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Things to know
about Amsterdam

            Capital City of Holland

Visit the world-famous 17th-century capital of Holland. Enjoy the historic buildings, beautiful museums and pleasant ambience.

Go for a boat tour on the canals, stroll through Vondelpark, and go shopping in the inner city. Amsterdam is a unique city!

Amsterdam is without a doubt one of Europe’s most appealing cities.

A beguiling blend of historic canals, world-class culture, art and plenty more besides, it’s a real crowd-pleaser.

Its Unesco-protected canal network dates back to the 17th century, and there’s no better way to see them – and the stately houses that line their paths – than by boat.

It’s also a great way to get your bearings and pick which neighbourhoods to explore, such as arty Jordaan or De Pijp – home to lots of independent boutiques, cafés and bars.

It’s also worth embracing Amsterdam’s cosier side, holing up in one of its cute canalside cafés and exploring the city’s numerous parks, including the largest, the Vondelpark.

Amsterdam residents are big on active travel. You’ll need to buy a bike eventually as it’s the easiest way to get around most of the city centre.

There are plenty of cycle paths around the city and these usually take priority over motor vehicles.

Cycling aside, Amsterdam is super walkable and offers excellent gyms and sports groups.

The galleries and museums a big pull for anyone visiting Amsterdam – but they’re also equally enjoyed by locals.

Amsterdam is a creative city with many different exhibitions, festivals, and performances pretty much daily. Always check the local listings to make sure you’re not missing out on something cool.

You never know what you'll find!


Amsterdam can be a real feast for the taste buds – try Dutch delicacies such as raw herring, Gouda cheese and gooey Stroopwafels, while by night the city comes to life – pick from bars, pubs, live music and restaurants.

If you fancy discovering the Netherlands beyond Amsterdam, its technicolour tulip fields, picture-postcard windmills and dramatic coastline are all easily reached from the city.

There’s no doubt about it, this energetic city charms on every level.

Amsterdam's canal-woven core is laced by atmospheric narrow lanes.

You never know what you'll find: a tiny hidden garden; a boutique selling witty, stylised Dutch-designed homewares and fashion; a jewel-box-like jenever (Dutch gin) distillery; a flower stall filled with tulips in a rainbow of hues; an old monastery-turned-classical-music-venue; an ultra-niche restaurant such as an all-avocado specialist or one reinventing age-old Dutch classics.

Fringing the centre, post-industrial buildings in up-and-coming neighbourhoods now house creative enterprises, from art galleries to craft breweries and cutting-edge tech start-ups, as well as some of Europe's hottest clubs.

Amsterdam has one of the best public transport systems in the world. It consists of buses, trams, metropolitan light railways, and even ferries!

The metro system radiates from the city centre in four directions – although it’s not as commonly used as the tram system.

You can get a tram pretty much anywhere in the city. You’ll need to get an OV-chipkaart (public transport card) when you arrive.

How does Amsterdam Compare? 

Rent will definitely be your biggest expense – but that’s usually the case wherever you are in the world.

Nevertheless, rent in Amsterdam can easily exceed more than half of your income, so you’ll need to budget effectively. There are a few ways you can lower the costs.

Renting a room in a shared apartment is really common in the city, especially amongst young people in the city centre.

It’s also an excellent way to get to know new people. If you really don’t want to compromise on location, then sharing is your best chance to avoid sky-high rents.


Finding an apartment in Amsterdam can take some time. There is huge social housing stock in the city that is reserved for Dutch citizens.


Private rentals, on the other hand, only account for around 5-10% of all properties in the city. You’ll need to have some patience. Funda is the best website as most letting agents list their properties there.

  • Room in a flatshare in Amsterdam – $1000-1500

  • Private apartment in Amsterdam – $1500-3000

  • Luxury apartment in Amsterdam – $2000-5000


You’ll need to be prepared for finding an apartment to take a while. To take some of the pressure off it’s worthwhile booking an Airbnb in Amsterdam for a couple of months until you have everything sorted. This way you get to live like a local without having to worry about getting a lease straight away. Accommodation isn’t cheap, so staying in a hostel is another good option.

Amsterdam charges taxes for both property owners and tenants. You’ll have to pay 0.1293% of the listed value of the property in local taxation. It’s uncommon for utilities to be included with the rental but this still occurs occasionally. Always check the terms of the lease before signing.

Cost of Living
in Amsterdam

Might as well get the bad news out of the way – Amsterdam is an expensive city! It should come as no surprise that it’s the most expensive place to live in the Netherlands – but even by Western European standards, the cost of living is sky-high. Despite that, citizens also enjoy an excellent quality of life.

