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Moving to Amsterdam: Your Relocation Guide

October 08, 2021
From its serene canals to its classic buildings, Amsterdam is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The place looks straight out of a novel; an almost imposing whirlwind of heartwarming nostalgia mixed with today's hustle and bustle. As the capital city of the Netherlands, it's no surprise that many people travel here. And it's even more unsurprising when people want to move to Amsterdam. It's just that the process of relocation is a bit complicated, but it's not impossible. Let this relocation guide show you the basics.

Moving to Amsterdam: Your Relocation Guide



How to Move to Amsterdam

Moving to Amsterdam from another country requires a ton of steps. Depending on your current situation, you may have to do more too. Typically, you need a good reason to move here (i.e. work relocation, studying in an Amsterdam university, etc.), but even if you don't, it's still possible to move here. The process includes:

  • Getting a long-term visa

  • Find a place to stay

  • Look for a job


Can I Move to Amsterdam?

As mentioned earlier, it's typically required for a non-Dutch citizen to have a good reason to move to Amsterdam. Perhaps your work relocated you to the city or you enrolled at a college here. It's also possible if you have relatives who live in Amsterdam and they need you to be here. In any case, does this mean that if you don't have this sort of reason to move to Amsterdam, you can't live here? Not necessarily. Though rare, it's not impossible to move to Amsterdam just because you want to. Anyone is free to relocate to the Dutch capital as long as they have no criminal record and they're not barred from entering the Netherlands


How Much Does it Cost to Move to Amsterdam?

There's no definitive price for moving to Amsterdam. Even when applying for a long-term visa, the application fee differs from country to country.

Amsterdam Overview

Amsterdam serves as the capital city of the Netherlands. It has a current population of 1.174 million residents, making it the largest and most populous city in the country. Thanks to its geographical location, the Dutch capital sees all four seasons. Its coldest month is January with an average low temperature of 1°C (34°F) while its hottest month is July with an average high temperature of 16°C (61°F). 


Why Visit Amsterdam?

Beyond the usual reasons to move to Amsterdam, it's still worth visiting the city at the very least. The place is beautiful, has some renowned museums, has a fascinating culture, a delicious culinary scene, and an idyllic lifestyle. Something as simple as cycling along the canals of Amsterdam can already be a good enough reason to go here. 


What Part of Amsterdam to Stay In

There are lots of great places in Amsterdam for you to stay in. De Pijp is among the most popular as it's the heart of the city, home to the working class & offers a treasure trove of cool hotspots. Westerpark, named after the park of the same name, is the greenest part of the city. The air here is fresher than anywhere else in the world. Don't forget about Oud-Zuid too! It's the museum district where you'll find the best museums in Amsterdam. It's a definite must-see for tourists and locals alike.

Moving to Amsterdam: Your Relocation Guide


Visa in Amsterdam

Like any other city out there, Amsterdam requires a few documents for you to move here. Depending on where you're coming from, you may even need documents just to visit the city. For example, those coming from non-Schengen countries are required to get a Schengen Visa to enter the Netherlands. And if you're moving here, you'll need to get a long-term visa too. 


Do I Need a Visa for Amsterdam?

As already mentioned, those coming from non-Schengen countries are required to get a Schengen Visa to enter the Netherlands. With that said, there are non-Schengen countries that are eligible for the ETIAS Visa Waiver Program, including the US, the UK, the UAE, Japan, Israel, and more. Just as its name says, this program lets citizens of these territories enter the Schengen Area without a visa. 


Amsterdam Visa Requirements

Although the requirements for a Dutch visa differ from country to country, there are still some general documents that are the same all around. They include a filled-up application form, a valid passport, passport photos, your flight itinerary, travel medical insurance, proof of accommodation, and proof of funds. And if applicable, it'll help if you provide proof of your civil status and copies of your previous visas.

Moving to Amsterdam: Your Relocation Guide


Getting Around Amsterdam

It's fairly easy to get around this city. Public transport in Amsterdam offers many systems. There's the metro, trams, buses, taxis, and even a ferry to help you cross the canals and IJ. And of course, there are the iconic bikes that help make Amsterdam look and feel more idyllic. They've become as famous and symbolic of the city as the yellow cabs in New York City


How to Get Around Amsterdam

As already mentioned, there are many ways to get around Amsterdam. You can take the metro, ride a tram, hop on a bus, or hail a taxi off the street. And in this day and age, you can use a transportation app to book a ride too. Whichever system you use, you'd do well to purchase an OV Chip Card first. It's Amsterdam's rechargeable card that gives you access to the city's public transport. With it, you no longer have to line up and buy a travel fare every time you commute. 


What is The Best Way to Get Around Amsterdam?

Arguably, riding your bike is the best way to get around Amsterdam. Though it's a more strenuous way, it's still fun and lets you see the city in a new light. Not to mention the fact that if you ride your own bike, you don't have to pay for anything. 


