The Expat Centre Leiden in 2017

5 January 2018

At present, over 12,000 internationals live in the Leiden region with their families. The Expat Centre Leiden (ECL) offers internationals support in virtually every area concerning emigrating to and settling in the Netherlands. Besides government services, the ECL also provides information on housing and schooling in the region and offers a helping hand when it comes to social life: the ECL organises various events which help internationals to start building a social network in their new place of residence. Just one year ago, the ECL started the municipal registration service, and we were already able to assist many internationals and expats in 2017. We can look back on a successful year.

An article by Expat Centre Leiden
Lees hier het Nederlandstalige artikel

In 2017, the Expat Centre Leiden provided over 500 internationals with a citizen service number (BSN). This is a personal number required by anyone who wishes to live, work or study in the Netherlands. You also need a BSN if you wish to open a bank account or require health care in the Netherlands. If you wish to start a life in the Netherlands, obtaining a BSN is essential.

Arrange your registration
Arranging your registration at the ECL is easy, you will receive a BSN on the spot. Internationals can make an appointment to visit the ECL at the Leiden tourist information office (VVV Leiden), where they will be assisted with their registration and receive additional information on living and working in the Netherlands. The ECL is affiliated with the municipality of Leiden but also processes registrations for internationals settling in the municipalities of Katwijk, Leiderdorp, Oegstgeest, Voorschoten and Zoeterwoude.

The Expat Centre Leiden offers online information about registering in the Persons Database (Basisregistratie Personen). Visit our website for information on who is required to register and how to make an appointment.

After your registration, other questions may come mind. In order to answer such questions, the ECL has joined forces with ACCESS: a non-profit organisation that provides assistance to the international community in the Netherlands. The ACCESS staff consists of enthusiastic volunteers who can answer questions about living and working in the Netherlands. The volunteers are expats who have experienced the process of relocating to the Netherlands. This partnership contributes to the ECL’s services which provide a personal and professional helping hand to aid internationals in finding their way in the Netherlands and start building a life here.

HR Support for businesses
Besides internationals, the Expat Centre Leiden also provides services for international businesses already established or planning to set up in Leiden. Businesses that wish to set up in the Netherlands can consult with the ECL about necessary procedures and legal aspects. In addition, we also offer assistance in creating an optimal work environment for international employees. The ECL knows the international community in the region and has extensive knowledge about the wishes and needs of internationals who live in or intend to move to the Netherlands. Thanks to this expertise, the ECL is equipped to provide businesses and human resources departments with sound advice on the subject, and contribute to the optimization of the work environment of internationals.

Network and events
How do you get to know people and build a social network in the Netherlands? This can prove to be quite challenging when you are also busy moving house, running a family and working. The Expat Centre Leiden can offer assistance and organises regular events for expats and internationals. During these events, we provide information and organise fun activities. A simple and fun way of getting into contact with other internationals and getting acquainted with the international community in the city.

The ECL is also involved in initiatives to help expats and internationals in the city connect with the local residents. We Are Leiden and Leiden MIX are two examples of the low-threshold projects which make it easy for expats and internationals to participate.

At present, over 12,000 internationals live in the Leiden region, approximately 3600 of which are expats, not counting family members. This number increases annually by approximately 8 per cent. The Expat Centre Leiden wishes to expand its range of services for this increasing group of new residents. We were already able to offer many services in 2017, and we intend to continue expanding the possibilities to assist in every aspect of coming to, settling in and living in the Leiden region.

By creating a one-stop shop for formalities with an organisation such as the ECL, and offering additional information and services, it will become easier for internationals to arrange their arrival and stay in the Netherlands. Therefore, the ECL intends to open an IND (Immigration and Naturalisation Service) desk in the future. The IND assesses all residence applications of people who wish to live in the Netherlands or want to become a Dutch citizen. In addition, this year, the ECL aspires to organise even more events in order to expand and reinforce the network of expats and internationals in the region.

Corine van der Ceelen, Manager Expat Centre Leiden


About Corine van der Ceelen
Corine van der Ceelen is responsible for the day-to-day management of the Expat Centre Leiden. Corine is a human resources expert and has lived and worked abroad for many years. In 2016 she moved to the Netherlands and set to work building and developing the ECL. Corine aims to provide expats and internationals in the Leiden region with as much service and assistance as possible.


Achievements Expat Centre Leiden 2017


Read the interview with Corine van der Ceelen