Visitors & Newcomers

The Max Planck Institute is located approximately 4 km south of the centre of Nijmegen. Although it overlooks one of the city’s main thoroughfares, it is tucked away in the woods, sheltered from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Nijmegen has the honour of being able to call itself the oldest city in the Netherlands, with a history dating back to the Roman siege in AD69. It is situated along one of the busiest rivers in Europe, the Waal, and is close to the German border. It is little more than an hour away from some of the larger Dutch and German metropolitan cities, such as Amsterdam and Düsseldorf.

On this page you will find all the information you need for travelling to and from, and staying in Nijmegen.

Getting here

How to get to Nijmegen

By plane:
The international airport in the Netherlands is Schiphol, Amsterdam. There is a direct train between Schiphol Airport and Nijmegen every 30 minutes. The journey takes 1.5 hours.

The international airports in Germany closest to Nijmegen are Düsseldorf Airport and Weeze Airport. From Düsseldorf Airport there is a train to Nijmegen every 2 hours (via Duisburg and Arnhem). From Weeze Airport you can catch a direct shuttle bus, which terminates at Nijmegen train station.

By international train:
The easiest way to reach Nijmegen from Germany is to take the international line from Cologne/Düsseldorf to Amsterdam as far as Arnhem. Here you will find a direct connection to Nijmegen.

From Hannover/Osnabrück, you should change trains in Deventer.

From France or Belgium, you should change trains in Roosendaal for direct connections to Nijmegen.

Useful links:
Schiphol Airport
Düsseldorf Airport
Weeze Airport
Nederlandse Spoorwegen (Dutch Railways)
Deutsche Bahn (German Railways)
For up-to-date public transport information during your stay in the Netherlands, please visit the 9292 travel website.

 

How to get to the MPI

By bus:
There are many direct bus lines from Nijmegen central train station to the Institute. To plan your trip, we recommend using the 9292 travel information website.

From the "UMC Sint Radboud" and "Erasmusgebouw" bus stops, walk towards Erasmuslaan and turn onto Comeniuslaan. Continue straight ahead and follow the small path through the trees towards the Institute. You will find the main entrance on your left.

From the "Houtlaan" bus stop walk towards St. Annastraat and turn right onto Wundtlaan. Here you will see a big sign for the MPI.

By car:
Plan your trip using Google Maps.

By taxi:
It costs approximately €10 to get from the train station to the Institute. You can catch a taxi at the taxi stand at the station. If you need a taxi from the Institute to the station, you can ask the reception to order one for you.

Useful links:
Nijmegen local bus timetables

Where to stay

Looking for a place to stay in the city of Nijmegen? Here are some options:

Radboud University Guesthouse

The Radboud University Guesthouse is intended for new staff, guest researchers and guest lecturers of the university, the hospital and all associated institutes, such as the Donders Institute and the Max Planck Institute.
The Guesthouse is situated on campus (on Heyendaalseweg - Platolaan). It forms part of a larger residential complex, built in cooperation with Radboud University. The other four high-rise buildings comprise residential units for students. The Guesthouse is the high-rise building at the end of the row, adjacent to Brakkenstein park.

For detailed information, please visit the Guesthouse website.

For reservations, please fill in the Guesthouse application form and email it to Edith Sjoerdsma at the Operations Department. She will add the details of the contact person and send the form to the SSHN office.

 

Hotels and Bed & Breakfasts

There are several hotels and bed & breakfasts in Nijmegen and the two nearby villages of Berg en Dal and Heilig Landstichting. Nijmegen city centre is fewer than 3 km from the Institute. Berg en Dal is approximately 3.5 km from the Institute and 4 km from the centre of Nijmegen. Heilig Landstichting is just over 1 km from the Institute and approximately 4 km from Nijmegen.

If you wish to book a hotel, please see this overview of hotels in Nijmegen. If you are looking for a bed & breakfast, please visit this website.

