Cost of Living in the Netherlands

Expenses of living in the Netherlands
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Taking a closer look at the cost of living in the Netherlands. There’s no place like the Netherlands for scenery, culture, and a dynamic urban lifestyle. This vibrant tapestry comes with a practical consideration of the cost of living. As we explore the intricacies of the cost of living in the Netherlands, residents and expats alike need to understand the financial landscape.

Are you planning to move to the Netherlands? If the answer is yes, then this post is perfect for you. Read on if you would like to learn more about the country and the cost of living there.

Is living in the Netherlands expensive?

Living in the Netherlands can be quite expensive, especially in big cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and Utrecht. The cost of accommodation, groceries, transportation, and healthcare can be high. Rental prices in Amsterdam are notoriously high, but other cities in the country are also expensive. However, salaries are generally commensurate with the cost of living, and the Netherlands has a great infrastructure, healthcare, and public services. Even though it can be expensive, many people find the benefits of living in the Netherlands worth it.

In general, the cost of living in the Netherlands is high, but good job remunerations and local purchasing power make up for this.

According to Statista, the country has one of the lowest unemployment rates in Europe – 3.5% as of April 2021, high GDP and GDP per capita (among the highest in Europe) and overall great living conditions. The minimum wage in the Netherlands is changing twice a year – in January and July (every six months).

The demand for highly-skilled workers in the country is really big and foreign workers are always welcome. The most in-demand jobs are in the engineering, IT, healthcare, retail, customer service and marketing sectors. Note that there is even a 30% tax reduction rule applying to those employed in some of these industries.

Open a bank account in the Netherlands

To make your life easier and avoid the hassle of having to manage your finances from an overseas bank account, it is best to open a bank account in the Netherlands. There are a variety of national, international and local banks to choose from in the country.

We recommend that you carefully research the banks available in the city you’ve chosen to move to and your area of residence, the conditions they offer, etc., to make the best decision for your needs and requirements. To open a bank account in the Netherlands you should have the following:

  • Proof of address
  • Valid identification and a residence permit if applicable
  • BSN (citizen service number), which you are going to receive when you register with the tax office

Like in many other countries, you have the option to use online and mobile banking services, as well.

Accommodation costs in the Netherlands

According to Statista, the average house rent price in the Netherlands in the first quarter of 2021 was €16.34/sq.m. Understandably, the prices in Amsterdam are quite high – roughly €21.8/sq.m., while the prices in the Hague and Rotterdam are below the national average.

According to Numbeo, the price per square metre to buy an apartment in the city centre is €4,200.66/sq.m., while outside of the city centre, it is around €3,195.08/sq.m. The prices may vary depending on the city and area you are looking to settle in, with a higher cost in bigger cities/areas than the cost in smaller cities/areas.

While overall high, prices to rent and buy a property in the Netherlands are still lower than the average prices in the United Kingdom.

Average cost of utilities in the Netherlands

Utility bills in the Netherlands may be either included in the rental price or come on top. According to Numbeo, the basic bills, such as electricity, gas, and water are around €162.93. In terms of communication-related costs, one minute of prepaid mobile tariff local with no Discounts or Plans is €0.14. The average cost for internet access is €39.57 per month.

Transportation expenses

Now, let’s have a look at the average transportation costs in the Netherlands. According to Numbeo:

  • One way bus ticket: €3.00
  • Monthly pass: €89.90
  • Taxi (per km): €2.19
  • Gasoline: €1.65

The Netherlands offers one of the best and most reliable public transportation systems in Europe. You can easily and comfortably get around in the country by train, bus, tram, metro and ferry. The Dutch train network is very well-developed and you can use it for longer distances between cities and towns. In larger cities, there are the tram and metro systems to help you navigate around, while in smaller cities you can rely on busses. The northern islands have smooth ferry access.

Interestingly, the Netherlands is thought to have the best cycling infrastructure in the world. Naturally, a lot of people choose this type of transport like in the UK. And in case you decide to take a taxi, this is also fairly easy to do in the Netherlands. You can choose between local companies and the popular Uber. You should note, however, that Uber is mostly available in the largest Dutch cities.

Lastly, if you have decided to buy a car, this, in the Netherlands, does not come cheap. Also, note that gasoline is a bit more expensive than in the UK, according to data from Numbeo. According to the same source, buying a Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline or a similar quality commuter vehicle in Amsterdam will cost up to £22,049.38, whereas buying the same vehicle in London will cost up to £23,017.50. On a more positive note, there are no toll roads or vignettes you need to buy.

The roads are extremely well maintained and will make your travels absolutely painless. If you already own a car and would like to drive it in the Netherlands, as well, check out the UK government’s advice for further details.

Cost of food and drink in the Netherlands

In the next few paragraphs, we are going to review the cost of some necessities – food, clothes and personal care products.

ProductUnitPrice in €Price in £
Milk1 litre€0.99£0.86
Domestic Beer0.5 litre€1.19£1.03
Chicken Fillets1kg€7.79£6.73

A meal in an inexpensive restaurant will cost you around €15.00. A more expensive restaurant will charge you about €60.00 for a three-course meal. A regular cappuccino costs around €2.88 and for the days you decide to go for the fast food option – you will pay an average price of €8.00.

Attire and personal care

The prices in these categories may vary, based on your specific requirements. Clothing prices vary based on the brand, material, occasion, etc. The same applies to personal care products – the price range is quite big.

ItemPrice in €Price in £
1 Pair of Jeans (Levis 501 Or Similar)€83.04£71.75
1 Summer Dress in a Chain Store (Zara, H&M, or similar)€35.54£30.71
1 Pair of Nike Running Shoes (Mid-Range)€86.66£74.88
1 Pair of Men Leather Business Shoes€113.44£98.02
Product/ServicePrice in €Price in £
Deodorant, roll-on€3.98£3.44
Hair Shampoo€4.24£3.66
Tube of toothpaste€1.98£1.71
Standard men’s haircut€26£22.47
Standard women’s haircut€16.50£14.26


The cost of living in the Netherlands presents a complex picture, influenced by many factors, including housing, healthcare, and transportation. Even though certain expenses may be higher in the Netherlands than in other countries, there is a high quality of life, an excellent infrastructure, and a robust social welfare system that helps alleviate some of the financial burdens.

The country is one of the preferred choices for international relocation and unsurprisingly so. There are a lot of opportunities for employment and let’s not forget the Netherlands is in the top positions in many positive rankings, such as the World Happiness Report 2021.

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