Living in Amsterdam Expat Guide

Living in Amsterdam Expat Guide – that will be the topic of today’s article.

Before introducing this article, if you are interested in our core services which are expat financial, insurance and mortgages, you can contact me here.  

The best time to consider your financial situation is when you are moving to a new country.


Moving to a new country is always a big step. It’s been about four and half years since I moved to the Netherlands, and until this time last year, I started living in Amsterdam. I came into this process relatively blind, but today I can help many expats determine whether living in Amsterdam is the right decision.

The first question I always get from people is: how can we relocate to Amsterdam? And most times, the first thing I tell them is that you cannot move to the Netherlands unless you’re an EU citizen. Though you can visit for as long as your country visa allows you, but it shouldn’t exceed 90 days per year.

Also, if you’re an entrepreneur, you can apply for a Dutch visa as a highly skilled migrant in the EU. On the other hand, the Covid-19 outbreak has got many of us questioning our lifestyle about what living in Amsterdam could be. Well, it’s a great option but, like other countries, restrictions have been placed.

Now, you should ask me, what restrictions?  Interesting! Of course, coronavirus still exists in some parts of the country. This way, the immigration department only allows countries with little or no Covid-19 case to visit the country. As for the lifestyle in Amsterdam, it is incredibly relaxed, unlike other countries I’ve been to.

So, we’ve got you covered in this article. Everything needed, from tips to pros and cons, we have made your relocation so much easier. Surprisingly, I’ll tell you that I don’t need to go back to my initial country of residence except for vacation but not to stay. Oh, you want to know the country? Read further!

Living in Amsterdam

What Expat Need to Know About Amsterdam

Did you know that Amsterdam is a city of bicycles, canals, and suspiciously popular coffee shops? Aside from this fact, it’s one of the world’s most desirable cities for relocation. Therefore, if you’re thinking of moving to Amsterdam, we’ve got all the fuel needed to make your relocation easy. However, we’ve brought you our information from two different perspectives.

The things to know before moving to Amsterdam and the things you’ll need to know after moving to Amsterdam. More so, Amsterdam is a charming canal city that attracts many international workers. As someone new to Dutch society, Netherlands can be quite challenging along with the nation’s size.

By and large, the citizens are friendly, and you can also get by and even thrive without speaking Dutch. That’s why many expats in the country believe there’s no point in bothering to learn the Dutch language. Meanwhile, as with many cultures, you’ll get a lot further with making friends when you learn the country’s language. Without further ado, let’s quickly walk you through the things you should know.

5 Things to Know Before Moving To Amsterdam

When I moved to Amsterdam in recent years, I discover that this city is just the right size for me. It’s not a fast-paced city like London, Madrid, or Singapore, yet living here has been convenient. There’s no shortage of world-class cultural centers, museums, and international restaurants. Plus, it has an excellent location that’s easy to explore. Take a look at the things to know before moving to Amsterdam.

Do Your Research about Amsterdam

One of the first things that’d make your living in Amsterdam easy is to do proper internet research before relocating. If you don’t know where you’re moving to, do you think the process can be easy? Of course, no! That’s why many people operate this way by doing research.

Arrange Your Dutch Visa

Do you know the immigration requirements for living in Amsterdam? The Netherlands is an EU state, meaning EU/EFTA residents can travel to this country without requiring a visa. For more information regarding visa application to Amsterdam, continue reading this article to get the details.

Financial Management Terms

When moving to Amsterdam, you must be financially buoyant. This will help you buy your needs and other necessary things you’ll need to survive in the country. Also, there’s a need to have other financial management terms, including the following.

●        Prepare for Bank Account Opening – Preparing for the kind of bank you want to open in the Netherlands is a great way to embark on your journey. If possible, do research on retails banks and several mobile banking options available for you.

●        Insurance Policy Available In the Country – Whatever you’re going to Amsterdam for vacation or relocating permanently, make sure your belongings have the protection they need before you leave. To do this, check out the international insurance policy in the Netherlands for more information.