Here you will also find a list of various affordable long- and short-stay accommodation options in Nijmegen. Please note that due to tax (VAT) increases, which were introduced on 1 January 2019, prices may have gone up slightly.

 

Housing

Finding long-term/permanent housing in Nijmegen can be extremely difficult. We recommend you start your search as soon as possible.

We also advise informing Edith Sjoerdsma about your housing search and preferences. She often receives offers for houses/apartments/rooms offered by private owners and she also might know of MPI employees who want to rent out their place. Please note that due to tax (VAT) increases, which were introduced on 1 January, 2019, prices may have gone up slightly.

Here you will also find a list of various affordable long- and short-stay accommodation options in Nijmegen.
If you are a PhD student, you can register with the SSHN (Students’ Housing Foundation), which has apartments available for students. However, you may have to wait several months to get one.

As a PhD student, you can also register with Radboud University’s International Office. To do so, please send an e-mail to the housing department (housing@io.ru.nl).

Useful websites for finding accommodation are Huurwoningen, Kamers, Pararius, Woningtarget, Funda, Regionapartments, Kamernet and REBO huurwoning. Please note: for some of those websites you have to pay a registration fee to access their databases.


Please also check advertisements on noticeboards throughout the university, in libraries, and in supermarkets.
Rental agencies Flore Vastgoed and Expatdesk Nijmegen offer furnished apartments for temporary rental periods, especially for new expats just arriving in Nijmegen. Please contact Angela Heuts for more information.

You can also contact other rental agencies, such as BP Homeleasing, Vrijbeheer, 24Homerentals, Dolfijn Wonen, Direct Wonen, Dito Vastgoed, Executive Home Rentals, Kamer Beheer Service or Rotsvast. Intermediaries such as these often respond quickly, but it can be quite an expensive way of finding somewhere to live. You will first need to pay a registration fee to access their database (in which the address and contact details have been blurred to prevent you from contacting landlords directly). Then, if they succeed in securing a deal for you, they demand at least one months' rent. Apartments offered by intermediaries like these are usually quite expensive. Due to the liberalisation of the housing market, intermediaries are not bound by the house valuation system (outlined below), which effectively means that, contrary to student accommodation or private rooms, there is no upper limit to the amount that they may demand as rent.

Make sure you are clear with your landlord or rental agency about what the conditions are for the return of your deposit. In general, Dutch rental properties are expected to be returned in exactly the same condition as when first rented out. This may mean removing any improvements or additions to the property you have made, but be sure to consult your landlord.

The "Algemene Bepalingen huurovereenkomst woonruimte" form part of the rental contract. If you would like to receive the English version of this, please contact Angela Heuts.

The Dutch government has strict legislation surrounding the legal rights and obligations of tenants and landlords. More information about these is available on the Rijksoverheid (government) website.

If you have a complaint about the rent, maintenance, or safety of your accommodation that your landlord hasn't resolved, you may be able to get free legal advice on a range of subjects from the Juridisch Loket.

Many private apartments qualify for a rent subsidy (Huurtoeslag) from the Dutch government. This could significantly lower your monthly rent. To qualify, you must be registered with the municipality and you must have a valid residence permit for the Netherlands. Please check the Tax Authority/Rent subsidy website for more information.

Home contents insurance (Inboedelverzekering) is generally inexpensive and covers everything in your house against theft and fire damage. For information and advice, please visit this website about home contents insurance. Insurance companies will often offer a discount on contents insurance if you also purchase other types of insurance from them as well.

If you need to find an energy supplier, you can check the onlineenergievergelijker website. This site helps you compare and switch suppliers, and allows consumers to read the policy and contracts before choosing.

Nijmegen and surrounding area

Anyone driving across the bridge into the centre of Nijmegen will understand why the locals are so proud of their city: the waterfront set against the backdrop of the city centre is a splendid sight. Past and present go hand in hand; historic buildings are interspersed with fine examples of modern architecture.

