Trying to figure out where the best places to live in The Netherlands are?
If you’ve visited The Netherlands before on vacation, you’ll know just how easy this country is to fall in love with. Many tourists dream about moving to this progressive and open-minded country thanks to the friendly locals, widely spoken English, and high quality of life.
PSSST. Your travel medical insurance can now cover COVID-19!
If you grab SafetyWing Nomad Insurance, it’ll be covered just like other illnesses. I’ve been using it since 2019 and I can assure you it’s the perfect solution for nomads like you and me.
If you’re considering The Netherlands for your next move, you’re likely wondering which city is best.
It may be a small country, but a handful of Dutch cities have large international communities and abundant job opportunities. So read on to discover the five best places to live in The Netherlands for expats.
The world-famous Amsterdam is easily the most popular destination for expats living and working in the Netherlands. The incredibly diverse capital city is home to around 180 nationalities, making it one of the best dutch cities for English speakers.
Amsterdam is mainly known for Cannabis coffee shops, window brothels, and crazy parties. However, the city offers foreigners much more than an epic weekend.
Amsterdam is a vast cultural hub with a charming historical center, many different museums, and various festivals hosted annually.
Amsterdam is also extremely picturesque, thanks to its vast network of canals, pretty parks, and green spaces. Because of this, it’s no surprise the most popular way to get around the city is by bicycle, which helps reduce congestion and carbon emissions.
Aside from the 515 km of dedicated cycle lanes, Amsterdam has an efficient and affordable public transport network of trams, buses, metros, and ferries.
Another reason expats and digital nomads claim Amsterdam to be one of the best places to live in The Netherlands is the number of job opportunities. There are plenty of skilled and unskilled jobs for foreigners in different sectors, and many do not require you to speak Dutch.
However, living in The Netherlands’ biggest cultural and entertainment city comes at a price.
Housing and living costs are significantly higher in Amsterdam than in other Dutch cities. Expect to pay as much as €1700 a month for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center!
Rotterdam is the second biggest city in the Netherlands, mostly known for being home to Europe’s largest seaport. The port and its abundant job opportunities have attracted workers worldwide, making Rotterdam almost as diverse as Amsterdam.
Compared to the historic capital city, Rotterdam is incredibly modern, with huge skyscrapers and state-of-the-art constructions like the Erasmus Bridge. This is because Rotterdam was fully reconstructed after the destruction caused by WWII.
However, the city has not lost all its heritage, as specific neighborhoods like Delfshaven have many historical buildings dating back to the 17th century. What’s more, Rotterdam has the World Heritage Site, Kinderdijk, on its doorstep.
Aside from the high rises, Rotterdam has many similarities to Amsterdam.
An extensive network of waterways connects to the seaport, giving the city an incredibly picturesque appearance. Plus, there’s a vibrant nightlife and a trendy food scene.
Aside from its large international community and modern architecture, Rotterdam is one of the best cities to live in The Netherlands, thanks to its reasonably affordable living costs.
It’s possible to find a one-bedroom apartment for under €1000 a month in the outskirts. However, if you want to live in the city center, expect to pay more.
Being such an international city, finding a job here as a foreigner is not tricky. Aside from the massive port, there are opportunities in finance, engineering, digital marketing, and more.
Because The Hague is known as the country’s political capital, it can sometimes be overlooked. However, one thing The Hague has that Amsterdam and Rotterdam do not is a beach.
The Hague is located on the Western coast, and although The Netherlands does not have all-year-round warm weather, the seafront gives this city a unique appeal.
The coastline is not the only nature aspect to be found here either. The Hague is surrounded by woodland and wildlife areas with a vast hiking network.
Therefore, The Hague is one of the best cities in The Netherlands for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.
The Hague also boasts a nice balance between old and new. There are a few skyscrapers, but tons of ancient buildings and landmarks, too, such as the Peace Palace.
You can also explore many museums and attractions during your free time, including Madurodam miniature park and the Kunstmuseum Den Haag art museum.
The Hague is home to various embassies and international organizations, resulting in plenty of job opportunities for expats. Because of this, The Hague has become extremely multicultural, so you will find a large international community here.
Regarding living costs, The Hague is slightly cheaper than Rotterdam. Depending on the neighborhood, you can rent a one-bedroom apartment for between €900 and €1100.
However, the housing market can be competitive, especially in the most desirable districts like Zeeheldenkwartier, Statenkwartier, and Archipelbuurt.
Utrecht is a charming, old, small municipality in the country’s center, well connected to the other best Dutch cities. If you live in Utrecht, you can drive to Amsterdam, Rotterdam, or The Hague in around one hour.
Utrecht’s historical center and pretty canals have earned it the nickname of “little Amsterdam,” but there are far fewer tourists here. Still, Utrecht is a vibrant city, partly due to its university and the bustling young atmosphere it creates.
Although it is much smaller than the capital city, Utrecht hosts more cultural events. It is arguably even prettier, too, thanks to its fairytale-style castle and other ancient landmarks like the Gothic Dom Tower.
Oudegracht (The Old Canel) is one of the city’s most beautiful and lively parts, as restaurants and small bars line the water. Oudegracht, like all parts of the city, has a very local feel, which is one reason expats choose Utrecht over one of the more famous cities.
Being near Amsterdam, some expats who prefer a quiet life decide to base themselves in Utrecht and commute to Amsterdam for work. Housing is, on average, 25% cheaper in Utrecht, so if you don’t mind the daily drive, this could be a good solution.
Still, apartments and houses can be sparse in the most desirable neighborhoods such as Oost, Hoograven, Lombok, and Wittevrouwen.
However, just outside the city, you’ll find the new suburb of Leidsche Rijn, which is more affordable and with more housing options.
Eindhoven is not very well known, but it’s one of the best places to live in The Netherlands for expats working in the tech industry and eco-conscious digital nomads.
Located in the southwest, Eindhoven is mainly known for being the birthplace of electronics giant Philips.
This has made the town a favored spot for tech, design, and other startups in the creative industries. Thus, for expats working in these fields, Eindhoven is an excellent choice of base.
Because of its innovative vibe, Eindhoven’s city center features some incredibly modern architecture, including the Evoluon science museum that resembles a flying saucer.
Also, in Eindhoven, you will find the longest cafe and bar-lined street and the second largest airport in the country.
Aside from the intriguing buildings, Eindhoven has plenty of pleasant green spaces. In fact, it is estimated one-third of its public spaces are dedicated to parks, making it one of the greenest cities in Europe.
Living costs are not exceptionally high or low here, and rental prices align with Utrecht. However, the style of housing varies depending on the area.
The city center consists of primarily modern apartments, where most of the single working expats and digital nomads reside. On the other hand, you’ll find larger but older houses and a more family vibe in the outer districts.
Final Thoughts On Best Places To Live In The Netherlands
Whether you adore the vibrant atmosphere of Amsterdam, the modern architecture of Rotterdam, or the coastal views of The Hague, there is an idyllic place for all types of expats.
Like all countries, choosing between the best places to live in The Netherlands comes down to your personal preference, priorities, and circumstances.
Not sure if the Netherlands is the right place for you? Read one of the following guides: