The expat life in Amsterdam: Everything you need to know when living in Amsterdam

Thinking about living in Amsterdam as an expat? Then you’re at the right address. Life in this large city can be quite overwhelming for most people. With that said, this blog will give you some tips and information about how life is in this city, and what you need to know before moving to Amsterdam. So stay seated during the ride and be ready to receive all your needed answers.

The small town feeling in a large city

The capital of the Netherlands, which is currently almost 750 years old, counts more then 900 thousands inhabitants. From Dutchies to Americans, almost every nationality is present in Amsterdam. Based on a cultural and financial view, it is the heart of the Netherlands. From the canal belt to the Anne Frank house, Amsterdam has all the aspects that a cosmopolitan city has.

But despite these facts, Amsterdam still gives you the feeling that you know each and every inhabitant that walks around. The warm welcome that internationals get when living in Amsterdam is one of the main reasons that there are so many expats who are coming to work in this city.

Why move to Amsterdam?

Amsterdam is a city where everything is properly arranged, just as in the rest of the Netherlands. The overal working- and living conditions are highly ranked in comparison with other cities throughout Europe. It is also a great place to live if you have children when looking at the school system and the numerous universities. Amsterdam is already home to 90.000 expats, so if you need some references its definitely possible.

What is like to live in Amsterdam

Amsterdam can be quite an overwhelming city at first. However, when you know how to avoid the tourist-filled areas, you will find out that the city is actually quite relaxing. The city is also very safe when talking about theft and other illegal activities. The most dangerous thing which Amsterdam knows are the thousands of bikers racing through the city.

Housing in Amsterdam

If the charm of this city attracts you, you might consider actually moving to Amsterdam. One of the first things to arrange is to find a beautiful home.

Finding a house or apartment might be one of the biggest challenges when coming to the city. There is a large housing shortage due to the amount of people that wants to live in Amsterdam. Most expats that are moving to Amsterdam still need to arrange fixed housing while already being in the city. The high renting prices in the housing market and the small availability can be a reason for some to cancel their moving plans towards Amsterdam.

On the bright side, finding the right place between the dutch people is not impossible. Many people tend to search for something that is for a temporary time until they have found a fixed solution. Amsterdam knows certain suburbs where this is possible, popular options are short stay hotels such as Hotel Jansen . The main advantage is that you can find an actual home while already staying in Amsterdam. This option also fits you perfectly when you’re only staying in Amsterdam for a couple of months.

Where to live in Amsterdam

There are plenty of neighborhoods in Amsterdam where you can live, it basically depends on your personal taste what you would personally prefer. If you prefer the busy lifestyle where there is always something going on, you must live in the most popular area: the city center. This will be the perfect combination of the cities unique history together with the all the tourist attractions (Red light district, Museum Quarter etc.).

Besides this part of Amsterdam, there are also other neighborhoods that are a bit more relaxing. Other regions such as de Jordaan, de Pijp or Oud-West are also very lively but just slightly separated from the city center by the canals. Other parts such as Zuidoost, Noord and Bos en Lommer are also quickly growing in popularity. These parts are a bit more distanced from the city center, but by bike or tram you’re in the center in a matter of minutes. These parts are very popular for expats because of the calmness that you have.

Still looking for housing in Amsterdam? Visit our brand new short stay hotel located in Zuidoost: Hotel Jansen Bajeskwartier. Perfectly designed for international talent who are staying in Amsterdam from 1 day to 6 months.

How do I move throughout the city?

For a big city such as Amsterdam, transportation is quite necessary to spare yourself some precious time. Here are three options which are most commonly used in the dutch capital:

The city’s best friend: riding a bike in Amsterdam

The most famous transportation tool in Amsterdam is definitely the bike. It is for a reason that Amsterdam counts more bikes then people. So, if you’re ready for a new adventure, try using the bike. Biking in the city is very easy, there are plenty of biking paths and the traffic is organized in a good way.

You can easily order a bike online or rent one at various places. Oh yeah, do make sure your bike has a proper lock, because bike theft is present in the city of bikes. And remember, the expat life in Amsterdam is not fully experienced without riding a bike. Because the city is basically designed for the two-wheeler, we highly recommend this option.

Public transport

If you want to move in a fast pace throughout the city (or if the weather is just bad), public transport is your best friend. Within Amsterdam it’s easy to get around by using the trams, trains and busses which are present in almost every street. The perfect example would be the north-south tram line, which takes you to the other side of Amsterdam within 15 minutes.

The only thing you need to have is an OV chip card. With this card you can travel by simply putting money on it to upgrade your balance. You’ll find these cards at train stations, kiosks or sometimes even supermarkets where you can easily purchase them. You can also buy them online if you like it the easy way.

Owning a car in Amsterdam

Driving a car in the capital of the Netherlands is not particularly recommended. Because Amsterdam is such a busy city, having a car in the city is not faster than other transportation options. It is even generally known that public transport and biking is faster and way cheaper.

It’s also very expensive to park your car in Amsterdam. Parking prices are easily passing €6,- per hour, which is insanely high. When your living in Amsterdam, you can request a parking permit for the area that you live in. However, the waiting time for these permits are very long. So if you’re only here for a certain period of time, its not worth the money and effort.