Nijmegen, the oldest city in the Netherlands, is situated on a range of hills near the river Waal. The city has attracted people since its very foundation. The surrounding area features hills, woods, and polders, creating a varied countryside offering a range of recreational opportunities to both locals and tourists alike.

Useful information about Nijmegen in general and about all kind of activities (also available in English) is provided on the Municipality of Nijmegen's website.

If you are looking for general information about the city and tourist activities, please get in touch with the VVV for Nijmegen/Arnhem (tourist information office).

For up-to-date information on entertainment activities in and around Nijmegen, please check Nijmegen Online.

Facilities at the MPI

The following facilities are available at the MPI:

Wi-Fi

eduroam - If you have an eduroam account from another organisation, your device will automatically connect to our eduroam network when you arrive.

MPI Guest - If you do not have an eduroam account, you will receive a personal login code and password for the MPI Guest network at the Reception desk. It will be valid throughout your stay.

Conference room

Capacity for 150 attendees
Windows 10 computer for PowerPoint (2016) presentations and two built-in displays (speaker notes and presentation)
Audio and video connections for laptops (VGA, HDMI type A)
Full-HD wide-screen projector
Fixed and wireless microphone
 
Formalities

Before coming to the Netherlands, and depending on your nationality, you might be required obtain a residence permit. As immigration regulations change frequently, it is advisable to always first check the latest regulations with the Dutch Embassy/Consulate in your home country or contact Angela Heuts in our Operations Department.

Since it also is important for the MPI that you have the correct paperwork for residing and working in the Netherlands, the Operations Department will also inform you about any procedures you will need to complete before coming to the Netherlands.

Below you will find more information about some of the things you will need to organise before or shortly after your arrival in Nijmegen.

Residence permit

EU/EER and Swiss citizens:

As an EU/EER or Swiss citizen, you do not need a residence permit or registration sticker to stay in the Netherlands. If you wish to stay more than 4 months, you will need to register at the Municipality in which you are living (please see the Registration page on the Municipality of Nijmegen's website for more information).

Non-EU citizens:

If you are a non-EU citizen and you wish to reside and work in the Netherlands for more than 3 months, you will need to apply for a residence permit.

For most scientific positions, our Institute has a special agreement with the IND, which allows us to employ scientists faster. For those scientists we can request a special researcher residence/work permit.

If this applies to you, the Operations Department will inform you and arrange the necessary procedures on your behalf.

We recommend visiting the following websites. They provide some very useful information about living in the Netherlands and in the city of Nijmegen:

Immigratie- en Naturalisatiedienst (IND)
Euraxess the Netherlands
Just landed - Netherlands
Expatdesk Nijmegen
Nuffic (particularly useful for PhD students)

If you have any questions or need any help, please contact Angela Heuts in the Operations Department.

Registering at the Municipality of Nijmegen

If you are not a Dutch national and you want to stay in the Netherlands for a period longer than 3 months, you must register in the Gemeentelijke Basisadministratie (GBA) upon your arrival in Nijmegen.

The address of the Municipality of Nijmegen is:
De Stadswinkel
Loket Burgerzaken
Mariënburg 30
6511 PS Nijmegen

Registration is by appointment only; you cannot just turn up at the Municipality offices. Please contact Angela Heuts in the Operations Department. She will arrange this appointment for you.

You (and your family members, if applicable) must go to the appointment in person and take the following documents:

Valid identification papers (passport) (for all family members, if applicable)
Legalised (authenticated with an apostille*) copy of your birth certificate (for all family members, if applicable)
Legalised (authenticated with an apostille) copy of your marriage certificate (if applicable)
Legalised (authenticated with an apostille) copy of your unmarried status declaration (if applicable)
Copy of the rental agreement for your new address in Nijmegen

You are also obliged to inform both the Municipality (Digitale Balie, verhuizing) and the Operations Department every time you change address within or outside Nijmegen.

