This ‘Beauty Guide’ offers an overview of the cosmetology and hairdressing professions in Holland, national trade associations in the Netherlands, certifications to look for and what some relevant Dutch words mean in English…
This quick guide for expats in Holland provides a brief overview of the beauty industry, trade associations, professional certifications,the Dutch terms for common treatments and services and how to find a salon offering the type of service you are looking for here in South Holland. It also notes when there is a significant difference between how things work in the Netherlands compared to other countries such as the United States, Canada or UK.
Dutch Beauty Salons & Beauticians
The typical beauty salon in Holland has a physical appearance much like those found in other countries. The exception would be in the name and any advertising in the window. For the most part, these will be displayed in Dutch rather than English. For example, instead of looking for ‘beauty’ salons, you need to look instead for ‘schoonheid’ salons. The literal translation is ‘clean skin’. As for the actual physical shop where one gets a beauty treatment, they are called ‘schoonheidssalons’ or ‘schoonheidsinstituuts’.
Popular beauty treatments offered at ‘schoonheidssalons’ in the Netherlands include facials, manicures, pedicures, body wraps, hair removal/waxing and makeup. More intense treatments, such as micro-dermabrasion, LPL permanent hair removal, chemical peeling and permanent makeup, are also popular not offered at all salons as they require specific professional training to administer.
The beauty industry in the Netherlands is not regulated by the government. This means you are not required to have a specific degree or certification to be a beautician (‘schoonheidsspecialist’) or to open a beauty salon. The government leaves such monitoring and training to private organizations, such as ANBOS, the Dutch training certification association for beauticians, which has over 5,000 member salons. ANBOS requires a member to have graduated from a structured beauty education program. The ANBOS logo will often be displayed on the website and/or on the door of a member salon. When considering a schoonheidssalon for the first time in Holland, it is a good idea to look for the ANBOS logo on the salon’s website or a decal on the front door. You will feel more at ease knowing it is an ANBOS-registered salon.
Other Dutch terms to become familiar with are:
- gezichtsbehandelingen – facials
- huidverbetering – skin improvement
- huideverjonging – skin rejuvenation
- behandeling – treatment
- ontharen – hair removal
If you’ve regularly received Botox treatments or Restylane injections prior to arriving in Holland, you can continue with these in the Netherlands. A bit of trepidation at first is completely normal, being in a foreign country with different regulations. Horror stories about botched treatments leaving a patient with a drooping eyelid or over-inflated lips add to the stress. Bad results are far harder to disguise than say a bad haircut. It is understandable for one to feel a bit unnerved by the prospect of having to trust someone you don’t know to inject you, let alone having to do this in a foreign country. Will it be safe? Will it be done properly? Will the needles used be clean?
You can rest assured when you’re living in the Netherlands. Most anti-aging injectibles here in Holland are categorized as controlled substances. These include botulinum toxin (the active ingredient in Botox®) and hyaluronic acid (the active ingredient in Restylane® and Juviderm®). It means they can only be sold to and administered by licensed medical professionals. They must therefore be listed in the BIG registry.
The Dutch term for a doctor specialized in such treatments is ‘cosmetisch arts’ (cosmetic doctor). That’s not to say every doctor which administers Botox® will be a cosmetisch arts. A general physician (huisarts) or dentist (tandarts) is legally able to administer these injections as well.
In Holland, it is common for a beauty salon owner to have a relationship with a licensed cosmetisch arts, such that the doctor visits the salon regularly to administer such treatments to clients of the salon. Here’s a list of cosmetic specialists in The Hague, Wassenaar, Rotterdam, Leiden and surrounding areas of South Holland.
The Dutch word for hair is ‘haar’, but a hairstylist is more commonly referred to as a ‘kapper’. Likewise, a hair salon is commonly referred to as a ‘kapsalon’. There is not as much a distinction in Dutch terminology as there is in English between say a barber and a hairstylist. The term kapper can be used interchangeably to refer to either.
Haircutting, like beauty treatments, is not a trade regulated by the Dutch government in the Netherlands. A specific degree or certification is not required for a person to call themselves a kapper or to open a kapsalon. But there is a Dutch trade association specifically for professional haircutters, known as ANKO (Algemene Nederlandse Kappersorganisatie). When searching for a hair salon in Holland, it is a good idea to look for the ANKO logo on a salon’s website.
Aside from haar and kapper, a few other hair-related Dutch words to be aware of are:
- knip – cut
- wassen – wash
- drogen – drying
- fohnen – blow dry
- krullen – curls
- kleur – color
- kort – short
- lang – long
Dutch National Associations
The Nederlandse Vereniging van Huidtherapeuten (NVH) is the Dutch national association of skin therapists.
The Nederlandse Vereniging Cosmetische Geneeskunde (NVCG) is the Dutch national association of cosmetic medicine
The Koninklijke Algemene Nederlandse Kappersorganisatie (ANKO) is the Dutch national association of hairdressers.
The Netherlands Samenwerkingsverband Artsen Schoonheidsspecialisten (NLSAS) is the Dutch national association for two different guilds: Het Gilde van Cosmedische Schoonheidsspecialisten (GCS) and the Gilde van Medisch Esthetische Specialisten (GMES).