Cost of living in Amsterdam

As you might already guess, Amsterdam is not the cheapest place to live. The cost of living for an individual can easily climb up to a thousand euros per month, excluding rent. As mentioned before, the current housing market is not at its best which causes the renting prices to go sky high.

But besides the prices, the quality of life is very good. Most people are willing to pay these prices because they think its worth it. The current job market in the Netherlands also offers great salaries in comparison with other parts of Europe.

People of Amsterdam: the best of the Netherlands

The people of Amsterdam are really something different. Besides all the tourists, Amsterdam has a super diverse and multicultural society. This automatically means that there is basically something for everyone. The dutch are also very tolerant towards internationals, because they have been welcoming them ever since.

Another tip: try to learn the language if you’re staying for a longer period of time. Not only is it very effective business wise, its also highly appreciated by the dutch. Even if you try, it will already be recognized and acknowledged.

What to do if you’re looking for fun

As you may already guess, Amsterdam is a historic city with a lot of things to do for fun. So go out there and experience! But before you do, here are some things which you might be interested in.

Museums and galleries in Amsterdam

The museums and galleries which the dutch capital has are really something different. Most of the attractions are created or renewed in a very modern way, which also makes it attractive for the younger generation that might be less interested.

One of the biggest perks is that you can purchase a Museumkaart for €65,- per year. This gives you access to more than 450 museums and art galleries throughout the Netherlands. If you’re a museum lover, then this is definitely a bargain.

Restaurants and bars

If Amsterdam is not already full of people, then it’s definitely full of bars and restaurants. With more than 4000 restaurants, there is basically one present every 10 to 20 meters. Every cuisine imaginable is located in this city, so don’t take to much time on thinking what you would like to eat. If you want to have a really good breakfast, lunch or dinner then try to avoid the famous tourist spots such as Dam square.

Mokum’s nightlife

When the sun goes down, it’s officially time to see what Amsterdam has to offer during the nights. First of all, Amsterdam has a lot of cafés where typical dutch music is being played. These cafés are always full of people who are ready to have a good time and the atmosphere is always good. The most popular bars to go to (that are not filled with tourists) are located in areas such as de Jordaan, de Pijp and Rembrandtplein.

For the actual party animals among us, Amsterdam also has a lot of clubs where you can dance all night long. Where to party? The three main areas in Amsterdam for the most amazing nightlife are Leidseplein, Rembrandtplein and Dam square (same area as the red light district). Within these areas there are a lot of clubs that you can visit such as Disco Dolly, Club Nyx, Chicago Social Club and many many more. There’s a big chance you won’t just go once when living in Amsterdam.

Pros and cons of living in Amsterdam

To make it a bit more organized, we hereby present the pros and cons of living in Amsterdam.

The pros of living in Amsterdam

The most beautiful advantages of living in Amsterdam:

  • Amsterdam truly is a beautiful city with a rich history, amazing people and an inspiring culture.
  • Don’t worry about transportation options: the bike, trams, busses and metros are your best friends in Amsterdam.
  • The society of Amsterdam is very multinational and English is perfectly spoken: Almost 50% of the people in this city have a migration background.
  • Even if you don’t like food, you must like the many restaurants which are in Amsterdam.

The cons of living in Amsterdam

  • The housing market in Amsterdam is currently hard to intervene. The demand is insanely high, while the supply is not able to handle this challenge. Still looking for an temporary place to stay? Have a look at our rooms at Hotel Jansen Bajeskwartier, where you will live like a local and not like a tourist.
  • We can’t ignore the fact that the cost of living in Amsterdam is quite high. However, the job market in Amsterdam offers proper salaries. This makes living in Amsterdam a lot easier!
  • And then our last suggestion: do not bring or buy a car with you towards Amsterdam. It’s certainly not a privilege and there are way better options for you in the city center.

Now Amsterdam is all yours!

If you have made up your mind and you are coming to Amsterdam: congratulations! You now know how to survive in our Dutch capital as an expat! If you need any more information about our short stay hotel, please visit our website. We would love to help you out!

By Sophia Clark
Very Enjoyable

I’ve been enjoying my stay at Hotel Jansen a lot so far! The staff are super lovely and everyone living here is very friendly. The kitchens are clean and the location is very accessible.

By Camille Vanhee
Such A Cool Place

Hotel Jansen is an amazing experience. I found so many friends here, I recommend it to everyone!

By Jeanne Gironde
A New Home

Hotel Jansen is not only a welcoming and well located place in Amsterdam, it is also a community of friends. With students and workers from all over the world, this international atmosphere makes everyone feel at home. I really enjoy being here and I recommend to all newcomers this great experience.

By Bert Van Kerkhoven
Great Place

Staying here now for 2 months and will definitely extend as long as possible. Great place full of amazing people. The location is perfect for walks in nature and not too far from the city centre. They also serve great food in the restaurant downstairs, I haven’t cooked once. Highly recommended.

By Nina Rauch

I’m staying here now for three months and so far I had a really good time! I made some amazing friends and the rooms are also really nice. The restaurant downstairs has really good food and coffee and the staff is super friendly. I really enjoy my stay here and can just recommend this place!