How Much Does It Cost To Live In Amsterdam?

I’ve now lived in Amsterdam for a continuous 12-month stretch (June 2015 to May 2016). During that time I tracked all my expenses, which I’ll share with you below.

We’ll also look at the following:

(By the way, I’ve been tracking my income and expenses since 2011. If you want to check out all my monthly finance reports since then, click here.)

Autumn in Amsterdam.
Autumn in Amsterdam.

Some notes and disclaimers before diving in:

  • In this report I’m only listing expenses related to living in Amsterdam, so I’ve removed all my online business expenses, e-book purchases, online donations, that kind of thing.
  • During those 12 months I did take a couple of trips back to Ireland to visit family. I was probably out of town for three weeks total. I didn’t separate out my expenses for those three weeks because it would be a pain in the ass to do so, but I don’t think it makes much difference to the numbers anyway.

My expenses might be HIGHER than yours because…

  • I rented my own place in a central location. You can save big on rent if you live less central and share accommodation. (See below for tips on how to find an apartment.)
  • You may qualify for the 30% tax ruling while I didn’t. (More on this in the tax section below.)

My expenses might be LOWER than yours because…

  • I don’t drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes or do drugs.
  • I don’t eat out a lot.
  • I didn’t start paying for health insurance until midway through the year.
  • I work from home so I don’t have any commuting expenses.

Alright, let’s get to it…

Monthly Avg. 12 Month Total
Housing & Utilities 7 € 1,259 € 15,110
Food & Drink 8 € 379 € 4,547
Clothing € 83 € 998
Health & Fitness 9 € 75 € 901
Miscellaneous Out & About 10 € 46 € 546
Travel & Transportation 11 € 45 € 541
Taxes & Admin 12 € 44 € 526
Electronics 13 € 25 € 294
Phone 14 € 17 € 205
Miscellaneous Household 15 € 17 € 201
Toiletries € 13 € 156
TV/Cinema/Theater 16 € 9 € 110
Laundry 17 € 3 € 39
Total € 2,015 € 24,174
  • €2,015 – monthly average
  • €24,174 – 12 month total
Winter in Amsterdam.
Winter in Amsterdam.

What About Taxes?

Not included in my expense report above are income taxes, because I haven’t paid them yet.

But to give you an idea of what to expect, use this handy Dutch Income Tax Calculator.

Via that calculator, I worked out the following for the 2016 tax year…

If you want to spend… You need to earn…
€1,500/month €1,833/month … €22,000/year
€2,000/month €2,750/month … €33,000/year
€2,500/month €3,583/month … €43,000/year
€3,000/month €4,500/month … €54,000/year
If you want to spend… You need to earn…
€1,500/month €1,500/month … €18,000/year
€2,000/month €2,083/month … €25,000/year
€2,500/month €2,917/month … €35,000/year
€3,000/month €3,667/month … €44,000/year

What is the 30% ruling?

It’s a massive tax break for highly skilled expats in the Netherlands. You should definitely look into it and see if it applies to you before you move here.

More info here: An in-depth look at the Netherlands’ 30% ruling

Street performers in front of the famous I Amsterdam sign.
Street performers in front of the famous I Amsterdam sign.

How To Find An Apartment In Amsterdam

I’ve only been on the hunt for an apartment in Amsterdam two times, which is of course a tiny sample size, but here’s what I have concluded from my own experience and from conversations with many expat friends who have sought accommodation in this city:

  • Looking for an apartment through formal channels is usually a waste of time.

By “formal channels” I mean newspaper classifieds, rental agencies, etc.

I have never received one email response or telephone callback despite dozens of inquiries made through such channels.

What has worked much better for me (and friends) is the following approach:

  • Spend your first week or two in Amsterdam staying in a hostel, hotel or AirBnB.

How Much To Rent An Apartment In Amsterdam?

The following numbers are from Numbeo.com (updated for 2019). Note that these prices do not include utilities.

  • Apartment (1 bedroom) in city center: €1,527
  • Apartment (1 bedroom) outside city center: €1,129
  • Apartment (3 bedrooms) in city center: €2,566 5
  • Apartment (3 bedrooms) outside city center: €1,821 6

Also according to Numbeo.com and some of my own research, utilities (gas/electric/wifi) are going to set you back anywhere from €100-300 per month.

Some other things to note:

  • I paid €1,150 (later €1,160) per month for the one-bedroom apartment shown in the video at the top of this page. It was 45 square meters, located just inside the canal belt (near Weteringcircuit), and all utilities (gas/electric/wifi) were included. That was back in 2015-2016 though. The same apartment probably rents for €1,300+ now.
  • I have several friends renting nice, spacious apartments within the canal belt for less than €600/month. But don’t get too excited: the only way to rent that cheap is through social housing, for which you must qualify and then sit on a waiting list for ten years or so. More info on social housing in Amsterdam here.
  • If you plan to stay in Amsterdam long-term, consider applying for a mortgage and buying your own place. Mortgage rates in the Netherlands are relatively easy to obtain and you’ll often end up paying much less per month on the repayments than you would if you were renting. Here’s a good place to start if you’re interested in buying property in Amsterdam.
  • One final option is anti-squat, as described here:

Anti-squat companies or, in Dutch, anti-kraak are those (some say evil) companies that look for people to move into an empty building (usually an office of old school) to prevent it from being squatted. Anti-squatters have no rights at all. The company will let you know only one month in advance that you have to move out. This is clearly stated in the contract you sign. But, it’s very cheap. You only pay electricity. There is no furniture and you’d better not invest too much in decoration any way, because it’s possible you’ll be out on the streets again in a short while. It’s popular though, especially among students, so there are waiting lists.

Some anti-kraak companies: Zwerfkei and Ad-Hoc (also for artists workplaces).

