Information correct as of May 2023
Before moving to a new country, you need to consider whether you can afford to live there. Knowing the cost of living in The Netherlands will help you to decide whether you will be able to financially support yourself or your family before moving there. Although the Netherlands isn’t a large country, the cost of living can vary depending on where you are staying, so there isn't a one-and-done answer to what the minimum cost of living for a person would be. However, this article will break down the different living costs you will encounter in The Netherlands to help you figure out whether you would be able to afford to move to The Netherlands.
Housing takes up a considerable amount of the cost of living in The Netherlands. This is because there is a constantly increasing demand for affordable accommodation with a limited amount of housing, especially in large cities like Amsterdam, which raises the rental and housing prices. When calculating the cost of your accommodation in The Netherlands, bear in mind that you will need to put down a security deposit, which can range between one and two months of rent, and your rental contracts could include utility costs as well. Other than accommodation, you will also need to factor in health insurance, food, transport, internet, gas, electricity, water and your hobbies into your monthly costs. This may seem like a lot, but with some planning and budgeting, it is very possible to afford to live in The Netherlands.
How Much Does it Cost to Live in The Netherlands?
The first thing you’re going to want to factor into your costs of living is your accommodation. When looking for housing in The Netherlands, it’s important to consider the location you’ll be living in. The cost of accommodation varies from place to place, but if you have a smaller budget then you may want to avoid places like Amsterdam and The Hague and look into less urban areas or smaller cities and towns. Bigger cities have a huge demand for housing and so have higher rental prices. Smaller cities like Utrecht and Haarlem are much cheaper to live in and are still well-connected by rail and road, so commuting around the country is doable.
For example, a three-bedroom flat in Amsterdam will usually be at least €2,000 a month, which can be too expensive for most expats. You can expect to pay less for your accommodation in the smaller cities previously mentioned and even cities like Rotterdam, so it's worth checking these places too.
Another cost of living in The Netherlands is health insurance, which is required by law if you have a job. The healthcare system in The Netherlands is a mix of private and publicly funded, which basically means you need to be insured under a policy. Fortunately, you only need to insure yourself with a basic health insurance package which covers standard and emergency medical care procedures but not extra medical procedures like dental care. There are lots of different healthcare providers in The Netherlands, and it will be up to you to decide who you buy insurance from. Whoever you decide on, the basic healthcare package will cost between roughly €100-130 per month, which will need to be factored into your cost of living while you live in The Netherlands.
Food in The Netherlands isn't drastically different in price when compared to nearby countries like Germany or the United Kingdom. Families should budget around €300–€500 per month for basic grocery shopping, and a single person can survive on half of that. If you have a smaller food budget, or you want to reduce your food costs, then here are some tips you can follow for cheaper shopping:
- Use a bonus card: Big Dutch supermarkets like Albert Heijn offer free bonus cards that you can use to redeem offers like price discounts and buy one get one free deals. Getting a bonus card as soon as you arrive will save you hundreds on your shopping while living in The Netherlands, so make sure to get one!
- Shop at cheaper supermarkets: While supermarkets like Albert Heijn or Jumbo have many locations and are convenient to shop with, Aldi and Lidl have much cheaper prices and are worth travelling to if you only have a small food budget.
- Use the local markets: The Netherlands is full of marketplaces, from the big cities to the small towns, you’re sure to find a market nearby. So why not use them for your shopping? They won't have everything you need, but they will definitely offer cheaper prices, and you will be supporting the local community too!
Bringing your own car or buying a new one isn’t possible for a lot of expats, luckily public transport in The Netherlands is excellent and affordable. Getting around the Netherlands can be done via trains, buses, metro and trams. To get around cities, you can buy 1-hour tickets and day tickets for between €3-9. However, to save money and for convenience, you should get an OV-chipkaart which will allow you to travel on all modes of public transport in the Netherlands. You can buy a personalized or anonymous OV-chipkaart for €7.50. Travelling from city to city can be more expensive, expect tickets from Amsterdam to Rotterdam to be above €15 for example.
How Much Does it Cost to Live on Your Own?
