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Lodewijk Asscher's participation contract: translation

20th December 2013, Comments 8 comments

The government is planning to ask most categories of immigrants in the Netherlands to sign a declaration that they will participate in Dutch society and uphold its values.

Here is an unofficial translation of the text:

Welcome to the Netherlands!

You have just come to live in the Netherlands or have been here for a while. We would like to inform you about Dutch society and things which are important here. Here in the Netherlands, we consider participation to be very important. As are values such as freedom, equality and solidarity. These values are connected to rights which also apply to you.

In the Netherlands, everyone may think, do and say what he will. This means that:

Everyone can express their own opinions

Everyone may have their own belief or lifestyle

Everyone has the right to make their own choices and independence

There are boundaries to this. What someone says or does may never conflict with the law. For example, you may not deliberately insult someone, discriminate against them or stimulate hatred.


In the Netherlands, all citizens are treated equally. All citizens have the same rights and duties: men, women, homosexuals, heterosexuals, believers, non-believers, etc. Discrimination is not accepted.


In the Netherlands, we ask citizens to help each other and support each other if necessary. Together, citizens are responsible for society. Citizens have the right to live in a safe environment, to decent housing, to fair labour contracts, a minimum wage when they work, good education and good medical care. The government has a duty to protect people against exploitation and unfair treatment. In principle, citizens must ensure they can look after themselves. If that is not possible, and no-one else can help, the government will offer help.


In the Netherlands, we ask all citizens to contribute to a pleasant and safe society, for example, by working, going to school or doing voluntary work. This can be done in the neighbourhood, at school or through an association. Speaking Dutch is very important in this.

I declare that I have taken note of the above listed Dutch society values and that I will be pleased to carry them out. I declare that I want to make an active contribution to Dutch society and that I expect to be given the space and the cooperation of my fellow citizens to do this.

© DutchNews.nl

8 Comments To This Article

  • elvis posted:

    on 3rd January 2014, 14:53:15 - Reply

    @woods: 1.2% wealth tax assumes you make 4% interest on your savings and taxes 30% of it. So 30% of the 4% interest is 1.2% tax on the actual savings. The problem (I call it stupidity) of the law is they "assume" you make 4% interest even if you don't. Funny fact is all Dutch banks pay now about 1.2% interest on your savings so effectively, all you make on your savings goes to tax office.

    The only solution my lawyer told me is 30% tax rule holders can file as non-resident tax payer and then they can be exempt from this. It means some skilled expats are safe for the first 10 years here and if by then they have not yet found a job in a good place or retirement spot, they will be screwed.

    Enjoy bicycling in holland...
  • Jane posted:

    on 3rd January 2014, 11:44:12 - Reply

    there is a wealth tax free limit of around 18.000 per family on which no 1.2% tax will be due. Over that threshold, you pay 1.2% wealth each year over and over again. In theory, after doing this 100years, you would have legally handed over your entire savings to the dutch tax office (100y x 1.2% = 102% taken away from the total of your bank balance and other assets). There must be a reason why millionaires do no line up at the Dutch border, but do do so in places like Monaco or HK. Obviously, they respect the money they earned.
  • Woods posted:

    on 2nd January 2014, 17:15:30 - Reply

    Thanks, Kim, I'm much obliged for your explanation. So it's 1.2% on the entire amount, not just what's over the limit? It seems, after some research, that the only way to 'up' the limit (to €56,000), is by opening a savings account using a bank which has a groencertificaat. Unfortunately these are (very!) few and far between, have very low interest rates and all sorts of other restrictions. Ridiculously there is, currently, only one bank with this certificate. Frankly, you're better off stuffing any savings under your mattress - less change of a burglar nicking it than the Dutch tax-man.

