Top 10 Highest Paying Jobs in the Netherlands

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If you’re about to leave school, you need to start planning for the future, and that means deciding what you want to do with your life: do you want to become a vet, pursue a career as a lawyer or perhaps follow your passion for singing? Once you’ve figured out what career path you want to take, you need to decide where you’ll start: will it be overseas or somewhere a little closer to home?

If you’ve got your heart set on the Netherlands, there are plenty of financially rewarding opportunities available to you there. After all, it’s one of the best countries in Europe to work in terms of salary. In fact, the minimum wage in the Netherlands is about £2.51 more than in the UK per day. That’s about £130.52 more you can spend on marijuana every year!

Now, if that seals the deal for you, but you’re still kind of stuck on what you want to do in your career, we’ve put together this little list of the 10 top-paying jobs in the country for some inspiration!

10. Detectives

What they do: Detectives collect evidence and analyse the facts in a criminal case. Their work generally involves interviewing witnesses and suspects, examining records involved with a case, observing suspects and taking part in arrests.

What they earn: The average annual salary for this profession is €64,313 (£56,135).

How to become one: Detectives usually begin as police officers and work their way up. To become a private detective, meanwhile, you must undergo specialist training which typically lasts two years.

9. Notaries

What they do: Notaries are legal professionals who are licensed by the government to perform certain legal formalities. Their work generally involves serving as witnesses in the signing of documents and administering oaths.

What they earn: Notaries are paid, on average, €65,728 (£57,370) annually.

How to become one: To pursue this profession, you’ll first need to obtain a notarial law degree. You’ll also need to have at least six years’ experience as a junior notary and complete the notarial professional training course.

8. Maritime captains

What they do: Maritime captains have the ultimate command of a merchant vessel and are responsible for its safe and efficient operation. This includes managing the crew, ensuring the vessel complies with local and international law, and overseeing cargo operations.

What they earn: As a maritime captain, you can earn about €66,996 (£58,477) on an annual basis.

How to become one: You’ll need to complete a four-year undergraduate programme, which includes a six-month internship. You can also enter the profession through an MBO (middelbaar beroepsonderwijs) programme which typically lasts two and a half years.

7. Commercial directors

What they do: Commercial directors are responsible for leading their company through the commercial landscape. Their work generally involves overseeing product development, identifying new market opportunities, directing marketing operations and determining pricing to ensure profits and customer satisfaction.

What they earn: Money-wise, commercial directors rake in €72,820 (£63,552) a year.

How to become one: A relevant undergraduate degree is a standard prerequisite, although some employers may require a postgraduate degree. You’re also expected to possess several years’ experience in a management role.

6. HR directors

What they do: HR directors are tasked with planning and implementing budgets, policies and procedures related to human resources, including staffing, labour relations, training, compensation and compliance.

What they earn: In terms of salary, HR directors earn about €72,092 (£62,916) annually.

How to become one: To pursue this profession, you’ll generally need to complete a relevant undergraduate degree.

5. Business economists

What they do: Business economists are specialist analysts who focus on the structural side of business. Their work typically involves researching and analysing economic issues, conducting surveys and collecting data, and formulating plans to address economic problems.

What they earn: The average annual salary for business economists is €78,041 (£68,108).

How to become one: An undergraduate degree in economics is essential. A business-related course, meanwhile, can be useful, while a postgraduate degree may be required for some positions.

4. Company directors

What they do: A company director is an appointed or elected member of the board of directors of a company. They are responsible for ensuring their company’s strategic objectives and plans are met, analysing and monitoring the progress of its employees in meeting those objectives, as well as appointing and hiring senior managers for specific departments.

What they earn: Company directors earn about €86,112 (£75,152) a year.

How to become one: Although there aren’t any set requirements to become a company director, a bachelor’s degree can be useful and you’ll generally need to have extensive prior experience in a management role.

3. Lawyers

What they do: Lawyers represent clients in court, draw up legal documents and manage or advise clients on legal transactions. They may specialise in a single area (like copyright, criminal, family or real estate law) or may practice broadly in many different areas of law.

What they earn: Lawyers in the Netherlands earn about €104,561 (£91,258) a year.

How to become one: To become a licensed lawyer (Advocaat) in the Netherlands, you’ll need to complete an undergraduate law degree, a master of law degree and, finally, a three-year apprenticeship.

2. Pilots

What they do: Pilots fly aircraft, including planes and helicopters, and may work for an airline which transports people and cargo on a fixed schedule or for a company that offers charter flights.

What they earn: Pilots are among the highest paid professionals in the aviation industry. In the Netherlands, their salaries average €110,676 (£96,595) per year.

How to become one: To become an airline pilot, you must undergo a minimum of two years’ flight training. The best-known training provider in the country is the KLM Flight Academy (in Dutch only).

1. Medical specialists

What they do: Medical specialists are doctors who have completed advanced education and clinical training in a specific area of medicine. They include anaesthesiologists, cardiologists, gynaecologists, neurologists, paediatricians and psychiatrists.

What they earn: Medical specialists in the Netherlands make the most money in the country, earning an average €126,131 (£110,112) a year. They’re the only professionals on this list to earn over the 100k mark – having said that, however, the other salaries aren’t too shabby, either.

How to become one: You’ll need to complete a medical degree (which typically lasts six years), which is followed by working in a training institution such as a hospital. You’ll then undergo a specialist training programme which can take anywhere between four and six years to complete, and finally register with the Registratiecommissie Geneeskundig Specialisten (RGS).

If you want to pursue a career abroad but you’re not sure the Netherlands is the right place for you, make sure you check out our list of the highest paying jobs in the world.

Meanwhile, if you’ve got anything you’d like to add, simply join the conversation down below and tell us what’s on your mind!


Salary information is based on data compiled and published by (in Dutch only). Hourly wages were multiplied by 2,080 (the number of hours worked in 52 workweeks for 40 hours) to calculate annual salaries. Euro – Pound sterling conversions are based on rates provided by on 7 June 2017.

This article was originally published in February 2015.