I still remember when I moved to the UK one of the biggest challenges was to open a bank account as you need utility bills to prove your address which you cant option without a bank account. So I was wondering how difficult it would be to open a bank account in the Netherlands.
Get your BSN (burgerservicenummer) or citizen number
Without your BSN number it will be next to impossible to open a bank account. Banks are required to register your BSN and most of them have a policy to not open accounts without it. If you obtained your BSN number opening an account is just a matter of minutes. Walk into a branch with your BSN number and passport or ID card, that’s it.
International or expatriate desks at banks
A number of banks have recognised the amount of expats in the Netherlands and have international teams and or branches. ABN Amro, for example, has international desks in major cities across the Netherlands. Not only do they speak most major languages, they also have all the paperwork in your language. Internet banking and mobile banking app are available in English, too. In the end, I went with ABN as I liked their international branch. Also, they allow you to open an account without a BSN but will close it after a number of weeks if you don’t provide a BSN within a certain timeframe.
Banking costs money
Contrary to many other countries, banking in the Netherlands isn`t free. Banks charge monthly fees for your account depending on the products you take out (i.e. credit cards) and transactions on your account. Some packages start from just EUR 1 per month.
Credit cards, overdrafts and loans
Banks work with a national debt register. You get automatically signed up for this when you open an account. All loans or other credit facilities get registered there including any late payments or defaults. Most banks will want to see a couple of months worth of salaries being credited to your account before issuing any credit lines.