Cost of Living in the Netherlands

The cost of living in the Netherlands is relatively high, with the capital being particularly pricey. In the 2019 Mercer Cost of Living Survey, Amsterdam was ranked as the world's 58th most expensive city for expats out of the 209 cities surveyed. Other major European cities such as Rome, Vienna and Oslo have a similar cost of living. While other major Dutch cities such as Rotterdam and The Hague are by no means cheap, they do have a lower cost of living than Amsterdam.

Cost of accommodation in the Netherlands

Finding the right accommodation is always difficult and the Netherlands is no exception, especially in large cities. It's much cheaper to live in smaller, rural towns. If living in a city, it's cheaper to live in outlying suburbs rather than the city centre.

Buying a house in the Netherlands is complicated and is probably done best with an English-speaking intermediary. Once the house is bought, the buyer has to get house insurance and will also be responsible for sewerage, refuse and annual housing taxes. Renting a house exempts tenants from these costs as these will be the responsibility of the owner, but utilities are often an additional expense on top of rent.

Cost of transport in the Netherlands

Public transport in the Netherlands is relatively cheap by European standards. Most of the country's public transport systems work with a chip card which can be used on trains, trams, metros and buses. On the other hand, taxis are expensive. However, there is a service called the deeltaxi; a shared taxi service. That said, they usually make several stops along the journey, which can be inconvenient.

Cost of education in the Netherlands

Tuition at local schools is free apart from a voluntary contribution. Teaching is usually in Dutch. However, there are also a handful of government-subsidised public schools offering international curricula, with teaching being either bilingual or in English. Some public schools also have the option of a bridging year, to allow non-Dutch-speaking children time to pick up the language and adapt before moving into mainstream Dutch schooling.

Private international schools are often the preferred option for families who won't be staying in the Netherlands for the long term. However, fees can be high and often don't include extras such as school uniforms, textbooks, bus service and canteen lunches.

Cost of living in the Netherlands chart 

Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for Amsterdam in October 2019.

Accommodation (monthly)

One-bedroom apartment in the city centre

1,600 EUR

One-bedroom apartment outside of the city centre

1,200 EUR

Three-bedroom apartment in the city centre

2,700 EUR 

Three-bedroom apartment outside of the city centre

1,900 EUR


Milk (1 litre)

1.10 EUR

Loaf of white bread

1.50 EUR

Rice (1kg)


Dozen eggs

2.50 EUR

Chicken breasts (1kg)

9.50 EUR

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)



Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)

0.20 EUR

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

40.50 EUR

Utilities (monthly for average-sized home)

165 EUR

Eating out

Three-course meal at mid-range restaurant for two

60 EUR

Big Mac Meal



3.10 EUR

Local beer (500ml)

4.50 EUR

Coca-Cola (330ml)

2.40 EUR


Taxi rate (per km)

2.40 EUR

City-centre public transport fair



1.70 EUR

Rosalind Van Aalen Grant Our Expat Expert

Having lived in Spain for most of my life, moving to the Netherlands was quite a culture shock. Rules, regulations and grey clouds don't exist in the Canary Islands. However now being here three years I am beginning to get used to it! I write a blog focusing on living in the Netherlands and bringing up a multicultural family in an expat country. Follow my blog, Windmill Fields.