A Complete Guide

How to Build your Network in the Netherlands

Saturday January 20, 2024

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Introduction to Networking in the Netherlands

Are you an expat living in the Netherlands looking for networking tips? 

Are you interested in learning how to build your network and gain access to talent, capital, and the Dutch market?

Then, this guide is for you. 

Learn all about networking in the Netherlands, why it is essential, and how to grow your social circle.


1 The Fundamentals of networking in the Netherlands

Before deep-diving into ways to build and expand your network in the Netherlands, it’s important to first about what it is and why it is important. It can help you a lot more when you understand its purpose.

What is Networking

Networking is the practice of making connections through professional or social associations with others in order to cultivate relationships that may benefit one’s career. It can be seen as part of job search, education, or business strategy. Networking aims to produce new leads for possible employment opportunities and expand the number of contacts who might help an individual acquire a job.

Why it is Important

Through networking, people build and maintain relationships with others through regular communication. These interactions can take place either in-person or online and often happen at work, over the telephone, by email or even on social media websites. During these conversations, an individual may ask for advice about career options they are considering and referrals to others.

Networking attempts to connect individuals to information, resources and others in order to advance in a career or business opportunity to find a job. In this sense, networking may involve reaching out to industry experts and other professionals to develop referral opportunities for employment.

Remember that you want to have a professional image representing your business or company’s name. Therefore, seek out professionals in the Netherlands who may be willing to provide their time for an opportunity to get together with you and exchange ideas, information and build relationships. It is important always to make these connections about helping each other instead of asking for something.

2 Networking Tips for the Dutch Market

Networking is a great way to meet people, get help and find jobs, especially when you are looking for opportunities to join the dutch market as an expat.

Network online

If you don’t want to interact with others via phone or in person, networking online may be a better option for you. There are many different social media websites where you can connect with other professionals. Of course, LinkedIn is the most popular site for meeting others and advancing your career through connections given that this platform has 9 million users in the Netherlands alone. There are also Facebook groups, forums and other networks open to the public.

Attend conferences and events

Another way to network is to attend industry-specific events where you might find other professionals in your field or related areas. These can include anything from large conventions to small workshops and webinars. Search the internet for any upcoming events that may be taking place in your area and if possible, try attending some of them.

Network with professionals in your industry 

There are many different ways to approach networking with professionals in the same industry as you. One method is to attend regional events such as meetups and community gatherings that focus on the needs, challenges and trends in your area of expertise. 

Rotterdam’s startup scene offers events such as TNW, Upstream Festival, Venture Café, and more — read further below to learn more about them. 

You can also try sending emails or posting on social media. If you attend a networking event or get in touch with someone online, let them know about your experience and what you’ve been trying to accomplish. This can lead to future opportunities.

Set up informational interviews

Informational interviews are a great way to learn from professionals who have already attained positions you’re interested in. Set up an interview with somebody by sending an email or contacting them in person. This way, you can get to know the person before meeting for coffee or lunch. Bring plenty of questions that focus on their experiences, challenges and knowledge about your industry. The goal of the informational interview is to learn as much as possible so prepare accordingly.

Attend seminars or webinars

Industry seminars and webinars are another effective way to learn more about your industry. They’re often hosted by professionals, professors and those who work in related fields. Webinar software is now available for free online and at many universities and trade associations, depending on the presentation topic. Make sure to sign up early by asking the host or someone sponsoring the event for details.

Follow up on your progress

If you make a good impression with someone during your networking experience, don’t hesitate to follow up with them at a later date. Find the time when they’re available and ask for any kind of feedback on your interview or any questions you had during the process. This can also be an excellent time to ask for possible job openings in the company they work at or others in their field.

Never stop networking 

You never know when you may meet someone who helps you along in the journey to success, so continue networking even after landing your dream job. You can continue to meet others in your field at industry events, coworking spaces, joining event spaces, seminars and workshops or simply by staying active on social media.

3 Networking Events in the Netherlands

One of the fastest ways to build your network in the Netherlands is to attend events and meet people.


TNW is an annual technology conference in Amsterdam. It’s an excellent place for networking and meeting new people in the tech industry since it’s a small, intimate setting with about 1500 attendees. There are no breakout sessions so that you can network around the clock at this three-day event.

This international festival is a good way to meet Dutch companies and potential business partners. However, if you are interested in attending, make sure that your company will foot the bill! One of the best things about this event is that if your target audience does not attend, you won’t have to pay any costs regarding setup.

Upstream Festival

Upstream Festival is an excellent event for building your network in the Netherlands and is a good way for you to prepare for more formal business events. During this festival, you can network with local tech companies and potential clients. In addition, you should make an effort to attend workshops, seminars, demo days and other events that will increase your knowledge about the tech industry in the Netherlands.

Rotterdam Tech Social 

Are you a tech founder who is looking to build a valuable network of likeminded peers ? Then the curated meetups of Rotterdam Tech Socials are worth checking. The genesis of Rotterdam Tech Social happened with the intent to get great minds together under a roof, to let the attendees know that they are not alone in this battle. With a focus on knowledge-sharing, and igniting the sense of belonging to a community. Founders are grouped together, in a group of 4, on base of Mastermind format to discuss and solve their successes and challenges.