●        Investment Terms and Personal Tax – if you’re relocating to Amsterdam for the first time, ensure you know whether your pension can be transferred to the Netherlands. Aside from that, understand whether your investment can be affected by your location.

Find Accommodation

The Netherlands has a whole lot of housing options for expats. Do you wish to live in Amsterdam or cities like Rotterdam and Haarlem? If your housing options fall within these cities, it would be better to find somewhere to live if you don’t have any job offers from the Netherlands.

Get a Job before Moving

Since getting a job may seem difficult in the Netherlands, it’s better to start looking for a job offer before leaving your home country.  The Netherlands has a lot of job opportunities for expats, particularly in the finance and marketing sector. For more tips on how to get jobs, continue reading this expat guide.

Things to Know After Moving to Amsterdam

Now that you’re familiar with the things you’ll need to know before moving to Amsterdam, it’s vital to understand some crucial elements when you’re in the country. Moving to this city isn’t just a move to the town but to learn their cultures, traditions, and more. Below are the things to know after relocating.

Learn Dutch in Amsterdam

If you’re yet to learn the Dutch language, moving to the Netherlands can make the process an easy task.  Moreover, you can find it easy or survive with the English language but having an elementary knowledge in Dutch gives you an edge to be recognized or communicate well over other emigrants.

Make Good Friends

Making good friends is vital during your first visitation to Amsterdam. Not to worry, you can find a lot of expats wanting to make friends. Besides, joining a local sports club can be helpful to meet different people in a couple of weeks. While you’re making friends, ensure you have a cordial relationship as well.

Find a Cheap Bike to Ride

Riding a bicycle is shared among the Dutch family. So, when you start living in Amsterdam, it’s always important to find legitimate and cheap used bikes. You can try some online market platforms, check the brakes, tyres, and make sure nothing is missing.

Know Your Right as an Emigrants

There’s an excellent policy and infrastructure in the Netherlands to help emigrants know the advantages and disadvantages of living in the country. An organization such as Het Juridisch loket helps expats by offering free advice for every legal issue concerning police and justice, immigration, work, living, etc.

Get Over Different Tourist Attractions

People who have never been to the Netherlands immediately associate with the nation’s tourist attractions and coffee shops. But these tourist attractions are just one aspect of the Netherland’s society and culture.  This means you’ll have to get over different tourist attractions to know more about the country’s culture and traditions.

Why Amsterdam Is the Best City in 2021?

Amsterdam, probably the most lucrative and liberal city in 2021, is also known by its infamous nickname – the city of Europe sin capital city. The Netherlands has embraced with open arms some of the world’s social taboos. Yet, only a few know what it takes to live in this beautiful city. Also, Amsterdam is a place where old cultures persist. Now, let’s take a look at the reasons why Amsterdam is the best city.

Happiness Levels in 2021

A recent ranking has named Amsterdam as one of the best cities in the world for having happiness levels that surpass other countries. Meanwhile, cities like New York and Washington have been ranked poor as the top five unhealthiest cities. Similarly, Paris, Johannesburg, and other cities claim the bottom spot.

Beautiful Arts and Cultures

If cultural heritage drives you to a particular country or city, Amsterdam offers a variety of opportunities for you. In fact, you can explore several options for theatre and dance. They also host international productions and festivals such as the annual Holland Festival.

World-Class Performance and Contemporary Music

With world-class performance, Amsterdam strikes all the notes when it comes to classical and contemporary music. For Opera lovers, Dutch National Opera is the best place to visit. In addition, many smaller churches host classical concerts for citizens to enjoy a thriving variety of events.

Home to the Oldest Sex Workers

This may sound funny, right? Of course! But don’t be surprised that the city is the home to the oldest sex workers. In Amsterdam, you can find a 74-year old retired sex worker who can give you a tour around the city in few hours. However, as the authorities crackdown, you can enjoy the city with a unique insight into their extraordinary lives.

