Cost of Living in Amsterdam



Amsterdam is one of the world's most majestic cities and probably one of the most expensive, too. However, it is possible to get by on a budget if you have the right information.

The cost of living in Amsterdam can be quite high, so managing your finances are important when you live in this city. The European Euro is the official currency in Amsterdam, but some establishments in the city also accept dollars. ATMs are the best way to get cash, but it can be costly when withdrawals are done on a daily basis due to fees charged by banks on cards. The fee also tends to be higher for international transactions due to currency exchange fees. Credit cards are not commonly accepted in the city, especially in restaurants, shops, and some hotels while those who do accept plastic charge a fee. Visa, MasterCard, and American Express are commonly accepted and widely used in the city whereas traveller's checks are less necessary due to the abundance of 24-hour ATM's. 


Apartment rentals can cost between 1,250 to 6,800 euro a month and may vary due to size and location. These are mostly three bedroom apartments situated near the rivers and overlooking the beautiful view of Amsterdam's canals. As expected, less expensive apartments will be found in areas distant from central Amsterdam. For expatriates, Oud Zuid is the posh neighbourhood they consider a favourite. For practical reasons, however, expats who are here alone usually gather together and rent flats as one. Indeed, this has become a very good technique for cutting down their rental into very affordable chunks. Apart from that, it's easier for expats to secure affordable accommodation right in the city. 

Buying a Property 

In Amsterdam, buying a property is a huge undertaking. A housing permit is required when the property to be bought is a new one under 158,850 euro. The permit may be obtained from the Dienst Wonen under strict conditions. However, buying a property from a former dweller does not require such a permit. Instead, a 10 to 12% premium to the purchase price will be added to cover for extra costs derived from the property price.

Many expats choose to rent a home because buying property is difficult. However, rentals just may be too expensive considering the housing shortage in the city. In general, it is wiser for expats to buy a property if they plan to stay for more than five years since doing so can be a more cost-efficient alternative to rentals. 


Water, gas and electricity are typically covered in house or apartment rentals but in other cases, average - income expats living in the city pay these utilities separately on a monthly budget of about 850 euros. Mobile phones will cost depending on subscription with options between prepaid or postpaid with a one to a three-year contract. The fastest cable Internet package costs about 63 euros per month.


A safe budget for groceries will be 60-80 euro a week for home-cooked meals but for those who will be dining out, meals in the finer restaurants are naturally more expensive. Still, those who are looking for affordable yet tasty meals will be glad to be in a place that crawls with squat restaurants which make up most of its cheap eat scene, another unique feature of the city. Squats have been established in abandoned residential and community centres where a three-course meal with beer and wine costs around 5 euros. Food is appetising, menus are well-planned, and people are cool and laid back.  


Public transportation in Amsterdam is known for its excellently mapped out system of city buses which people take to reach outlying suburbs, taxis that cost about 1.80 euros per km plus a 5-10% tip, and canal buses that ply three different routes with 14 stops for 16 euros. Bicycles, however, remain a way of life for most Dutch in Amsterdam and are still the best way to get around the city. Some companies offer bicycle rentals for 8 euros per day with discounts on longer rentals. Driving within the canal ring is strongly discouraged. 

Amsterdam is not the cheapest place to live in the world and the infusion of the euro into its financial landscape did cause prices of most commodities and even luxury items to increase. However, expats who know hard work and discipline will not have a problem because as long as one does his part, he will have food on the table and a few extra bucks to enjoy.



Expat Services in Amsterdam