Countless expats have been pulled in and swept under by Amsterdam's balance of old world charm and cutting-edge modernity. Every year, the ’Venice of the North’ attracts thousands of foreigners who choose to settle here.
A true melting pot of culture, there are plenty of areas and suburbs in Amsterdam that have something unique to offer and make for prime expat-friendly accommodation.
Family-friendly areas of Amsterdam
Oud West – Where city meets nature
Oud West is a highly sought-after area for expat housing. It claims all the fantastic leisure-based perks of the city centre and combines them with a touch of nature. Cafés, restaurants, museums and shopping streets – like the Overtoom – are plentiful, and the famous Vondelpark is a beloved hangout for locals and tourists.
The residents are mainly students, educated locals, and expats. Houses in the area are larger and more expensive than in the city centre, and expats shouldn't be surprised to find lush gardens hidden away here and there.
Amsterdam Zuid – Amsterdam’s posh residential area
Amsterdam Zuid is recognised as the upmarket side of Amsterdam. It's popular with Western expats thanks to the British International School and Vondelpark being close by, as well as its great infrastructure. With a peaceful atmosphere and plenty of playgrounds and parks, Amsterdam Zuid is a prime location for families. Though densely populated, this is a high-income area.
In terms of leisure and recreation, the area has much to offer. Rijksmuseum and the Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art are located here, and there are plenty of shopping opportunities.
Watergraafsmeer – Lush, green living
Watergraafsmeer is Amsterdam's greenest residential area. Whether expats prefer spending time outdoors in the garden, public parks or sports fields, plenty of space is devoted to each.
This neighbourhood is a relatively quiet area of town with a fairly large, cosmopolitan population. Most are working-class residents who aren't too focused on the nightlife, but there are several good restaurants and bars in the vicinity. Watergraafsmeer also has a large ice-skating rink, the Jaap Edenbaan.
Westerpark – Family-oriented neighbourhood
Westerpark is a fairly quiet neighbourhood with a large number of expat residents. The area is especially recommended for expats with young families. It has several good schools as well as a few choice attractions, including the famous Westergasfabriek cultural district, the Het Ketelhuis art house cinema, cafés and designer boutiques.
Areas for young and single expats in Amsterdam
Centrum – The heart of Amsterdam
Centrum is the heart of Amsterdam, and a metropolitan favourite. Despite being the most populated area of the city, many prefer to live in its small, pricey apartments for easy proximity to world-renowned attractions and great restaurants.
One of the most loved destinations is the Grachtengordel, or Canal Belt, where expats will find the famous tree-lined canals associated with Amsterdam. The Singel Canal is widely visited because of the Anne Frank House and other museums. Perhaps equally famous, but for very different reasons, is De Wallen – the Red Light District.
De Baarsjes – Up-and-coming neighbourhood
This area is located within the city’s centre ring, which makes all the modern conveniences of Centrum easily accessible without the hefty price tag. Known for its good location and low crime rate, De Baarsjes is perfect for expats who prefer a quieter lifestyle. Outdoorsy expats will enjoy Rembrandtpark, popular for jogging and dog walking. Another highlight is the open-air market on Vespuccistraat.
Indische Buurt – Diverse historical area
Situated in eastern Amsterdam, Indische Buurt has a long history of being home to expats. More than half of the population in this area is foreign-born with over 100 foreign languages being spoken by residents. Housing in Indische Buurt is affordable and consists mostly of apartments.
►For more on finding the perfect home, see Accommodation in the Netherlands
Are you an expat living in Amsterdam?
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