Published on: May 24, 2021

If you’re looking for somewhere new to explore, retire, or have the time of your life, living in Amsterdam might be the perfect place for you. It’s a cozy city with gorgeous and well-structured buildings, picture-worthy architecture, green parks, and cool areas for your nightlife. 

Although Amsterdam may offer a promising life and career, you must still remember that a new place is always scary and troublesome. So to make things easier to visit or possibly move to Amsterdam, we have formulated a quick guide for your expat life. Here’s a handy checklist that can help you start your whole adventure.

Understanding Amsterdam’s Lifestyle

Understanding the life in Amsterdam you’ll soon have is essential to set your expectations correctly, and at the same time, you can adjust well to the cultural differences. The Dutch people put a high value on work-life balance, where some people work for only four days a week. This is perfect for having a long weekend vacation or for those who have children to focus on. 

Most Dutch living in the city is known to be conservative and disciplined. They also prefer riding bikes that riding four-wheel vehicles, usually because the former is cheaper. The Netherlands is not called the “bicycle capital of the world” for no reason. They also have excellent bike paths that you won’t usually see in other countries. You can say that keeping a toned and active body in this city isn’t so hard if you have to ride the bicycle daily to and from work, grocery stores, and restaurants. 

Amsterdam is also a lovely and family-friendly place with a high standard of living. If you can find decent work in a place like that, you’ll surely want to live there for a long time and bask in its fantastic sceneries. 

Prepare All The Documents Needed

Like with any country, whether you’re simply visiting or looking to settle down, there are many documents you need to prepare way ahead before the trip.

In general, here are the essential documents and requirements you must prepare:

  • • Entry visa
  • • Birth Certificate
  • •  Marriage Certificate
  • • Work or Residence permit
  • • Passport
  • • Proof of Financial Means – When entering another country, especially if you’re outside of Europe, it’s often a prerequisite to show that you can sustain the standard of living there. Here are the proofs of income that you can show:
    • Bank Account Statements
    • Monthly Payslips
    • Employment Contract

Know Amsterdam’s Cost of Living

The cost of living in Amsterdam isn’t as expensive as other European countries, but you can expect to shell out at least $2000 for your essential monthly expenses. 

Before considering moving to Amsterdam, you must think of the basic costs and how you’ll earn a living first. Here are the essential considerations you must have solid plans for when going there:

  • Calling Plan

Instead of subscribing to monthly phone providers, utilizing the Internet and calling your loved ones through messaging apps might be a better choice to save money. Here are the best online apps you can take advantage of:

  1. Facebook Messenger
  2. Viber
  3. Skype
  4. Whatsapp
  5. WeChat
  6. Telegram
  7. Zoom

Biking is the most common method of transportation in Amsterdam.

There are many wifi spots in coffee shops and tourist attractions, so you can always be connected with your family and friends outside the city. However, if you don’t always have Internet access, using an app called “MyLine” is an excellent option because it allows you to make international phone calls without high costs. It doesn’t have a contract with a lock-in period, so it’s ideal for tourists, expats, and international students. 

Housing 

The Amsterdam housing market varies with size and location, but you can expect a one-bedroom apartment to be around 900 EUR to 1000 EUR or $1100 to $1300. When you find the place of your dreams, expect to pay at least one month of the basic rent in Amsterdam.

Besides the apartment’s rental contracts, you need to find basic furniture, appliance, and household items because most apartments are not fully furnished. However, if you’re planning to stay for less than a year, renting a shared room might be a better option for you. 

 

Employment

Many global companies are based in the Netherlands, most especially in Amsterdam, such as:

  • ING
  • Heineken
  • Uber
  • Nike
  • Adidas
  • Netflix
  • Cisco Systems 
  • Tesla Motors
  • IBM
  • Oracle
  • Linkedin

Having a diverse portfolio with high-paying skills will be advantageous for you. Considering that there’s a low unemployment rate of only 3.5%, it’s not impossible to find good sources of income in Amsterdam’s job market.

Before your relocation to Amsterdam, it is an excellent option to find a remote job that you can continue doing wherever you are. Having a backup plan when things don’t go right is always a wise move. You can also always check the employment opportunities available before making the big move.

  • Emergency Fund

To live abroad is scary, especially when you don’t have a lot of knowledge about that place. Most travelers know that besides knowledge, money matters. Make your travel less stressful by having at least six months to a year’s worth of savings in case of emergencies and unexpected events. You must realize that it’s not an easy feat to go out there and live your life in another city. However, the adventure travel that awaits you will always be worth the risk. 

Do Your Research: Is It Safe There?

According to the safe cities index in 2019 by the Economist Intelligence Unit, Amsterdam ranks as one of the safest cities in the world, landing 4th place among other cities.

According to experts, no matter how safe a place might seem, it’s always recommended to be safe and keep your distance from sketchy people. Here are some ways to lessen the possibility of being a victim in Amsterdam:

  • Use functional and basic bicycles. Don’t go over the top by buying expensive and luxurious bikes to avoid bike thefts. 
  • Beware of pickpockets. You’ll be surprised to know that you can find the biggest scammers and pickpockets in high-density areas with many tourists like Amsterdam. Don’t put your phone and wallet visible to the public, and always have a tight grip on your purse. 
  • If you don’t speak local languages or are still not yet familiar with the current living situation in the city, look for an apartment through a recognized agency that’s a member of a reputable realtors’ cooperation. 

If the housing cost is too good to be true, it probably is! Beware of cheap accommodations because instead of living in a posh apartment near establishments, you might find yourself reporting fraud. 

  • Unlike the USA, where the use of Marijuana is available in some states, don’t expect to have easy access to certain drugs in Amsterdam. Compared to other cities, drugs are illegal and are banned in most places here.

Pros and Cons of Living In Amsterdam

Here are the pros and cons that you can realistically expect once you’re in Amsterdam:

PROS

  • Many attraction sites like the Van Gogh museum, Anne Frank House, Vondelpark, Royal Palace Amsterdam, and Museum of the Canals
  • Stunning historical architectures 
  • Most people speak English well, so you won’t have to worry about learning Dutch anytime soon
  • Temperate climate
  • Cozy indoor lifestyle
  • Clean environment with green nature parks almost everywhere
  • Perfect balance for leisure, work, and entertainment. 
  • Public transportation is relatively cheap if you get a public transport ticket like the OV chip card 
  • High wages because the Netherlands is one of the top 10 countries with the highest salaries for workers
  • High-quality education, lifestyle, and healthcare
  • Awesome cycling culture 
  • Must-try unique restaurants 

CONS

  • High cost of living
  • Cars and parking are expensive
  • The first move to Amsterdam can be extremely costly
  • High population density because the city is small
  • Difficulty in finding a livable apartment at a reasonable price
  • The straightforwardness of the Dutch people

Amsterdam City in the Netherlands is indeed a beautiful place. It certainly is a perfect place for you to bask in nature, enjoy the nightlife, advance your career, further your studies, invest, and spend your retirement. Though it’s generally expensive to live there, the quality of life you’ll have will be worth more than the Euros you’ll be spending. 

If you want to go there anytime soon, having an expat guide to living in Amsterdam along with your plans, budget, expenses, and sources of income will help you transition easily. Proper organization of your documents and consulting a travel agent may help you process things faster.

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Krizzia Reyes is an author for MyLine.

About The Author

As an avid traveler, Krizzia Paolyn loves to write blogs about traveling and how to save money when making international calls.