Moving to Amsterdam
The Dutch capital has been a global beacon 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 that 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.
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).
With the UK’s movement towards Brexit, it is uncertain what kind of visa British citizens will need to obtain before moving to Amsterdam.
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.
After a stint of years of falling house prices, Amsterdam’s property market has recently flourished. Although house prices are now more expensive than they were a few years ago, a growing confidence in the housing market has helped decrease mortgage interests. This means not only is buying property in the Dutch capital a smart business idea, it’s also not too expensive.
Around 40% of the residents of Amsterdam rent their homes. 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.
Whereas the prices of buying property will likely seem on par with the rest of Europe’s capitals, renting can be considerably higher. In this respect, Amsterdam shares similar rental prices with London. Residents should expect to pay upwards of €750 Euros a month, and around €2,000 a month for larger properties.
2017 has also been a good year for employment. Unemployment decreased significantly in 2016 and it looks like it will continue to go that way. In fact, the Netherlands has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the EU. On top of this, the national minimum wage has gone up. Now the least amount of money someone over 23-years-old can make is €71,61 a day.
Similar to the UK, the Netherlands survives mostly on the services industry rather than the manufacturing industry. There are plenty of jobs in fields such as marketing, finance and logistics, all with growing salaries. Skilled workers in engineering, IT and marketing are largely in demand in the Netherlands. So much so, there’s even an accelerated immigration process to help get them into the country.
You will not be alone as a foreign worker. Amsterdam is a melting pot of different cultures and people, 21% of whom are foreign or ethnic minorities.
You’ll typically find that work hours are equal to or less than the UK norm. Dutch workers are expected to work around 37 to 40 hours a week, and being asked to commit to overtime is unlikely. The culture of Dutch business is notoriously democratic: decisions have to reach a consensus with a number of people before they can be made. This means that meetings are called often, tend to be informal, and can take a while until a conclusion is come to.
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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|
History and Culture
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.