays through this link. These public national holidays (NOT the university or school holidays!) do not count towards the 14 personal travel days as mentioned in the terms and conditions.
For example, universities will be closed on Ascension Day on 29 May 2025, and on the Friday after, 30 May. If you are planning to use this to make a trip
outside of the Netherlands, Ascension Day is a public holiday, but the Friday after is not. So Friday would count as a personal travel day, even if your university is closed. However, if you would use it to explore the Netherlands, which is something the Fulbright Commission would highly recommend and encourage, this Friday would not count as a personal travel day (of course, provided that your school/university is closed on that day). 

The only exception to the maximum of 14 days of personal days outside the Netherlands is the holiday period at the end of the calendar year. Any days spent outside of the Netherlands between 21 December 2024 and 6 January 2025 will not count towards your personal travel days.

The Fulbright health benefits do NOT cover you outside of the Netherlands.

In some cases, your program or research project may need you to go abroad for a short period of time. This is in principle allowed, provided it is a mandatory or very essential part of your program/research. If you ask for permission, this will be granted, provided it is a short period (not a whole semester) and mandatory/essential, to be decided by the Fulbright Commission. In such case, these days will also not count towards the 14 days of international travel allowed, and your Fulbright health benefits can be amended so that they cover you during this period abroad.

If any changes take place in your personal data, such as a move to a different address, a change in banks, a new phone number, or a new email address, please always inform your program manager within 5 days.

Your grant and your residence permit are based on the full-time nature of your studies or your research project. How this works out in terms of schedule will differ for each student/researcher depending on their program and/or university. 

If you will be here for research, please consult with your principal investigator/lead researcher about what the normal times to be in the office or lab are, and what is considered full-time. For Master students, we expect you to follow all mandatory lectures and events related to your program. Should the full-time nature of your studies or research change, please inform your program manager, as this may have consequences for your grant and your residence permit. 

Should you encounter (serious) problems in your studies or your research project, please discuss these with your program manager.
Should a dispute arise between you and any of your colleagues, you should first try to talk to them to work things out in a calm and open manner. If this does not help, your first point of contact is the university’s program coordinator or your lead researcher. You should follow their lead in trying to resolve the issue. One possibility, for instance, is a mediation meeting with the people involved, organized by the program coordinator or your lead researcher. If the dispute cannot be resolved this way, the Fulbright Commission can be contacted for further advice and will decide on follow-up action on a case-by-case basis. If the dispute is between you and the program coordinator/lead researcher, and having a conversation with them about your concerns doesn’t work, please mention the issue to your Program Manager at the Fulbright Commission. 

If the dispute cannot ultimately be resolved, the Fulbright Commission can take steps to officially terminate the grant. This step must follow official Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board procedures. Official terms of the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board regarding Resignation from the Grant (Chap. 437) and Revocation, Termination and Suspension of Grants (Chap. 438) can be found by accessing this link.

Fulbright Health Benefits, the Dutch Healthcare System, and Emergencies

The Fulbright Program provides a secondary health benefit plan (Accident and Sickness Program for Exchanges, or ASPE) free of charge. Please be aware that it is a health benefit with limited coverage. The limitations are as follows:

  • ASPE does not provide comprehensive insurance coverage
  • It is not valid outside of the Netherlands
  • It is intended to serve as supplemental coverage 
  • It only covers you during the dates on your grant authorization

However, if you do not have primary insurance, ASPE will act as primary insurance. ASPE is administered by Seven Corners. For details about ASPE, please review the booklet entitled Your ASPE Guide to Health Care Coverage (https://www.sevencorners.com/gov/usdos). Read the guide thoroughly before beginning your grant to familiarize yourself with ASPE procedures, benefits and exclusions, and review the health care provider information on the Seven Corners website.

ASPE does not satisfy the minimum essential health coverage under the “individual shared responsibility” requirement of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). It is the grantee’s responsibility to comply with the requirements of the PPACA. For more information and a complete list of exemptions, please visit healthcare.gov.

The Fulbright Commission will issue your ASPE identification card by email before  the start of your stay. If you have any questions about ASPE please contact usdosinfo@sevencorners.com.

