Moving to Amsterdam
The Dutch capital has been a global capital of tolerance and liberalism almost since its founding in the 14th century. Today, Amsterdam is famous the world over its relaxed attitude towards cannabis and its diverse nightlife.
Always a centre of trade and shipping, it was in 17th century Amsterdam that the free market found its expression in the world’s first stock exchange. Religious and economic refugees have long flocked to Amsterdam to escape persecution. An influx of Flemish printers made it the European capital of the free press. When the Nazis invaded in the second world war resistance to fascism in Amsterdam was widespread, as the story of Anne Frank’s protectors attests.
Today Amsterdam is still a major economic centre within Europe and still a model of social tolerance which attracts immigration from all over the world. The unemployment rate is one of the lowest among European cities. The housing market is heavily regulated to keep rents affordable. It’s a haven for cyclists and pedestrians where cars are actively discouraged in the city centre.
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New residents of Amsterdam can enjoy some of the world’s most important collections of art, most historically significant architecture and most vibrant nightlife in a city that shimmers with green trees and sparkling water.
Moving to Amsterdam from the UK
Moving to Amsterdam from the UK is relatively simple assuming that you have a British passport.
EU citizens simply need to register at the local town hall in order to obtain a BSM number - the Dutch equivalent of a National Insurance number. A residency permit is not essential but might make prospective employers feel more comfortable and can be obtained from the IND (immigration department).
Although most Dutch people speak English as a second language, learning Dutch is essential for anyone looking to live in Amsterdam long term. The municipality of Amsterdam provides free Dutch language courses to immigrants.
House prices have been falling in the Netherlands since 2008 - a trend which is expected to continue and which should provide pause for thought for anyone thinking of buying in Amsterdam straight away.
Rents are following the opposite trend due to high demand for city apartments. Rental prices are regulated by region though so check with the authorities that the rental prices you’ve been offered are within acceptable bounds. Two months’ rent is usually required as a deposit and agency fees are typically one months’ rent.
Comparing Amsterdam vs London
Climate-wise London and Amsterdam are fairly similar: though the Dutch capital is a couple of degrees cooler year round and experiences more rainfall it also sees more sunshine on average (about 12% more).
|Disposable Salary||£1,992 GBPpcm||£1,748 GBPpcm|
|3 Bedroom Apartment||£2,590 GBP||£1,513 GBP|
|Imported Beer 0.33cl||£3 GBP||£3 GBP|
|Bottle of Wine||£7 GBP||£5 GBP|
|Marlboro||£7 GBP||£5 GBP|
|Eggs||£2 GBP||£2 GBP|
|VW Golf 1.4||£15,943 GBP||£21,312 GBP|
|Basic Utilities||£160 GBP||£135 GBP|
|Rice (1kg)||£1 GBP||£1 GBP|
|Capuccino||£2 GBP||£3 GBP|
|Meal for 2||£49 GBP||£51 GBP|
|Cinema Ticket (1)||£11 GBP||£9 GBP|
The cost of living in Amsterdam is, on the whole, lower than that in London. Groceries, coffees and beers are all a smidge cheaper whereas property and rents come with a significant discount. You’ll find yourself paying a bit more for meals in restaurants, internet access, clothing and new cars.
Amsterdam has lower crime rates than London and less pollution. The residents spend less than half the time commuting on average and enjoy health care of a similar quality.
Culturally Amsterdam is a mecca for lovers of architecture spanning from the 14th century Oude Kerk, through the Art Deco Scheepvaarthuis apartment building to the modern era’s Van Gogh Museum. The latter is the host of a large collection of the eponymous artist’s work and forms an excellent complement to the Rijksmuseum’s collection of old masters.
The city’s huge collection of museums doesn’t end there though: the Anne Frankhuis and the Resistance Museum give a glimpse into life in occupied Amsterdam; the Jewish Historical Museum and the Rembrandthuis will take you further back in time; and the Sex museum and Hash Marihuana Hemp Museum will introduce you to Amsterdam’s famed liberal leanings.
Amsterdam offers the perfect home for any progressive individual looking for glorious cultural offerings, a lower cost of living and a world class nightlife.