Enormous Job Opportunities

The Netherlands is known for providing job opportunities in the most competitive EU locations. Amsterdam, as the capital city, offers more than 45 percent employment to emigrants. That’s why; this is one of the best places for an expat to enjoy their lifestyle to the fullest.

High Standard of Living

Amsterdam enjoys one of the lowest costs of living among other European capitals. With its historic city center and cultural diversity, this city has many reasons to boasts. This way, you’ll enjoy the slight village feeling and high quality of life if you finally end up living in Amsterdam.

Incredible Dutch Food

Moving to Amsterdam will get you feeling excited to taste their warming meals. Some of their incredible meals include stamppot, erwtensoep, and mouthwatering cakes. Not to mention, most of the recipes are found in every supermarket. So, you can definitely practice how to prepare the meal in a couple of weeks you relocate to the city.

Pros of Living in Amsterdam (2021)

For those looking to move to Europe, you’ll rarely see cities having so much to offer, unlike Amsterdam. The city has a diverse, unique culture, and it’s one of the most fast-moving/popular cities in Europe. As with anything else, expats will need to consider the pros and cons before living in Amsterdam.

1.    High level of Education

The Netherlands has a good quality of life and a high level of education for its residents. Many people in this city end up leaving their schools with good grades, land good jobs, or even have direct admission to the university. Aside from this fact, the Netherlands also has a high rate of post-graduate degree holders.

2.    High Level of English

Though this country speaks Dutch, but the English language is widely spoken in the country. So, if you find yourself in a sticky situation, there will always be someone to help, even when you don’t speak the native Dutch language. This can also help to ease communicating with friends during your first visit.

3.    Cycling Cultural Norms

Come rain or shine; the Netherlands is highly known for its cycling culture. Not only is it healthy and free, but it is part of their transport system. Your neighbors or children can even tag along for a ride as well. On a short note, if you move to Amsterdam, don’t be surprised to see a whole family on their bikes.

4.    Low Healthcare Bills

There are no excessive healthcare bills in Amsterdam. Comparatively, it’s pretty good because expats and their citizens won’t go bankrupt whenever they have health-related issues. Also, if you want more specialist advice, you can pay a token while the government will pay you a basic healthcare allowance.

Cons of Living in Amsterdam (2021)

Now, let’s keep things accurate and quickly walk you through the cons of living in the Netherlands.

1.    High Tax Rates

The Netherlands is known for its notorious high tax rates. So, if you’re living in the capital city of Amsterdam, you should be expecting high-income taxes compared to other places in Europe. However, the price of rent is generally high around the whole country.  Beneath this cons of living in Amsterdam, we will provide you with some detailed analysis about the cost of living in the Netherlands.

2.    Having a Car is Expensive in Amsterdam

It’s no doubt that owning a car in Amsterdam is pretty expensive. This is mainly to push people off from having a car, but so far, the methods have not been working. More so, there are rules to prevent people from buying from Germany or other neighboring countries.

3.    Difficulty in Finding A Place to Live

There’s a shortage of housing in Amsterdam. This way, finding a place to live can be pretty challenging. On the flip side, if you’re offered a provisional admission without a place to live, you can find yourself sleeping around or having to defer your course for a year after securing an apartment.

4.    High Cost of Living in Amsterdam

It’s not a secret that living in the capital city of the Netherlands is expensive. As Brexit is on the mouth of everybody, many companies are considering moving to Amsterdam to reduce the high cost. Moreover, the demand for apartments is higher than supply. This, however, makes renting an apartment huge.

Cost of Living in Amsterdam (2021)

With numerous quality of life, a solid international community, plenty of cultural capital, numerous global companies, and high quality of life, more than 900,000 residents call Amsterdam home. So, if you’re thinking of making a move to Amsterdam yourself, it’s better to know the cost of living in 2021.