When living on your own in The Netherlands, you only have to support yourself financially, which obviously makes your cost of living cheaper. Our advice on living costs like health insurance, food and travel applies whether you live on your own or don’t. One major difference in your cost of living when you live on your own is accommodation. As previously mentioned, one of the largest costs of living in The Netherlands is accommodation. It can be both expensive and difficult to find.
Finding affordable accommodation in the big Dutch cities can be extremely challenging because housing and rental prices have increased massively in the past few years and availability is a huge issue. If you need to live in a city for work, then you would be best served not looking in the centre for accommodation. This is because it is often cheaper and easier to find accommodation away from a city centre, and thanks to The Netherlands' excellent public transport system it’s easy to get around. For example, renting a one-bedroom flat near central Amsterdam will range from €1,000–€2000 a month, but living on the outskirts of the city will have cheaper rental prices of under €1000 a month.
If you plan on living on your own in one of the main Dutch cities like Amsterdam or The Hague, then house/flat sharing is probably your best and most affordable option. While you may have to share a bathroom or kitchen with other people, your rental costs will be considerably lower. You can expect a shared flat in Amsterdam to cost between €400-1200 a month. This lower cost will help you reduce your cost of living and give you more money to spend on yourself!
Hopefully, your life in The Netherlands won't just be working and paying bills, and you’ll have time to pursue your hobbies! Most hobbies don’t come for free, however, and any activities you do regularly that cost money will need to be added to your cost of living in the Netherlands. For example, a gym or leisure club membership will probably cost you between €20-40 a month. Or, if you enjoy going to the movies, a ticket will likely cost you between €7-15, depending on the cinema. But, an unlimited film pass would cost you €20-30 a month, which makes it easy to get your money's worth.
How Much Does Internet Cost per Month in an Apartment?
Once you've found a place to call home in The Netherlands, it will be time to get some Wi-Fi and set up your broadband. How much you pay for internet per month will depend on the internet provider you choose. The majority of Dutch Internet companies offer broadband packages that include internet, phone, and television deals. Unlike other countries like the UK, The Netherlands does not require its residents to have a TV licence, though you may have to pay for cable because the channels are limited. A few popular internet providers in the Netherlands include:
If you’re willing to pay a higher price for more stable internet and fast speeds of over 500 Mbps, then Ziggo would be a good choice for you. However, if you were looking for something on the cheaper side, then Youfone might be better for you. Although Youfone’s internet speeds of around 50 Mbps may be off-putting, their monthly rate of around €30 is half the price of Ziggo. Of course, it doesn't have to be one or the other, and there are a huge plethora of internet providers for you to compare and decide which is best for you.
How Much is Gas and Electric per Month?
The final cost to factor into your cost of living is your utilities. Your gas and electricity bills will of course vary depending on the time of year and your personal usage, but expect to spend between €100 to €200 a month. In 2022, due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, a country The Netherlands relied on for their oil, energy prices have risen drastically. Currently, the average Dutch household will pay €2,800 for utilities compared to €1,300 the year before.
If you’re renting, then hopefully utilities are included in the cost of your rent, but if you are paying the bills yourself then you should get familiar with some popular energy providers in the Netherlands such as:
You can compare the prices of all the Dutch energy providers on sites such as Pricewise, this way you can decide for yourself which service and price suits you best. On top of your gas and electric bills, you will also be charged annual utility fees. This includes municipal taxes like sewerage charges of around €140, water tax, and waste collection charges between €320 to €435 depending on how many occupants live in your home.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it expensive to live in Amsterdam?
Do you need a TV Licence in the Netherlands?
How expensive is food in The Netherlands?
Amsterdam’s huge popularity means the cost of living is significantly higher than in other parts of The Netherlands, with higher rent prices and a lack of affordable housing. Living in Amsterdam’s central areas is particularly expensive, although the outskirts tend to be cheaper and thanks to Amsterdam’s fantastic public transport system it’s easy to get around.
Unlike other countries like the UK, The Netherlands does not require its residents to pay for a TV licence, though you may have to pay for cable because the public channels are limited.
Food in The Netherlands isn't drastically different in price when compared to nearby European countries. Families should budget around €300–€500 per month for basic grocery shopping, and a single person can survive on half of that. If you have a smaller food budget then try using a bonus card, shopping at cheaper supermarkets like Aldi or use the local food markets!
Living in The Netherlands
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