The mission of Rotterdam Tech Social is to improve the local connectedness among experienced tech founders and organise highly-curated and structured peer-to-peer learning and mentoring activities  where C-level executives come together and share lessons learned, challenges and celebrate successes. Also there is an invite only whatsapp community where founders can help each other and share knowledge and interesting news.

Rotterdam Tech Social is founded and supported by: 42workspaceECEYesDelftTechlabs RotterdamTech Netherlands Advocates and Up!Rotterdam

To meet equal experienced tech founders during the organised Master-Mind sessions, you need to fill in 5 questions for your application to join. After approval you will be added to the RTS group.


Dutch Founder and Investor Meetup

Hosted by Startup Network Europe and 42workspace, and sponsored by HubSpot for StartupsThe Dutch Founder and Investor Meetup is an intimate gathering of Dutch Pre-Seed and Seed Stage VCs, Angel Investors, and Founders. Check the websites for next events to mingle with an interesting tech community.



4 Public Support in the Netherlands

Another means of growing your network as an expat is to seek public support through ecosystem partners such as Rotterdam Partners and Up!Rotterdam. They can help you with housing, employment, training, access to talent, market, capital and other issues that you may be having in the Netherlands.

Rotterdam Partners

Rotterdam Partners is an organisation that offers support for expats with job opportunities or house hunting in Rotterdam. Their goal is to help expats who are relocating to the Netherlands and international companies who want to open offices in Rotterdam to find all the information they need easily.


Up!Rotterdam aims to make Rotterdam the greatest home port for forward-thinking firms, scale-ups, inventive SMEs, and companies that think big. Up!Rotterdam works with communities, stakeholders, and organizations to develop new initiatives by providing: 

  • access to talent
  • access to funding
  • access to (international) markets
  • strengthening of the ecosystem
  • positioning the Rotterdam region for innovative entrepreneurship


Techleap.nl work with startups to help solve their most pressing scaling issues using the programs, initiatives, and resources they develop. They also engage with a wide range of capital-related stakeholders including LPs and VCs, and concentrate on linking them up. Finally, they break down political barriers to entrepreneurial success through policy, finance, and collaboration. They ensure that the startup environment is supported by the institutions that surround it by collaborating with a variety of government levels.


Welcome to NL

The Talent Coalition has launched a new platform aimed at showcasing the Netherlands to international talent.
Welcome to NL is an essential resource for anyone considering an international career and an excellent way to explore
the opportunities in the Netherlands. It’s filled with information on industries and company culture, schools and family
life, arranging healthcare and housing, and all other aspects of daily life. Highly skilled migrants can learn about our
thriving business climate, the industry-leading innovation, and the inclusive culture that we enjoy in the Netherlands. It
answers their questions to help make an informed decision about relocation.
We invite you to visit Welcome to NL and share this helpful resource with your network.


Dutch Good Growth Fund (DGGF)

If you are an entrepreneur looking to make your business grow, the Dutch Good Growth Fund (DGGF) can help. This organisation aims to achieve good growth in various ways, like creating new jobs and assisting entrepreneurs in accessing the capital they need to expand their businesses.

Even if you aren’t starting a company, DGGF can connect you with Dutch companies interested in business partnerships. They also have a database to search for potential candidates who might be suitable for your company if you are looking to expand internationally.

Horizon Europe

Horizon Europe is a European Union program that can help you fund your business or career development. You must be an EU citizen, and the project that you want to apply for must relate to science, research, innovation and technology such as:

  • Food (including GMOs)
  • Bioproducts & Biocatalysts
  • Renewable energy
  • Space research & technology
  • Biotechnology & Biopharmaceuticals
  • Chemicals, Advanced Materials & Nanotechnologies
  • Acoustics, Audiovisual Technology and Telecommunication Technologies

The program has a large budget of €95.5 billion (2024) to finance projects benefiting European entrepreneurs and professionals. If you qualify, the grant will cover up to 50% of the total costs for research and innovation, so it’s worth applying for.

5 Keeping Up-to-Date

Last, if you want to network, seek out main media outlets to stay updated with events. Also, keep your ears open for the latest news about new startups in Rotterdam so you can get a job with them.

Silicon Canals

Silicon Canals is an online magazine that helps entrepreneurs, startups, and technologists make their lives easier by sharing news about events and activities. Founded in 2014, the website is curated by an experienced and developing editorial team of worldwide freelancers.

The Next Web Podcast

The Next Web is a media outlet that covers everything related to technology and entrepreneurship. It is a global media network with award-winning technology events, as well as a tech hub label, delivering innovation programs to businesses and governments. They provide information, inspiration, and connection for those who adore, understand, and are enthusiastic about the potential of technology.

Remember that the best opportunities come when you least expect them. So don’t be afraid to make connections and try something new because you never know what could happen.

Just be open to the possibilities when they appear in front of you, and you never know where they might take you.