International student insurance: Some Dutch universities also have a specific mandatory insurance for international students. If this is the case, the costs for this insurance is to be paid by the grantee. 

Dutch national insurance: All Dutch nationals (and other nationalities who receive a salary here in the Netherlands or receive Dutch welfare) are required by law to insure themselves via a national insurance system, which is not free of charge. This is not required for Fulbright grantees, as you are here temporarily and have the Fulbright Health Benefits. Only if you were to start a paid job in the Netherlands would you also be required to take out this insurance at your own expense. As your primary goal here is study or research, it is not anticipated that this will be necessary. However, sometimes internships or certain student commissions pay their students a small stipend. If this is the case, please contact your program manager.

The Dutch Health care system may differ somewhat from what you are used to in the US. For minor medical complaints, you would visit a huisarts (general practitioner). The system is geared towards letting the body heal itself for minor complaints, and to only prescribe medication sparingly. To see a specialist (apart from dentist or physiotherapist), you need a referral from your huisarts. Therefore it is important to register with a huisarts after your arrival, and not wait until you have a health complaint. 

Good information about the Dutch health care system can be found on a number of websites, such as:

On all these sites, there is information about Dutch mandatory health insurance and how to sign up for this. You can disregard this information (also see under “Other health insurance information”).

The national number for emergencies is 112. 112 is the European emergency number you can dial free of charge from fixed and mobile phones everywhere in the EU. It will get you straight through to the emergency services – police, ambulance, and fire department. You will be asked your location, what services you require and what the emergency is. 

The Dutch police also have a local number for non-emergencies: 0900-8844.  

ASPE ASSIST

Mental Health Support Hotline

ASPE provides access to a mental health consultant and referral services hotline.  ASPE Assist is a benefit for all Exchange Participants, including those on the Fulbright US Student Program, during their USDOS program. ASPE Assist is designed to supplement the health benefits that are concurrently provided through ASPE.  ASPE Assist is operated by The ANVIL Group (Everbridge), in partnership with Seven Corners.

ASPE Assist Services

  •  Mental health advice
  •  Mental health crisis support
  •  Sexual assault response
  •  Violent Crime response
  •  Providing advice to grantees when they feel at risk or vulnerable

ASPE Assist is accessible 24 hours a day and is available to provide support to Exchange Participants, including grantees on the Fulbright US Student Program, in urgent and non-urgent situations, such as identification of mental health conditions requiring in-person or telemedicine treatment and referral for such treatment, crisis intervention, and many other scenarios. The medical staff responding to grantee calls are trained to handle serious situations such as cases of sexual assault and mental health crises. They can also provide medical advice.

ASPE Assist Contact Information

Phone: +1-833-963-1269
Worldwide: +44-20-3859-4463
Email: anvil_aspesupport@everbridge.com

More information and resources can be found in the Emergency Action Plan, which we ask that you please read before your arrival in the Netherlands.

At the End of Your Grant Period

Extension of the Fulbright grant

According to the Fubright policies, the Fulbright Commission may, at its discretion and at the request of the grantee and fully supported by the academic host(s), extend the grant benefits for a period not to exceed three months. In the Netherlands, this is only done in case of emergencies. The procedure for applying for an extension is to send a maximum one page motivation for the extension, clearly detailing the emergency circumstances why you need an extension, whether your host supports your request, and for how long this extension is applied for. The motivation can be sent to the program manager, who will make sure it is discussed. 

Extension will be awarded only in very exceptional circumstances, to be judged by the Fulbright Commission.

Residence permit when staying longer

Whether you have received an extension through Fulbright or by other means, if you stay longer than the original grant period, your residence permit most likely will have to be extended as well. This can be done by your host: please get in touch with them as soon as possible if you plan on extending your time in the Netherlands.

 

Please always inform the Fulbright Commission of your plans!