    And I expect the inheritance tax loophole was closed long ago - I was talking about 30-40 years ago - no such luck now :(
  • kim posted:

    on 2nd January 2014, 14:58:18 - Reply

    @ woods, the 1.2% savings tax is not on 'interest earned'. It really is 1.2% on the whole of your assets and bank balance. Here is why: in fact, it is 30% tax on a 'deemed' interest income of 4%, which thus results in an equivalent tax of 1.2% flat calculated on any assets you have. Note the word 'deemed'. Nobody ever since recession manage to get himself a 4% interest income return on his assets. Yet, the tax office wouldn't care less. They keep on 'deeming' that you DO make 4% interest income, even if you don't, it remains entirely irrelevant to them, even if you wanted to prove your case (someone already tried it once).

    As for giving away your assets before dying, that is untrue, as it will be taxed if the tax authorities either notice that you go over the 'exempted' gift threshold (annual threshold of around 5.000EUR). Additionally, if one is ill and possibly dying and decided to give away wealth -before- death, then the tax office will 'deem' that it is 'Inheritance' (or a 'gift') for which steep inheritance/gift tax rates apply. There is no point in fighting tax offices that they ought -not- to deem a wealth handover as a gift/inheritance, because they simply have the right to deem it as such anyway, regardless of your true facts which may show it was not inheritance after all. Tax office has the right to exercise tax imposing on assets transfer, like it or not.

    I can't imagine anyone finding it worthwhile to build up a fortune in the Netherlands, if all what will happen is that it gets taken away sooner or later to ensure, just like in a good communist country, that not a single family gets a chance to actually build up transgenerational wealth at any point.
  • woods posted:

    on 2nd January 2014, 14:04:08 - Reply

    Incidentally, they have something similar in the UK for non-European citizens' spouses/partners who want to settle, except it's MUCH harder, and actually an exam which they must pass. It's called the Life in the UK Test, and will also cost you, near as dammit, 1000 quid.
  • Woods posted:

    on 2nd January 2014, 13:51:47 - Reply

    Ingrid, I agree that tax here is abominable. You get more here for tax evasion than you do for murder :) And the inheritance tax is why many Dutch give the kids their inheritance before they die. I became Dutch about 20 years ago, because I became very ill and had a 4-year old. It made it easier for my Dutch friends who would adopt her should I die. As you can see I didn't and, sadly, have regretted my decision ever since.
    By the way, isn't that 1.2% savings tax on the interest 'earned', not the amount saved itself?
  • Ingrid posted:

    on 24th December 2013, 15:53:07 - Reply

    Freya, nobody I know out of my expat circle even -wants- to become Dutch. They just get themselves an EU blue card (EU Permanent Residency card) and can still move around freely in EU, claim unemployment benefits, and take on jobs anywhere within EU. So why on earth do you think any intelligent high skilled expat would want to fight to get a Dutch pass??? Let's make a list of downsides, shall we: - welfare is not accessible if you own a house, which is ridiculous, because in most countries they understand that you can't just sell a house, sleep on the street and then rent one as a roof at an even higher rate. In other words, Holland is stealing from the Dutch by taking 52% income tax, and never granting them access to basic welfare when in need. - tax of as high as (!!) 52% kicks in at a mid skilled level job salary - if you hold a top position, you get to pay 60% and 'crisis heffing' tax 16%, total 75%, so you get to spend 24% nett. Who in their right mind wants to sell his skills at such a low 'dutch' return? - on savings, mind you from 20k already, 1,2% wealth tax is due, so do that 100y and the Dutch legally robbed you from your bank account - die in NL or even while retiring in Argentina, the Dutch tax man will come tax your kids Inheritance tax of up to 35% just -because- you hold a DUTCH passport. If you are English and lived in NL all your life and retire in Argentina, you don't get slapped with Inheritance tax. So WHY do you think in your vanity that anybody is even remotely interested in your wonderful Dutch pasport???? Now a swiss passport, at the other hand, now, THAT would be something an expat would be fighting for. [Edited by moderator]
  • Freya Holtrop posted:

    on 23rd December 2013, 15:11:37 - Reply

    A very good plan, but.... I miss that it is oblligatory. When living in a country permanenty or with the plan to llive there permanently, one should adapt himself/herself to the customs and laws of that country. And if you don´t like their laws, and don´t want to obey them, look for another country to live in.