Dutching it up a bit.
Dutching it up a bit.

How Expensive Is Amsterdam?

Below are two sites you can use to compare the cost of living in your current city versus Amsterdam. The links will take you to a comparison between Amsterdam and Berlin, but you can easily plug in your own city and see the difference.

Alright, that’s all I’ve got for how much it costs to live in Amsterdam.

As mentioned earlier, I started tracking all my income and expenses back in 2011. If you’d like to peruse all my monthly finance reports since then – and see how I’ve earned and spent my money while working from my laptop and traveling to more than 35 countries – click here.

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About The Author

34 Comments

  1. Great video Niall – fun, fast-paced, interesting and I loved the music! Best of all, since we’re budget conscious travelers it was amazing to find out what the “real” prices are for slow-travelers who enjoy immersing themselves in a culture versus vacationers. P.S. As a reminder, since I know you meet lots of people, we’re the US couple (of a certain age!) that you met on the Norwegian Repositioning Cruise to Barcelona in 2015 and hosted you for a salad one day. We fell in love with Portugal, qualified for residency visas and now have access to all of Europe. Come on over and visit us in the Algarve and see how the costs compare (during the low season anyway!) 🙂

  2. Thanks for this! A lot of people from abroad have no idea. And do not understand why I ask €60,- for a night in my Airbnb. I’m Dutch and have to pay even more tax (33% to 42% income tax, and €125,- health insurance) I’m not gready but just want to go to the cinema every now and than and ‘Airbnb’ makes that kind of difference to me. Also the links can be handy, I will sent it to some that are interested to come living in Amsterdam.

    1. Hi, Roon!
      I am Marina and I will be coming in Amsterdam in October, to work, and study Dutch language. I live in Bulgaria now. So I am searching for an accomodation. That’s how I found this site. 🙂 Looking through the posts and replies, I found your reply. So it will be very nice of you if you give me a link to your apartment in AirBnb, so that I can have a look… and have an option to think of. I am not really into staying right in the center of Amsterdam, but I am looking now for something that is for two-three weeks. Thanks a lot :))

  3. Hey Niall! I really liked this video! Makes sense to use this kind of video recording in the context of “sharing (boring-to-search-) information”! I.e., your other type of video recording is good enough to portray other topics! 🙂
    The information is pretty useful for me, as I love Amsterdam so much and might want to live there some day! Cheers!

  4. Love the new video style. The funny stuff and bloopers at the end are great. Much more engaging and interesting. One piece of advice, lose the earbuds if possible. I find myself distracted every time they appear in your head.

    Thanks for the great info on living in Amsterdam. Sounds like a wonderful and fairly inexpensive place to hang out.

  5. Interesting piece! Nice humor! You seem to be focusing more on humor in this vid than previous vids. How did you manage to stay on the bike while cycling and filming a few of those clips though?!

  6. Awesome video! I haven’t checked in on your site for about 6 months, so it was a fun welcome back kind of video. Everyone needs to laugh, and your video was my laugh for today.

    Thanks!

  7. Awesome vid Niall and thanks for sharing your budget specifically – it’s a good overview on costs of living in Amsterdam. I have been considering moving from London to Amsterdam, and I am looking for comparison blogs/sites etc. I’ve read so many articles about comparisons and discovered helpful sites, but I noticed you didn’t mention one of my favourites – Teleport. For example, comparing Amsterdam and London: https://teleport.org/compare/amsterdam-and-london/ I think you would find it interesting specially, as you’ve tracked all your income and expenses for years now.

  8. I am a recent graduate and I am looking to move to Amsterdam from the US. What are the easiest ways to look for roommates to live with in the city? Does the Netherlands have leases like we do?

  9. Ciao Niall, I’m Italian currently leaving in Dublin. I’m thinking to move to Amsterdam and actively looking for a job there. I would like to ask as salary expectation about 38/39.000 gross per year. Do you think is a reasonable amount to live in Amsterdam and to save some money every month? Thanks

    PS: your video and tips are amazing!

    1. Not sure, Valentina. I never looked for a job in Amsterdam. I’m self-employed. But yeah, 38/39k per year is plenty to live in Amsterdam so long as you’re not spending lavishly 🙂

  10. Niall: I haven’t had the chance to visit you here for about 6 months. Dang, dude. You’ve really stepped up your videos. Great info and humor. You make it so I can fully taste a longer trip to Europe.

  11. Great video and great advice on here, im moving to Amsterdam in May for a new job from the UK and have given myself a week to find accommodation. Have I set myself too hard a task for this?

  12. Hey!

    How are you?!

    I will be moving / relocating to Amsterdam on a permanent basis on the first week of October and I’m looking to find a decent place in the city centre. A decent one bedroom apartment somewhere central, ideally, Joordan area, or Grachtegordel, or Canal Ring,

    Any help / leads would be appreciated!?

    Charlo’

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  15. Hi Niall, I’ll probably move to AMS next year as i have a 65k-66k gross salary offer, it seems that it would be a great income, isn’t it? I move from Italy.

  16. This was really helpful in my planning for a family move to the Netherlands.

    I’m in a bit of a different situation with family coming along but helpful in giving an idea of the cost on some of the random stuff we have to remember to factor in.

  17. Hi, Niall!
    Thanks for the really helpful website and interesting and valuable information that your share! I will be going to Amsterdam next month to work and study Dutch, so I really need a lot of information to get things working…
    It is good to have people like you around :))
    Thanks! 🙂

  18. Hey Niall,

    thank you so much for this video. Looking to move from London to possibly Amsterdam, mostly due to racial and xenophobic tensions in the UK after Brexit and this video really helped put everything into perspective.

    Thank you from a Portuguese living in London

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