Expat zone
Posted on: Jun 01, 2013

My bank statement defines me in the Netherlands


This post is also available in Greek

There are quite a lot of things I still can’t get used of in the Netherlands, besides the cold! The house I live in is a bit crappy and I am so far away from Amsterdam, so far away also from my beloved friend Jacob (who is back in Greece) whom I could just visit whenever and however I pleased, even in my slippers. Despite all that though I don’t need to wait in endless bank lines like I did back in Greece, in order to pay my bills and argue with the morons that usually are on these lines. Here things get done online!

I opened a bank account using my BSN, and within 4 days I had my card by mail. You see, without a bank account and a card, nobody takes you seriously in the Netherlands. In the Netherlands you receive the respect you deserve from “society” according to your gross or net income.

You want to rent a house on your own and your income is not over 36.000? Good luck! You either have to waste days upon days searching through the Internet like a ninja in order to find some housing adverts, or a room, or even more people in order to cover the “requirements”. What they ask of you is simply your passport, so they know who you are, your bank account to check if you got any money (and how much), your work contract and letters of recommendation to prove that you were paying in time on your previous rental. After that, it will be decided if you are worthy to stay in the shitty house that some lucky, or clever, bastard, has in his possession and is renting it out.

You see again, in the Netherlands, you are what your work contract says and what your letter of recommendation says. It doesn't matter if you have 10 degrees or years of professional experience. I doesn't matter that you know, that no matter what, you will always pay your rent, and you will not be another expat that run off, even thought the electrical board of your house almost blew up.

The house is insured, don’t worry... Today you should stay somewhere else

I was told by my landlord when the circuit board that should have been changed a month and a half ago started to throw out sparks.

It was this guy that I gave, without a second thought, my bank account to check if I got any money to rent his house and letters that say that I am a good tenant. In Greece, if someone asked to see your bank account, it was at the least, insulting. Unless you didn't have any money in there, so you just messed around with people! Here, its the norm. You print your statement and share it everywhere. Everybody must have one!

And that is simply because in the Netherlands they tend to remind you, your social place in this life by adding in your face this: Salary requirement is more than 42.000 per year, for a 750/month rental, so you don’t forget.


Designer, marketer & a social media karate kid (No 4). When she grows up, she wants to feed the world with Greek food & Frappe. Admires the yellow angry bird because it strikes its targets with power and precision.