In general, the cost of living will fluctuate depending on your lifestyle. Rent is high across the board – but what about eating out? You can save a lot of money by cooking your own meals at home, but this also means you miss out on an important aspect of local culture. It’s all about getting that balance right.

The info below gives a breakdown of some of the most common costs associated with living in Amsterdam. We’ve gathered user data from a variety of sources to give you average costs across the city.

Rent (Private Room vs Luxury Villa)$1000 – $5000

Electricity $100

Water $30

Mobile Phone $30

Gas (gallon) $7.75

Internet $57

Eating Out $12 – $130

Groceries $150

Housekeeper (Less than 10 hours)$190

Car or Scooter Rental $430 (Scooter) – $1000 (Car)

Gym Membership $55

TOTAL $2054+ (We did say it wasn't cheap!) 

Eligibility to Work in Amsterdam

Depending on your nationality, you may require a residence and work permit if you want to live and work in        Amsterdam or elsewhere in the Netherlands.

      Living in Amsterdam – residence permits

  • If you want to live in Amsterdam (or elsewhere in the Netherlands) you might need a residence permit. This depends on where you are from, how long you want to stay and several other factors. 

    A stay of three months or less

  • If your stay in the Netherlands is for three months or less, your situation may require a tourist visa. This visa grants you the right to stay in the Netherlands. Learn more about obtaining a tourist visa for the Netherlands.

    A stay of longer than three months

  • If you want to stay in Amsterdam for longer than three months, you have to apply for a residence permit (verblijfsvergunning)

    Work permit

  • You require a valid work permit in order to work in the Netherlands. This permit provides an employer with the right to bring a foreign employee into the country. The employer is responsible for requesting the permit. 

  • Alongside the work permit, an employee also requires a valid residence permit which is tied to the length of the employment contract and their country of origin. You do not require a work permit if you are coming to the country as a highly-skilled migrant (knowledge migrant or kennismigrant) or if you are coming from within the EU, EER or Switzerland.

    Highly skilled migrants

  • Highly skilled migrants (knowledge migrants or kennismigranten) coming to the Netherlands qualify for an accelerated process. If your employer is participating in the highly skilled migrant scheme (kennismigrantregeling) by the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) and you meet the salary requirement, your employer can apply for your residence permit as a highly-skilled migrant. 

    Partner visa and residence permit

  • If your spouse or partner is a citizen of the Netherlands or the EU, you can apply for a residence and work permit with your spouse as a sponsor. In this case, your right to work is dependent on the rights of your sponsor. The application documents may vary, with proof of relationship being one of the requirements, along with a document specifying your marital status.

    Orientation Year permits for recent graduates

  • Recent bachelor’s and master’s graduates from universities and colleges in the Netherlands can search for work in the Netherlands for up to a year with an Orientation Year permit. This permit allows graduates from non-EU countries to seek employment or work without needing an extra work permit. This means they have free access to the Dutch labour market, as employers do not need to apply for a work permit for them.

    Startup permit

  • Ambitious entrepreneurs may apply for a temporary residence permit for the Netherlands, known as the ‘scheme for startups’. It affords the receiver one year to launch an innovative business which must follow several prerequisites, one of which is that this startup must be guided by a Netherlands-based experienced mentor (facilitator) and follow the criteria for innovation.

    Biometric security for your peace of mind

  • From 1 February 2014, residence permits must include a readable chip containing a passport photo and two fingerprints. As such, the IND and IN Amsterdam will work with biometric devices to record and read photos and fingerprints.

  • All migrants that require a temporary residence permit (MVV) should visit the embassy or consulate of their home nation to have a photograph taken and their fingerprints recorded. Those who do not require an MVV can have their photo and fingerprints recorded in the Netherlands. The biometric data is stored on the card and fingerprints will be scanned upon collection of the residence permit as a means of verification.


  • Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) 
    Telephone: +31 (0)88 043 0430 (Monday to Friday, 09:00-17:00)

    About the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND)

  • The Immigration and Naturalisation Service is part of the Ministry of Security and Justice (Ministerie van Veiligheid en Justitie) and is responsible for the implementation of the Netherlands’ immigration policy. The Service assesses entrance applications (e.g. for family reunification or work in the Netherlands). It also deals with residence permits for foreign nationals residing in the Netherlands, and requests for asylum and/or naturalisation.

    IN Amsterdam partners

  • For a full list of IN Amsterdam's partners, including immigration lawyers, or for more information on the Partnership Programme, please click here.

All information above is provided by

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