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Living in the Netherlands

The Cost of Living in the Netherlands

When moving to the Netherlands, expats often ask about the average cost of living. Is it expensive to live here? What kind of wages will I need to survive? We can help you work that out. This page covers everything from the most expensive city in the Netherlands (Amsterdam) to the cost of a bottle of beer in a supermarket (around 1 EUR or 1.20 USD).

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At A Glance

  • The average cost of living in the Netherlands is high, but usually affordable for expats working in the country. Both Rotterdam and The Hague are in the top 30 cities in the world for local cost of living in the InterNations Expat Insider survey, with Amsterdam ranking at #56. 
  • Rural towns are far cheaper to live in than big cities like Amsterdam or The Hague.
  • Expect to spend more on utility bills here. The Netherlands has one of the highest electricity costs in the world, at about 0.25 EUR (0.30 USD) per kWh. 
  • Healthcare is private, meaning that you pay out-of-pocket.  A standard healthcare package costs around 80–130 EUR (95–155 USD) per month, with additional deductibles.
  • Public transportation is inexpensive, with inter-city travel costing a base fee of around 1 EUR (1.20 USD), plus a set fee per kilometer for every journey.

How Expensive Is It to Live in the Netherlands?

While the living expenses in the Netherlands do not compare to Switzerland or Norway, it is pricey. This is mostly due to the smaller size of the country, which results in high property prices. In the Dutch housing market, your rent will take about half of your paycheck.

Cost of Living in the Netherlands by Cities

If you choose to live in one of the bigger cities such as Amsterdam or The Hague, it will cost you considerably more than if you are aiming for smaller towns. Rural towns will be the cheapest areas to live. However, you do not always need to sacrifice the connectivity and liveliness of a city’s atmosphere for a cheaper cost of living. If you choose to live and work in more affordable locations, cities such as Eindhoven, Brenda, Groningen, or Tilburg, should offer a good balance of affordability and quality of life.

The Most Expensive Cities

Amsterdam

It costs around 930 EUR (1,100 USD) to live for a month in Amsterdam, before rent. This includes eating out and transportation. However, the high cost comes with a higher standard of living. This international city has many cultural events happening each month, as well as access to global cuisines and transport that will take you across Europe.

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Utrecht

Utrecht is slightly cheaper than Amsterdam, working out at around 900 EUR (1,150 USD) per month before rent, for a single person. It holds the largest university in the Netherlands (Utrecht University) and also has the busiest train station in the country (Utrech Centraal). It also has the highest number of events happening after Amsterdam, making it a good option for people who like to socialize. 

Rotterdam

Living in Rotterdam as a single person will set you back around 800 EUR (950 USD) per month, before rent. This expense isn’t surprising, considering it is the second biggest city in the Netherlands. A diverse city, where almost 200 nationalities are represented, riverside Rotterdam has long been a favorite of expats.

The Hague

Home to the Netherlands Government and the International Court of Justice, the Hague is a popular place for those working in government organizations. It is the third-largest Dutch city, and most foreign embassies are located here. Even so, it is cheaper than Amsterdam, Utrecht, and Rotterdam. The monthly cost of living, before rent, works out at around 750 EUR (890 USD) for a single person.

The Netherlands Grocery and Eating Out Prices

Average Grocery Costs

Groceries Price EUR Price USD
White bread (loaf) 1.10 1.30
Milk (1l) 1.50 1.80
Apples (1kg) 3.00 3.50
Potatoes (1kg) 2.00 2.40
Pasta (500g) 1.50 1.80
Rice (1kg) 1.00 1.20
Eggs (10) 3.00 3.50
Chicken breast (1kg) 9.00 10.50
Beer (0.33l) 1.00 1.20
Wine (0.75l) 6.00 7.00

Average Eating Out Costs

Item Price EUR Price USD
Fast food meal (medium) 6.60 7.80
Pizza 8.50 10.00
3-course meal (mid-range) 30.00 35.00
Beer and a bar 3.80 4.50
Medium coffee at a cafe 3.00 3.50