Your lease will either be of a fixed period with a given expiration date, or you will have to give notice of your termination of the lease – you can find this information in your lease. Usually, you will have to give notice that you wish to terminate your lease 1-2 months before the date you want your lease to end, and the proper procedure for this should be found in your lease. Fulbright recommends that you ask for a confirmation in writing (by email or otherwise) to confirm that your notice has been received. If you have paid a deposit, please also check what you need to do to have your deposit returned to you. If the utilities are also registered in your name, please also make sure that those are canceled.

Please inform your program manager of the date on which you will leave the country.

When you leave the Netherlands, you will need to de-register at the municipality. Officially, this is called deregistering from the Personal Records Database (Basisregistratie Personen – BRP). Not all municipalities have the same procedure, so please check with the municipality where you are registered on how to do so. It is important that you do not forget this, as you may still be charged for municipal taxes until your de-registration has been processed. An example of how to de-register can be found on this link (for Amsterdam). Most municipalities with an English website will have this information on their website. If not, please contact your local municipality by phone to inquire about the correct procedure. 

When you leave the Netherlands, please return your residence card to the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND). The address in Zwolle and instructions can be found on this link. Your host will fill out a form to notify the IND of your departure and send it to them directly. 

Please make sure that you have ended all your subscriptions before you leave the Netherlands, including any direct debit payments you may have set up with your bank account, e.g. Swapfiets, museum card, OV-chipkaart, utilities, phone, TV/internet, library, etc. 

If you do not intend to or are not able to use your bank account back in the US, please transfer all the money from the account and close the account. Your bank should be able to tell you what the procedure for this is. Please make sure you do not expect any more payments into this account (for instance, a return of your deposit) before you close the account. 

The end of your residence permit should also be the end of your stay in the Netherlands. As the IND describes it on this link: “You must leave the Netherlands in good time. ‘In good time’ means that you leave the Netherlands before the expiration date of your current residence permit. Therefore, you must ensure that your return flight is on or before the date on which your residence permit expires.
If you plan on staying a bit longer, please also see this link for more information on the 90 days that you may be able to use. Please always check with either IND or your host/international office, as rules and regulations are subject to change. 

General Information

The US Internal Revenue Code of 1954, as amended, contains provisions affecting recipients of grants under the Fulbright Program. Please find the information on taxes specifically for Fulbright grants on this link.

You will not have to pay income tax on your Fulbright grant in the Netherlands. You may have to pay municipal tax, depending on your rental agreement, as an inhabitant of a municipality.

At the moment of preparing this information, there are two systems in place for paying in public transport. By the time you arrive, one system will most likely slowly be phased out. You will be able to pay for the bus, tram or train directly with your Dutch debit card or a bank app (and possibly credit card). This system is called OV-Pay, and you can find more information on this link. The system which will be phased out, but for now is still also in place, is the OV-chipkaart, you can find more information here.

You can find general information about how public transport in the Netherlands works on this link (although it does not yet mention OV-Pay at the time of preparing this information).

If you will be using the train frequently, it may be worthwhile to buy a kortingskaart, or discount card. Information about the various travel discounts available can be found on the website of the NS, the national train system. Also, the current grantees will be a good source for information about public transport and how to navigate it.

A good English website to plan your public transport travel in the Netherlands is 9292, which is also available as an app. The Dutch railways also has a good travel planner on their website, and this too is available as a mobile app.

For a full overview of the Dutch school system, please see this link. It gives a great overview of the complete education system in the Netherlands, from kindergarten to PhD. Of course, you will mainly be involved in the higher education part of it as students and researchers. 

There are differences in the methods and attitude towards higher education between the Netherlands and the US. Past US Fulbright grantees in the Netherlands have noted some main differences that we would like to mention. 

  1. Emphasis on group work, collaborative effort: Group work is given in many courses, and teamwork is perhaps more important in Dutch education than in US education.
  2. The grading system is different: It is on a 1-10 scale, where 5,5 is usually considered a passing grade, 8 is excellent, and 9s and 10s are rarely given. 
  3. Grading also very often solely depends on an exam or report assigned at the end of a course.
  4. From the point of view of Dutch students, there is less emphasis on achieving excellent grades. Dutch students sometimes study just enough to pass, and do not always feel the need to excel. This is a generic statement, and of course does not hold true for all Dutch students, but US Fulbrighters have come across it enough to mention it. 