Where to Stay in Amsterdam That's Close to Everything

If you're one who will commute to different parts of the city regularly, you're better off staying in the neighborhood near Amsterdam's Central Station. This spot is the starting point for all the public transport systems in the Dutch capital. 

Moving to Amsterdam: Your Relocation Guide


Where to Live in Amsterdam

Just like any other city, the neighborhoods in Amsterdam show different sides of the city. Some are safer than others. Some are more upscale and affluent than others. There are districts that are known for their exciting hotspots and there are residential areas beloved for their peace and quiet. Where to live in Amsterdam depends on the kind of place that'll suit you best. 


Where to Stay in Amsterdam

As mentioned previously, De Pijp, Oud-Zuid, and Westerpark are some of the best places to stay in Amsterdam. You can also add Jordaan to that list, which is the area that lines Amsterdam's canals. This is the place that most people talk about when they regard the city as one of the most beautiful in the world. Nieuwmarkt en Lastage, on the other hand, is a peaceful district with awesome galleries and museums. The Rembrandt House Museum alone is reason enough to check it out! 


Where to Stay in Amsterdam for The First Time

If it's your first time in Amsterdam, you'll definitely like the Noord neighborhood. It's a trendy part of the city with great restaurants, cool bars, chill cafes, fashionable boutiques, and more. While it's also a largely gentrified part of the Dutch capital, it has still retained some of its historic appeal too. As did Oud-West, a fairly upscale area lined with pre-war buildings. What's inside these grand structures are kitschy stores, the hottest culinary hotspots, and more. 


Where to Stay in Amsterdam on a Budget

Anyone looking to move to Amsterdam and live here on a budget is in luck! Many of the aforementioned neighborhoods are also budget-friendly. Noord, De Pijp, and Vondelpark are some of the best affordable districts in the Dutch capital. This isn't to say that these places are low-class and cheap. Far from it! They're quite popular among locals and tourists alike because they don't have to spend a fortune to have a good time in any of them. 


Is Amsterdam a Good Place to Live?

Yes, it is! Despite how busy Amsterdam gets, the Dutch capital remains a great place to live the ideal urban lifestyle. While it's not exactly the most famous city on the planet, it's definitely a lot more livable than the most popular metropolises out there. Add to that its high standards of living. From healthcare to education, practically everything is of the highest quality here! 

Moving to Amsterdam: Your Relocation Guide


Living Costs in Amsterdam

Since Amsterdam offers a high standard of living, it's only natural that its living costs are pretty high. On average, a single adult spends around €953.90 per month without rent while a family of four spends around €3,363.20. These may not seem much considering that the average net salary (after tax) here is €3,684.21 per month but don't forget that the rent in Amsterdam typically ranges from €1,000.00 to €3,000.00 per month. That's almost one's entire salary! 


Is It Expensive to Live in Amsterdam?

Yes, it is! In fact, Amsterdam ranks among the ten most expensive cities in the world. How much one single adult spends in a month in this city is equal to how much families spend in multiple months to a year in other parts of the world. 


How Much Does It Cost to Live in Amsterdam?

How much you spend per month depends on what you need, what you buy, and where to buy them. So a better way to gauge how much it costs to live in Amsterdam is to look at its common monthly rental fees. Renting a luxury apartment in Amsterdam is gonna cost a lot but how much will depend on how big it is and where it's located. If you rent a one-bedroom flat near the city center, it'll cost you around €1,250.00 to €2,200.00 per month. At the same time, renting a three-bedroom place near the outskirts of town will cost you around €1,400.00 to €3,000.00 per month. 

Moving to Amsterdam: Your Relocation Guide


Employment in Amsterdam

As mentioned previously, one of the main reasons for moving to Amsterdam is that your job relocated you here. But on the off chance that you could get to the city without a job yet, there's no need to worry. For one thing, the Netherlands' job market is fairly stable. It currently enjoys a low 3.5 unemployment rate despite the fact that it hasn't been that long since the country opened up after the pandemic. Moreover, there are many job opportunities in Amsterdam alone. The city serves as the main Dutch business hub, after all. 


How to Get a Job in The Netherlands

There are many ways to get a job in the Netherlands. The most common now is to look for one online. The job-seeking websites have replaced the classified ads in the newspaper. And since a digital platform lets you send an application right then and there, it makes the hiring process that much quicker. Now, if you need professional help, the country also has many recruitment agencies to assist you. Just give them your resume and they'll look for the right job in the right company for you. And when all else fails, you can rely on your network too. Getting a job by word of mouth is a lot more common in Amsterdam than you might think. 


Is It Easy to Get a Job in Amsterdam?

For the most part, it is. As a prominent business hub, there are many job opportunities in Amsterdam. At the same time, the digital landscape has made it easier for anyone to land employment anywhere, what more in such a bustling metropolis like the Dutch capital? You just need to look hard and send your CV out there. If you're lucky, the right company with the right position will come to you!

