Expats moving to Amsterdam will need to consider its relatively high cost of living on a global scale, as well as compared to other Dutch cities. Ranking 28th out of 227 cities in the 2023 Mercer Cost of Living Survey, Amsterdam is undeniably expensive for locals and expats alike. Although cheaper than cities such as London and Copenhagen, Amsterdam's cost of living is comparable to that of other European capitals such as Vienna and Paris.


Cost of accommodation in Amsterdam

Accommodation will likely be expats' biggest expense in Amsterdam. That said, where in the city expats choose to live will have a vast impact on costs, as rent in the city centre can be double or triple that of outlying suburbs, and the same applies to buying property.

Properties outside the centre will most likely be more spacious but, while expats may be losing the benefit of size in the centre, they will be close to attractions. The city centre also exudes much more character and charm. Electricity in Amsterdam is among the priciest in the world, so utilities are also exorbitant in Amsterdam and are not often included in rent.


Cost of transport in Amsterdam

The least expensive and often the quickest way to get around the Dutch capital is by bicycle. The city gets plenty of rain throughout the year, though, so this may not always be an option. In that case, there are trams, buses, trains and taxis.

While taxis will be the priciest transport option, ride-hailing apps such as Uber can be cheaper than traditional metered taxis. Public transport is a lot less costly, but is still not cheap. Getting an OV Chipkaart, on which travel credit can be loaded, can more than half the price of a trip and this is therefore highly recommended for anyone living in Amsterdam.


Cost of groceries in Amsterdam

The cost of groceries in Amsterdam may seem somewhat steep to newcomers, although shopping at local markets or choosing store brands in supermarkets can help mitigate these costs. Supermarkets in the city offer a range of products from budget-friendly to gourmet, allowing residents to adjust their grocery shopping to suit their budget.

Comparatively, the price of groceries in Amsterdam is moderately higher than in other Dutch cities, but noticeably lower than in London or Paris.


Cost of entertainment and eating out in Amsterdam

As a vibrant, cosmopolitan city, Amsterdam provides an abundance of entertainment options which, while diverse, can come with a relatively high price tag. Eating out varies considerably depending on the venue, with a simple meal at a casual restaurant being quite reasonable, while a fine dining experience at a high-end establishment could be quite costly.

Similarly, the cost of a night out can range widely, from reasonably priced theatre tickets to costlier concert events. Overall, the cost of entertainment and dining out in Amsterdam sits slightly above the European average, but less than cities like London or Copenhagen.


Cost of education and schools in Amsterdam

Local public Dutch schools are subsidised by the government and are mostly free, apart from small yearly contributions towards school trips or activities. While most of these schools teach in Dutch, expats can usually find a government subsidised bilingual school that teaches an international curriculum in Amsterdam.

The fees for private and international schools in Amsterdam can be excessive, so expats wanting to send their children to one of these schools should attempt to negotiate this into their employment contract.


Cost of healthcare in Amsterdam

Healthcare in Amsterdam is of a high standard, but it is mandatory to have health insurance in the Netherlands. Insurance premiums, while regulated by the government, can be expensive and vary depending on the level of coverage chosen.

Expats from European Union countries should note that their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) can cover them for necessary treatments on a short-term basis. For longer stays, they will need to invest in Dutch health insurance. The cost of healthcare, while not as high as in countries such as the United States, is still a significant factor to consider when planning a move to Amsterdam.


Cost of living in Amsterdam chart

Prices may vary depending on the product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for Amsterdam in July 2023.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

Three-bedroom apartment in the city centre

EUR 2,700

Three-bedroom apartment outside the city centre

EUR 2,030

One-bedroom apartment in the city centre

EUR 1,720

One-bedroom apartment outside the city centre

EUR 1,380

Food and drink

Dozen eggs

EUR 5.14

Milk (1 litre)

EUR 1.26

Rice (1kg)

EUR 2.05

Loaf of white bread

EUR 1.57

Chicken breasts (1kg)

EUR 4.76

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

EUR 7

Eating out

Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant

EUR 66

Big Mac meal

EUR 10

Coca-Cola (330ml)

EUR 2.56

Cappuccino

EUR 3.38

Bottle of beer (local)

EUR 1.31

Utilities/household

Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)

EUR 0.08

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

EUR 42

Basic utilities (average per month for a standard household)

EUR 350

Transportation

Taxi rate/km

EUR 2.40

City-centre public transport fare

EUR 3.20

Gasoline (per litre)

EUR 2.09

 

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