Rent Prices

In general, housing in the Netherlands is very expensive. These are the average monthly rent prices for a furnished one-bedroom property in the largest cities:

City Rent EUR Rent USD
Amsterdam 1,600 1,900
The Hague 1,000 1,200
Rotterdam 1,200 1,400
Utrecht 1,200 1,400
Eindhoven 1,100 1,300

These are the monthly averages for a furnished three-bedroom properties in the biggest cities:

City Rent EUR Rent USD
Amsterdam 2,800 3,300
The Hague 2,000 2,350
Rotterdam 2,000 2,350
Utrecht 2,100 2,500
Eindhoven 1,600 2,000

Utility Costs

There are many utilities’ providers in the Netherlands, so you have plenty of options. Often, getting your electricity and gas from one supplier will bring costs down as package deals are available. On the other hand, there is only one water supplier available per region. You must sign up with this local supplier.

If you are renting in the Netherlands, your landlord might already have set up suppliers and pay the bills on your behalf. Be sure to clarify what bills are included in your rent and ask to see copies of the bills to confirm the costs.

Also, remember that when setting up your utilities, you will probably need:

  • Proof of ID (e.g. passport);
  • Proof of occupancy (e.g. rental contract);
  • A Dutch bank account;
  • Bank statement or proof of residence from the local municipality.

Electricity and Gas

The Netherlands has one of the highest electricity costs in the world, at about 0.25 EUR (0.30 USD) per kWh. Cheaper tariffs are available at night and on weekends, which might decrease your bill significantly. However, you should still expect to pay 120–200 EUR (140–235 USD) per month. Gas costs around 0.08 EUR (0.095 USD) per kWh.

Water

There are a few ways your water bill might be calculated. If you opt for a water meter, you will need to pay an annual fee for it, plus monthly costs for every cubic meter used (usually around 1.10 EUR (1320 USD) per one meter). If you do not, your water bill will be calculated according to the size of your house. Your monthly bill should be around 15–30 EUR (18–35 USD).

Internet

The Netherlands is incredibly well connected, holding the most homes in Europe with fast internet speeds and no bandwidth caps. Internet should cost you around 40 EUR (47 USD) per month. There are several providers, and it is worth shopping around to find the best deal.

Cost of Education

If you are coming to the Netherlands with children, they will need to attend school. The costs you need to cover will depend on whether you choose public or private education. In general, public schools are free of charge. However, parents are expected to make some sort of contribution throughout the year for school trips or after school activities. These can cost about 100 EUR (120 USD) annually.

If you opt for private international schools, you will need to open your wallet a little more. Government subsidized schools’ yearly costs are around 3,600–6,000 EUR (4,250–7,100 USD). If you choose a fully private school, expect to pay 12,000–24,000 EUR (14,150–28,350 USD) per year. You can find more information on the Dutch education system in the Education section of our guide.

Healthcare Costs

Healthcare in the Netherlands needs to be covered out-of-pocket. The costs for a standard package can go to around 80–130 EUR (95–155 USD) per month. The deductible you have to pay before health insurance starts covering your expenses stands at 385 EUR (455 USD). You can find more information on health insurance in the Healthcare section of this guide.

Travel and Transportation Costs

The public transportation in the country is very well-developed and rather cheap. For example, inter-city travels charge a base fee of around 1 EUR (1.20 USD) per journey, plus a price-per-kilometer. The latter depends on which city you are travelling in, but usually it is around 0.15 EUR (0.18 USD). This means that a single journey can cost you approximately 1.50–2.50 EUR (1.80–2.95 USD). A monthly pass for all modes of transportation is around 420 EUR (485 USD) or 4,150 EUR (4,900 USD) if you pay for the whole year in one go. For more information, see our Living section.

Updated on: September 17, 2020
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