Partner Meeting at Leiden International Centre

| Leiden International Centre

On Monday 11th March we gathered with our service provider partners to reflect together on the past 6 months: what had we achieved, how did we grow, and how did we progress as an International centre? It was also a chance for our partners to bring new ideas to the table, and strengthen the connections within our partner network. For all who missed out on this opportunity, and for those who are curious to learn more about our plans and services, this article offers a brief summary of the afternoon.

The meeting began with an introduction round, this was the first chance since our last get together for many of our partners to get to know each other, and to be introduced to the new partners who have joined us, such as our partner in healthcare Zorg en Zekerheid. We also had the opportunity to introduce our team and the new interns who recently joined it.

The first part of the meeting was focused on reporting on our work as Leiden International Centre. Our Helpdesk professional, Ruth Dixon, explained how BSN appointments, contact moments via email and video call are fundamental to the work we do and for referring internationals to our specialised service providers. Ruth also reported on the Frequently Asked Questions from 2023 which, were related to the BSN registration process, taxes, and in particular the 30% ruling, administrative matters regarding moving to the Netherlands, transport, finding housing, health insurance, and questions to do with education. Another important insight that was shared was on the temporary decrease in BSN registration requests currently, which is in line with the trends across the country and related possibly to the time of year.

Jenny Willcock, Manager of the International centre, then reported on our other initiatives, starting with our events. Every month we organise a Meet&Mingle, this is a chance for the international community in the Leiden region to gather and build important connections. We are also working together with the Municipality of Leiden to organise two larger editions of the Meet&Mingle in 2024, the next one being this April. We also co-organised events with our partners: we host regular mortgage consultations,, and we helped in the organisation of two tax webinars. Finally, we are working with Zorg en Zekerheid on an healthcare information event. We are always happy to join forces with our partners to organise similar events, so don’t hesitate to contact us for more information.

Our centre is constantly growing, and this is shown by our increased outreach through our online channels. This is important as our online channels are yet another chance for internationals to get to know our service providers. In particular, our monthly newsletter offers a selection of articles from our partners with tips and information for internationals who are always eager to learn more about living and settling in the Netherlands. A similar initiative is our corporate newsletter, which is instead directed to HR staff and companies in the region. Companies and employers can also stay up to date through our LinkedIn page, which in 2023 reached 1000+ followers.

Increasing our contact with employers is a goal for this year, for which we are working on initiatives like the External Experts lunch with Leiden Bio Science Park. This same goal is also shared by many of our partners, who are eager to know more about the struggles of the HR departments and meet them in order to improve their content offer on our channels.

Finally, it was announced that the bi-annual report on internationalisation by Decisio will be coming out soon. This is the most definitive research on internationals living in the Leiden region, and will be shared with our partners and collaborating municipalities.

The event concluded with a moment of networking, with complimentary drinks and snacks. It was a valuable and useful opportunity for all who attended, and for some of us, to finally meet in person and put a face next to the name. Our next partner meeting will be held in October, and we hope it will be another successful opportunity for connection.