If you are coming to the Netherlands with children, it is good to know that homeschooling in principle is not allowed in the Netherlands. There is some good information about this on this link. Through the same link, you can also find some information about enrolling your children in a Dutch school. Not all Dutch schools will be able to enroll your children, therefore it might also be a good idea to look at international schools. Children’s school fees are not covered by the Fulbright grant.

At the moment, the cost of living in the Netherlands can be considered high. The price of rent has risen significantly over the past couple of years, and inflation rates have begun rising as well. These trends are expected to continue in the coming year, due in part to the war in Ukraine.

A good way of getting a sense of what the average cost of living for a student are may be found on the website of the university. Some university websites list the average cost of living for students (for instance, the University of Groningen has given a rough estimate of living costs on their website). If your university does not have such an indication, another option would be to have a look at this website, and choose the city you will be living in. Of course, both websites provide only estimates, and these costs will vary based on your standard of living and spending habits. In principle, the Fulbright grant should be enough to cover your daily expenses and rent. 

Disclaimer
You are encouraged to talk about your Fulbright experience on social media. If you choose to blog about your experience, please include the following disclaimer somewhere:

This blog represents only my own ideas, observations, and anecdotes; it is not representative of nor attributable to the US Government (USG) or Fulbright Commission. 

For more information about social media conduct and safety, please read this page on the US Fulbright website.

Instagram Takeover

The Fulbright Commission in the Netherlands has done doing several Instagram takeovers in the past, where US Fulbright grantees show what they are doing in the Netherlands. If you are interested in doing a “takeover” of our Instagram to show our audience what it’s like to be a Fulbrighter, please get in touch with your Program Manager. 

Fulbright Instagram and Facebook Profiles and Pages of Interest

Official Fulbright Program: https://www.instagram.com/the_fulbright_program/

Fulbright the Netherlands: https://www.instagram.com/fulbrightnl/

The official Facebook page for the Fulbright program worldwide, run by the U.S. Department of State: https://www.facebook.com/fulbright/

Dutch Fulbright Facebook page (mainly in Dutch): https://www.facebook.com/StudereninAmerika.Fulbright/

Fulbright Association: https://www.facebook.com/fulbrightassociation

Dutch Communities you may find helpful

  • LGBTQ+ community: The Dutch national organization geared towards a more inclusive society for LGBTQ+ people is the COC. Their website is in Dutch, but you can utilize Google Translate or another translating website to find the information you need.
  • Maruf is an organization for being Muslim and gay.
  • MSA Nederland is a Muslim student organization. If their website is not working, try accessing their Facebook page.
  • You can find the municipal health centers via the GGD website. Among other things, you can get STI testing done at these health centers. They can also refer you back to a general practitioner or provide at-home testing if their clinic is busy. Not all their websites are also available in English, therefore it might be handy to know that the Dutch abbreviation for STI is SOA. An example of a link that is available in English is the Amsterdam GGD.
  • If you are Jewish and living in the Netherlands, you may like to get to know the European Jewish Congress. Related, but in Dutch is the CIDI: they strive for the right of Jewish people to live safely and in freedom in the Netherlands and in Israel, and also have a place on their website to report anti-semitism.
  • For information on trans rights and resources in the Netherlands, visit Transgender Netwerk (website in Dutch).

Fulbright Affinity groups: 

Fulbridge

Fulbright Access

Fulbright HBCU

Fulbright Families

Fulbright LatinX

Fulbright Lotus

Fulbright Noir

Fulbright Salam

Fulbright Women

Free Dutch language learning apps:

Duolingo app via this link

De het app via this link

Dutch verb conjugations app via this link

Websites:

https://www.learndutch.org/ 

https://dutchreview.com/expat/learn-dutch/free-ways-to-learn-dutch/ 

 

Public transport planners: 

https://9292.nl/en

https://www.ns.nl/en/travel-information (if you click on travel information, you will a lot of information)

https://www.ns.nl/en/season-tickets

9292 and NS are also available as apps