2021 Housing Analysis in Amsterdam

In general, living within or close to the city will definitely be costlier than living in the towns or outskirts of the city. And naturally, there are more desirable neighborhoods with huge accommodation prices. Below is a detailed analysis of 2021 housing facilities in Amsterdam.

Type of Housing (Amsterdam)Price Range (2021)
A room in a shared Amsterdam apartmentApproximately  €450 to €1,700
Social housing rent in AmsterdamApproximately €800
Studio apartment in the cityApproximately €750 – €1,500
2 -3 Bedroom apartment in AmsterdamRent is approximately €2,500 – €5,700
Single bedroom apartment in AmsterdamApproximately €950 – 2,800

In addition, keep it in mind that the vast majority of people relocating to Amsterdam will have to go for the private apartment. This is because; there are price regulations on housing that belong to the government. So, if you go for private accommodation, landlords can set rents at whatever price suits them.

Buying a Home in Amsterdam (2021)

Again, location is essential to buying an apartment in Amsterdam. Another thing is to be aware of the real estate market in this city. Without further ado, let’s quickly walk you through the asking price of buying a home.

Apartment cost per square meter (city)Prices as of 2021
2021 Average housing price€8,050
General price range in 2021€6,800 to €9,500
Cost of the apartment outside the cityThe average price is €5,500
General price range in 2021€4,800 to €6,500

Additionally, to buy a single one-bedroom apartment on the low end of the spectrum, you should be willing to pay around €200,000. For a higher three-bedroom apartment in the city, prepare to have about €500,000 to get the apartment. In general, below is a detailed analysis of the price of houses.

Type of accommodation to buyAverage Price Range
Studio apartment in the cityAverage price = €190,000 to €380,000
Two-bedroom apartment in the city€230,000 – €500,000
Three-bedroom apartment in Amsterdam€300,000 to €650,000
Single bedroom apartment in the cityAverage price = €180,000 to €380,000

Prices of Utilities in Amsterdam

Have you ever think of the prices of utilities in Amsterdam? How much will I budget for internet, electricity, or gas? Since you don’t have the idea, let’s take a look at the prices of each utility in Amsterdam as of 2021.

Electricity and Gas Price (2021)

Since you have many utilities and prices to choose from, getting your electricity and gas from one provider saves you stress and a lot of money. As of 2021, gas costs about .08 Euros per kWh in the Netherlands. Meanwhile, you can expect to pay an average price of about €130 to €200 per month.

Monthly Internet Costs in Amsterdam (2021)

The average cost for the internet in the Netherlands is about €45 for a low-speed connection. However, some websites allow for an easy price comparison while choosing the one that matches your budget. This way, you’ll enjoy the best rate but have in mind that the price of other cities may vary.

Phone Plans in the Netherlands

The cell phone price in Amsterdam is no different from other countries. You should expect nothing less than €9 for unlimited calling with no data. This way, an average plan with up to 10 gigabytes of data and unlimited calling should cost you nothing less than €25 a month.

Cost of Groceries in Amsterdam (2021)

Compared to other costs of living mentioned earlier, prices of groceries are more affordable, especially if you’re mindful of how you shop. We’ve provided you the following average cost to get a glimpse of the items and their prices.

Item Available in StoreAverage Price for EachPrice Range (2021)
I liter of milk and 1kg of rice€4.08 respectively€3 to €7
Local cheese (1kg) and chicken fillets€20.50€20.50 to €25.81
Apples (1kg) and Banana (1kg)€3.74€5.08 to €6.71
Potatoes (1kg) and Oranges€2.65€2.89 to €7.51
Mid-range bottle of wine (2021)€8€9.48 to €10.72
20 pack of cigarettes (city)€9.41€10.95 to €17.81


Overall, Amsterdam has a high standard of living compared to other cities in Europe. Both education and healthcare facilities are rich in Amsterdam. Also, with an excellent culture, the benefits of living in Amsterdam cannot be overemphasized. Now, with this expat guide, you should know what to expect!

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