Netherlands

There are 16 million people in the Netherlands, most of them who live in the “randstad” or urban agglomeration in the west of the country. Amsterdam is often the place that young people will want to head to first, because of the availability of work and the relaxed atmosphere of this a cosmopolitan city. You can get away here without being able to speak the language.

Holland is often referred to as the country famous for its cheese, tulips, clogs and windmills. Certain parts of holland are reclaimed land or “polder” as the Dutch call it. Holland is also famous for its tolerance towards drugs. The coffee shops you see in many places aren’t legal! They are just tolerated. Only soft drugs are tolerated however, ecstasy, heroin or cocaine are strictly prohibited and can get you in serious trouble. Coffee shops work very sensibly as well, alcohol is not served here: alcohol and drugs don’t mix. Many travellers in Amsterdam head for the coffee shop in the morning and have a coffee and a joint for breakfast. It is a great way to chill and relax.

In the past Holland has attracted many travellers and immigrants seeking work. Regulations have tightened now in an attempt to clamp down undesirable immigrants though backpackers looking for a few months work should not have too much trouble getting the right papers.

Jobs tend to crop up around big cities, mainly Amsterdam and The Hague, Leiden and Utrecht. Down south and the north west are least likely have many jobs going. Holland is one of the few countries that will let you register with a temporary employment agency (“uitzendburau”), many of them who cater for English speakers. Some of them on the web are the undutchables and English language jobs.