Moving to Amsterdam: Your Relocation Guide


Education in Amsterdam

Education is a huge concern for many people moving to Amsterdam. Parents have to look for schools where they can enroll their kids. Is it easy for a foreign child to continue their studies in Amsterdam? Yes, it is! The city's education ranks among the highest in the world. Though Amsterdam is not particularly known for its schools, the educational institutions here are still some of the best in Europe.


Is Education Free in Amsterdam?

Dutch primary and secondary schools are free in Amsterdam and anywhere else in the country. With that said, foreign kids who just moved to the city, they're better off enrolling in international schools. The problem here is that most of them are private schools with fairly high tuition fees. Don't worry! They're worth your money! 


Best Schools in Amsterdam

Amsterdam International Community School, the Amstelland International School, The British School of Amsterdam, and The International School of Amsterdam are some of the best international schools in Amsterdam. Not only will your kids who may not know how to speak Dutch have no problem continuing their studies in these prestigious institutions, but they also offer the best education in the city. These are the kinds of schools that will help your little ones get to the most prominent colleges and universities around the world. 

Moving to Amsterdam: Your Relocation Guide


Healthcare in Amsterdam

How is healthcare in Amsterdam? How is Dutch healthcare overall? Well, it's pretty good. The healthcare system in the Netherlands is widely regarded as one of the better ones out there. Though it's far from the best, the quality of medical care here is still high. Add to that the fact that the Dutch have universal healthcare and it makes the entire system good overall. 


Does The Netherlands Have Free Healthcare?

Although the Netherlands has universal healthcare, it's not public healthcare. This means that anyone living and working in the country is obliged to get compulsory health insurance from private insurers. So no, healthcare is not free in the Netherlands. But while it costs money, you'll still get bang for your buck in terms of quality medical care. 


Best Hospitals in Amsterdam

Even if Dutch healthcare isn't free, you'll still be paying for high-quality medical care. Especially if you get treated in some of the best hospitals in Amsterdam. There's the Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital, for example, which specializes in cancer treatments. BovenIJ Ziekenhuis, on the other hand, is one of the best for patients with heart problems. And for parents, know that Sint Lucas Andreas Ziekenhuis has the best pediatric ward in the city. These are the healthcare institutions you need to know about.

Moving to Amsterdam: Your Relocation Guide


Safety in Amsterdam

Capital cities are notorious for having moderate to high crime rates. Even though they're some of the most popular tourist destinations, out there, they're far from the safest. Does this ring true for Amsterdam too? Fortunately, it doesn't! The crime rates in Amsterdam are notably low, far from those in its sister cities. Currently, the Dutch capital enjoys a low 29.57 general crime rate. Not bad, right? 


Is Amsterdam a Safe City?

Yes, it is. Compared to other capital cities in the world, Amsterdam is among the safest. Not only does it have a low general crime rate, but its rate of increasing crimes is moderate too. It's currently at 47.29%, right smack in the middle of the scale. Considering that Amsterdam is a major city and the capital of the Netherlands, this is pretty noteworthy. 


How Safe is Amsterdam?

While Amsterdam isn't exactly the safest city in the world, it's not far-fetched to say that it's close to the top. As mentioned previously, the city currently has a low general crime rate of 29.57% and a moderate rate of increasing crimes at 47.29%. At the same time, Amsterdam's safety rate is 82.49%, which is very high. So yes, the Dutch capital is a significantly safe city. 


Is Amsterdam Safe at Night?

Since you already know that Amsterdam is safe during the day, how about at night? What is the city's safety rate after dark? As of this writing, it's at a high 65.88%. This is also notable since most capital cities commonly have low safety rates at night. The fact that it's high, not just moderate, means that the Dutch capital really is quite safe overall. 

Moving to Amsterdam: Your Relocation Guide


Taxes in Amsterdam

Moving to Amsterdam will automatically make you a taxpayer in the Netherlands. Are you familiar with the Dutch tax system? Do you know how much you'll pay? Even if you have a job that takes care of your taxes for you, it's still worth learning more about paying taxes in the Netherlands. For one thing, expats who work in the country get to enjoy a 30% exemption. This means 30% of your income is tax-free. 


What is The Tax Rate in The Netherlands?

Similar to the tax systems in the neighboring European countries, your income tax rate depends on how much you earn. The higher your salary, the higher your tax rate. The highest tax rate is 49.5%, which is imposed on those who earn more than €68,508.00 a year. The Value-Added Tax rate, on the other hand, is a flat 21%. 

Moving to Amsterdam: Your Relocation Guide


Relocation Tips for Amsterdam

Before settling down in Amsterdam, follow these tips to ensure a smooth relocation.

Moving to Amsterdam: Your Relocation Guide


Are you moving to Amsterdam anytime soon? If you are, then you'll benefit from this relocation guide. It shows all the basics you need to know about relocating to the Netherlands and starting a new life in the Dutch capital. 


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