beatriz on the canal in amsterdam

If you’re moving to Amsterdam (or thinking about moving here), then it’s probably a good idea to have some knowledge about how much you’re going to spend living in this city.

Before moving here, I started researching the cost of living in Amsterdam, in order to get a grasp of how much I would need to budget each month. I know it can feel a little overwhelming, but there’s nothing to fear!

Amsterdam is an expensive city, there’s no denying it – it’s the capital of The Netherlands and many people want to live here. However, in reality the most expensive things would be the rent and the services – apart from that, you’re good to go!

To make your life easier, in this post I’m breaking down the cost of living in Amsterdam – including the essential costs, some extras and tips on how you can save after moving here!

 

1. Rent

houses by the canal in amsterdam

Rent will probably be your biggest expense. If you want to live in the center of Amsterdam, in a nice area like De Pijp, Vijzelgracht, Jordaan, Oost or Museumkwartier, expect to pay between 1500-1700 for a 1-2 bedroom apartment, excluding utilities.

If you’re looking to rent a bedroom in the center, this usually costs between 800 and 1000€, depending on the area and conditions.

However, it is still possible to find a very nice apartment for a price lower than 1500€, as long as you don’t look in the center. Some good options would be Amsterdam-Noord, Watergraafsmeer, Zuid, Westerpark, Sloterdijk and Lelylaan.

 

2. Utilities

 

In the Netherlands, the gas price is fairly reasonable, but electricity has one of the highest prices in Europe! So, be mindful when using electrical devices at your home.

Gas and electricity are usually paid to the same provider. You pay a fixed amount each month and, in April, an adjustment is made, where you pay whatever you over consumed or get refunded for under-consumption.

You can expect to pay at least 120€ per month for gas and electricity and 15-30€ for water.

Besides this, you also have to pay the municipal waste collection tax. This is an yearly tax that the Gemeente (city hall) charges for taking care of your waste, and it is 435€ per year for a household with more than 1 person.

For the internet, usually you get wifi and TV in one bundle. If you’re looking into getting high speed internet, then you’ll probably be paying around 60€ per month. For the phone provider service, it will depend a lot on what kind of bundle you’d like to get, how much data, etc. – but you can expect to pay at least 12€ per month.

 

3. Health insurance

 

Health insurance is mandatory in the Netherlands! You can choose between many of the health insurance companies (tip: compare them on this website).

The most basic health insurance (with no extras, such as dental care, physiotherapy, etc.) costs 100€ per person and will guarantee that you’re protected in case you ever need to go to the hospital or visit the doctor.

 

4. Groceries

groceries in amsterdam

Now, groceries really depend on your eating habits!

When I first moved here, I thought groceries would be really expensive, but the truth is that they’re not. I would say that the only foods with really high prices are fish and meat!

If you’re not a big spender, are constantly on the chase for “korting” (discounts) and your diet is mostly plant-based, then you can easily spend just 350-400€ for two people.

However, if you do eat fish and meat (like we do), like to buy wine at your local wine shop, buy fresh bread in the local bakery and other nice luxuries, you can expect to pay up to 700€ for two people (I know, crazy difference!).

 

5. Eating out

having gin and tonic in the netherlands

Like most services, eating out can get a little expensive, especially if you’re having alcoholic drinks along with your meal.

A dinner at a regular, but nice, restaurant would cost around 25€ per person, but it can add up if you’re having wine or cocktails. A glass of wine is usually 5 or 6 euros, and cocktails start at 10€.

If you enjoy going out for beers every once in a while, you can expect to pay around 4-5€ for a beer. And if you want to have some bitterballen or other Dutch delicacies with your beer, this will cost you around 6€ more.

As for coffee, an expresso usually costs 3€, and a cappuccino costs 4€. If you’d like to have a cake or pastry with your coffee, then this will probably cost you 4-5€.

 

6. Gym

 

If you’re a fitness lover and would like to join a gym, don’t worry, because this won’t be a big expense! You can get really good deals at gyms in Amsterdam and find any type of gym.

Fit for Free, for example, has membership prices that start at just 20€ per month. There is also a really nice app called ClassPass, that allows you to work out at any gym they’ve partnered with and pay credits each time you do (so you can choose how much you’re spending each month).

 

7. Culture

beatriz in van gogh museum amsterdam

 

Culture is a huge part of Amsterdam – there is just so much you can do, so many museums you can visit, and I swear you won’t ever get bored!

You can actually get a Museum Pass (exclusive to residents in the Netherlands) that allows you to visit any museum in the Netherlands for only 65€ a year! That adds up to only 5€ a month, so I believe it’s totally worth it, considering just a ticket to the Van Gogh Museum is 21€.

If you enjoy going to the movies, currently a cinema ticket costs 11€. And don’t worry, because movies in the Netherlands are not dubbed – so the movie will be in English (if English is the original language) with Dutch subtitles (a great way to practice your Dutch skills!).

 

Now, let’s break all of this down and get a monthly average cost for two people:

 

Essential costs:

  • Rent: 1500€ (1 bedroom apartment)
  • Gas & electricity: 120€
  • Water: 20€
  • Wifi: 60€
  • Phone service: 25€
  • Waste tax: 36€
  • Health insurance: 200€
  • Groceries: 450€

Total for essential costs: 2410 for 2 people

 

Miscellaneous costs:

  • Gym: 60€
  • Cinema (once per month): 22€
  • Dining out (3x per month): 150€
  • Beers (3x per month): 80€
  • Museum pass: 10€

Total for miscellaneous costs: 322 for 2 people

Total costs per month for 2 people: 2784€

 

Of course, this is just an estimation of how much you would spend in Amsterdam! It will greatly depend on your lifestyle and what you enjoy doing.

Amsterdam with snow

Actually, there’s a bunch of things you can do in Amsterdam in order to save money! Let me tell you all about it:

  • Use your bike: biking around is so easy, and best of all, it’s free! You won’t have to spend money in gas or parking – you’ll just have the initial investment of purchasing the bike.
  • Shop fruit and vegetables at your local market or Turkish shops: Amsterdam is filled with markets that sell fresh fruit and vegetables, for a cheaper price than in the supermarket. You’ll save a bunch if you shop at the market or at Turkish shops.
  • Pay attention to the discounts at the supermarket: make sure you get the discount card for each supermarket and subscribe to their newsletter, so you’re always on top of every deal!
  • Eat less meat/fish: meat and fish are the most expensive foods in the supermarket. If you switch to a more flexitarian diet, you’ll be able to save some money!
  • Drink a non-alcoholic beverage when dining out: alcohol can be quite expensive in restaurants! So, if you stick to soda, you’ll be able to save a lot.
  • Shop clothes and furniture at one of the many vintage shops in Amsterdam: the city is filled with second-hand shops and even regular flea markets, so you can save a bunch and also be more sustainable by going vintage!
  • Have a picnic in Vondelpark instead of going out for lunch: Vondelpark is a hot-spot all year round, but especially nice in the Summer. Having a picnic there with your friends is one the best (and cheapest) things you can do!

I hope these Amsterdam cost breakdown and saving tips were helpful for you! Amsterdam can be an expensive city, but you can always find work-arounds to save money. Most of all, I advise you to come prepared and to HAVE FUN!

This city is truly magical and you will enjoy your time here for sure. Let me know if you have any additional questions in the comments!

If you’d like to learn more about life in Amsterdam, check out these posts:

Pros & Cons of Living in The Netherlands

One Year Living in The Netherlands – a Retrospective

Sunday Lunch in Amsterdam: My Top 3 Places

 

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