*An apostille is a stamp attached to an official document. Documents furnished with an apostille are then recognised as genuine by governments of other countries. The granting of an apostille is also known as "legalisation". You will have to pay to have documents apostilled. Please be aware that it may take several weeks to obtain copies of certificates and to get apostilles.

Health insurance

Health insurance for MPI employees with a work contract

Health insurance provides insurance cover for the cost of medical care. If you work and pay income tax in the Netherlands, you are subject to Dutch social security legislation.

This means you are obliged by law to take out health insurance. Please note that this has to be done within the first 3 months after your arrival in the Netherlands. If you do not arrange this on time, you might receive a fine!

A health insurance policy is a Dutch insurance policy that provides coverage for healthcare costs and meets the requirements of the Dutch Health Insurance Act (Zorgverzekeringswet).

If you already are insured for healthcare costs in your own country, you still have to take out health insurance in the Netherlands. It is compulsory for you to have Dutch health insurance throughout the entire period that you work in the Netherlands.

You must take out health insurance from a health insurance provider yourself. Every health insurance provider is obliged to accept you for insurance under the basic health insurance package. Your health and age are irrelevant. The healthcare covered by the basic health insurance package is the same for every health insurance provider.

The premium payable may vary, depending on the health insurance provider. Children under 18 years of age do not pay a premium.

If you work in the Netherlands, any family members (partner and children) resident in a treaty country are entitled to have their healthcare costs in their country of residence paid for under their Dutch insurance policy. You must therefore pay a contribution for any family members over the age of 18. In order to receive healthcare under Dutch insurance in their country of residence, your family members will need to register. Ask your healthcare insurance provider for a registration form.

The healthcare covered by the basic package includes care by general practitioners and specialists, hospital care, medicines, dental care up to the age of 22, specialist dental care and dentures. Your health insurance provider can provide you with more information about the basic coverage, how the costs will be reimbursed, and the healthcare providers from whom you can receive medical care.

You pay a monthly premium to your health insurance provider for your health insurance. You also pay monthly for any family members who are registered.

For insured persons aged 18 and over, there is a compulsory excess of €385 for the basic health insurance package. This means that you will have to pay the first €385 towards your healthcare costs yourself. This excess applies per person. The compulsory excess does not apply for general practitioner care, natal care, maternity care, and the dental care package for young people up to the age of 22. The excess does not apply for children up to the age of 18.

Policyholders can also opt to pay a voluntary excess. Options for this voluntary excess vary, depending on the healthcare insurance provider. You are not obliged to opt for a voluntary excess. However, the advantage is that opting for a voluntary excess means a lower premium. The disadvantage is that you will have to pay part of the costs yourself.

If you take out healthcare insurance too late, you will be fined and you will have to pay all medical costs yourself. This also applies to family members living in a treaty country who register too late.

If you do not live in the Netherlands and resign or are dismissed from your job, you are no longer covered by Dutch social security legislation. You must then cancel your healthcare insurance.

Would you prefer to have more extensive insurance coverage? In that case, you can opt for additional healthcare insurance. It is not compulsory to take out additional healthcare insurance.

For more information about the various health insurance providers, please check Zorgwijzer-zorgvergelijker.
When applying for health insurance you need a BSN number, a Dutch bank account number and a residence permit (if applicable).
Once your health insurance policy number has been confirmed, you can register with a GP near your home address. To find a GP near you, you can check the Yellow Pages, under Artsen-Huisartsen.

For more general information about health insurance in the Netherlands, please check the Ministerie van VWS website.

Not everyone has the same level of income. In order to ensure that everyone can pay the health insurance premium, the Dutch government introduced a healthcare allowance (Zorgtoeslag). This covers some of the cost of the premium. Eligibility for the healthcare allowance is dependent on income. If you earn less than a specific amount, you will be entitled to the healthcare allowance. The lower your income, the higher your healthcare allowance will be. The healthcare allowance covers part of the premium. For more information, please check Belastingdienst/Zorgtoeslag.
 
