The Hague International Centre: assisting expats in The Hague
We are at The Hague International Centre in the city’s iconic, pearly-white town hall. It’s the first port of call for foreign employees or expats of international companies and organisations. The Hague International Centre shows them the ropes when they arrive in the Netherlands and The Hague. This is where new residents of The Hague, Delft, Rijswijk and Leidschendam-Voorburg can begin to sort out various essential formalities, such as residence documents, registering with the municipality and acquiring information about living and working in the region. It’s the red carpet for newcomers.
Who is our guest?
Today, we’re interviewing Wilfred Assink, coordinator of The Hague International Centre. While we are talking in Dutch, we hear one of Wilfred’s colleagues speaking Hindi on the phone. Wilfred explains: “Besides their native language, everyone at The Hague International Centre also speaks English. In addition to the permanent staff, we have volunteers from many different countries through ACCESS. Once newcomers themselves, they now find it rewarding to help compatriots in their own language. For instance, a volunteer from China recently assisted a large Chinese delegation. Newcomers appreciate this enormously, and it works extremely well.”
“WE SPEAK A WIDE RANGE OF LANGUAGES AS THE HAGUE INTERNATIONAL CENTRE HAS VOLUNTEERS FROM MANY DIFFERENT COUNTRIES.”
When does The Hague International Centre come into the picture?
“Basically, immediately after we have successfully established contact with a company or organisation wishing to set up office in the city or the surrounding metropolitan area through the The Hague Business Agency. A lot of formalities then have to be sorted out, such as obtaining a national citizen service number and the necessary residence documents. These are legal requirements. For practical issues, the service provided by ACCESS is invaluable. Where do you find a family doctor who speaks your language? What residential neighbourhood would be ideal for you? What about parking permits? What international schools are there? The people at ACCESS know all this from their own experience or can quickly look it up.”
Why does The Hague International Centre also work for municipalities outside The Hague?
“Although The Hague International Centre started in The Hague, we gradually began registering new international residents in a number of outlying municipalities. In Voorschoten, incidentally, this concerns only highly skilled migrants and scientific researchers. We started doing this because the boundaries between the municipalities are fading – they’ve merged into each other. You only know this after you’ve lived here for a while. That’s why it’s easier to combine everything in a one-stop service.”
Where do new residents of The Hague and the wider region come from?
“Quite literally, everywhere! The Hague is increasingly seen as the International City of Peace and Justice. That alone has great appeal to NGOs and international students. As for businesses, we see a sharp increase in companies from India, but that’s only logical given The Hague has always had a strong IT cluster. The city has attracted the Indian Tech Mahindra, for example. And, of course, many people from China and various Anglo-Saxon countries come here. As The Hague has more than 100 nationalities, people from all over the world stop by at The Hague International Centre.”
Does The Hague International Centre also help newcomers who have been here for some time?
“Certainly! Often, you only know what you need once you’ve moved here. That’s when the practical issues come up, which is why the service provided by ACCESS is so useful. Not only do we ensure a soft landing, we also facilitate a pleasant stay in the Netherlands. This is obviously highly appreciated because Customer Contact Monitor reviews give us a score of 9.7. That means fortunately there are still some things we can improve!”
“THE VOLUNTEERS AT ACCESS ARE ESPECIALLY GOOD AT OFFERING PRACTICAL ADVICE.”
For more information about The Hague International Centre please contact:
City Hall (Atrium)
2511 BT The Hague
Telephone: +31 70 353 50 43
Doing Business in The Hague
The Hague Business Agency, who assist foreign companies with expansion to The Hague, works closely with The Hague International Centre. Together we provide a soft landing for the employees of these companies. Like to know more what we can do for you, so you can do business in The Hague, check our step-to-step guide.