Finding housing: Don’t expect to live in Amsterdam

Next to a few other major cities in The Netherlands, like Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht, … Amsterdam  is still one of the most popular cities for internationals to move to.

There is one challenge though that not everyone who plans to move to Amsterdam, is aware of: it is very, very hard to find accommodation, in the areas that you had in mind, if you don’t have the right budget. Let me explain.

For example a 28 year old IT manager, moves on her local employment contract to Amsterdam. She was impressed by the nice pictures of the canals in Amsterdam and is enthusiastic to move to this vibrant and lively city. It would be great to live in a canal house or some other nice place in the centre of Amsterdam!

It is worth bearing in mind that canal houses are the most popular apartments in the city. The ones that are offered for rent are owned by private owners/investors who rent them out either furnished or decorated for a commercial price. The major drawback of this situation is that it is usually too expensive for an average salary of someone in the middle of his/her career. So totally unaffordable for the salary of the 28 year old IT manager. Also parking a car will cost about €5,- per hour and it takes years  on the waiting list to finally get a parking permit.

Therefore we give the advice to look in areas outside the city centre. And not only even there, but also in surrounding places like Almere, Hoofddorp, Haarlem. Especially in the first two, the rental prices are much more affordable. Commuting by public transport to work is very well organised in city’s surrounding Amsterdam. Still it is possible that there aren’t many apartments available. Therefore it is recommended to not be too selective and take the opportunity that you get.

If these expectations are managed in time, the move to The Netherlands will be smooth and affordable. Our IT manager will still be near Amsterdam and able to enjoy the city while commuting back to a nice home at the end of the day with save and reliable public transport.

For further information, please contact Pauline Son of Expat Management Group (

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