Collective agreement between MPI and the insurance company CZ

The Institute has a collective agreement with the insurance company CZ, which entitles MPI employees to a discount on the various insurance packages. For further information and an English CZ information folder, please contact Angela Heuts in the Operations Department.
 
Health insurance for expats at the MPI (without a work contract)

Expats and their family who are not obliged to take out insurance in the Netherlands should take out comprehensive, good-value health insurance with an international healthcare provider.

Recommended international healthcare providers are Allianz Worldwide Care, Bupa Global, Cigna Global Health Benefits and Aetna International. All are renowned insurance providers who have a great deal of experience in insurance for expats.
 
Health insurance for students doing an internship at the MPI (without a work contract)

IPS Insurance offers a complete cross-border insurance policy for your stay abroad, anywhere in the world, for the duration of your stay.

IPS covers students coming from abroad for an internship, to study, or for exchange programmes.

The IPS insurance policy offers extensive coverage for: medical and urgent dental treatment, special expenses and assistance, accidents, liability, legal assistance, and loss of baggage.

Visit the IPS website for more information and to apply for direct cover.

Liability insurance

In the Netherlands, you are legally liable if someone suffers damage through a mistake or accident caused byyou. That means that you must compensate the other person for the damage suffered. Personal liability insurance (Wettelijke Aansprakelijkheidsverzekering) protects you against this. We recommend arranging this upon arrival. For example, when renting a house from a private owner, you are required to have this insurance.

For more information and price quotations, please check Aansprakelijkheidsverzekering vergelijken. The Institute has a collective agreement with the insurance company Centraal Beheer Achmea, which entitles MPI employees to a discount on the various insurance packages.

Burgerservicenumber

The tax and social security number, Burgerservicenumber (BSN), is a personal identification number. For all tax payers in the Netherlands, this number is recorded in the Belastingdienst’s database (Tax and Customs Administration).

The BSN is an entirely arbitrary number that does not contain any information about the person to whom it has been assigned.
When you live and work in the Netherlands, you will automatically receive a BSN within approximately 1 week after registering at the Municipality of Nijmegen. For more information, please visit this website about the Burgerservicenumber.

To transfer your salary, the Operations Department will need to know your BSN and Dutch bank account number.

Bank account

If you intend to stay in the Netherlands for a longer period of time, receive a regular salary, and pay rent, you will need to open a bank account at a Dutch bank.

To open a Dutch bank account you will need to take with you a form of identification (ID card or passport), your BSN number, a copy of your work contract, proof of residence in the Netherlands, and a rental/housing contract.

Your bank will send you a debit card and PIN code in two separate letters. You can use this debit card to pay for things at payment terminals in shops etc. and to withdraw money at ATMs. Here you may also be able to see bank statements or even transfer money. Withdrawing money at an ATM is free at branches of your bank or banks that form part of the “Cash Group” bank association. However, if you use ATMs at other banks you will incur additional costs. Transfers abroad can also be expensive. The best course of action is to ask the bank in your own country whether it has a cooperation agreement with a Dutch financial institution. You can set up standing orders for regular payments such as rent, and it is also possible to provide authorisation for direct debits, i.e. regular but variable amounts (for example, for insurance or telephone contracts) are automatically debited from your account.

As well as the debit card, you can also use credit cards to make cash-free payments. You can also use these to make withdrawals at ATMs, although this usually involves additional costs. The most widely used credit cards in the Netherlands are Eurocard/Mastercard and Visa card. Please note that credit cards are not always accepted in supermarkets! Debit cards are more commonly used to make payments in Dutch shops, but sometimes there is a minimum amount for purchases.

There are several banks in Nijmegen. For addresses and additional information, please visit this website. ABN AMRO offers online banking in English.

DigiD

DigiD stands for Digital Identity. With a DigiD users can access a great number of online services offered by Dutch government agencies. DigiD is only available to people who are registered at a Dutch municipality (Dutch: gemeente) and have a burgerservicenummer. Please click here for more information about DigiD and to apply for a DigiD.

 

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