Areas and suburbs in Amsterdam

Countless expats have been pulled in and swept under by Amsterdam's balance of old world charm and cutting-edge modernity. Every year, the ’Venice of the North’ attracts thousands of foreigners who choose to settle here.

A true melting pot of culture, there are plenty of areas and suburbs in Amsterdam that have something unique to offer and make for prime expat-friendly accommodation.

Centrum – The heart of Amsterdam

The Centrum is the heart of Amsterdam, and a metropolitan favourite. Despite being the most populated area of the city, many prefer to live in its small, pricey apartments for easy proximity to world-renowned attractions and great restaurants.

One of the most loved destinations is the Grachtengordel, or Canal Belt, where expats will find the famous tree-lined canals associated with Amsterdam. The Singel Canal is widely visited because of the Anne Frank House and other museums. Perhaps equally famous, but for very different reasons, is De Wallen – the Red Light District.

Expats excited to live in the Centrum should be prepared to pay and look far and wide for parking.

Family-friendly areas of Amsterdam

Oud West – Where city meets nature

Oud West is another highly sought-after area for expat housing. It claims all the fantastic leisure-based perks of the city centre and combines them with a touch of nature. Cafés, restaurants, museums and shopping streets – like Ferdinand Bolstraat and PC Hooftstraat – are plentiful, and the famous Vondelpark is a beloved hangout for locals and tourists.

The residents are mainly students, educated Dutch and expats. Houses in the area are larger and more expensive than in the Centrum, and expats shouldn't be surprised to find lush gardens hidden away here and there.

Amsterdam Zuid – Amsterdam’s posh residential area

Amsterdam Zuid was formed when the boroughs of Oud Zuid and Zuideramstel were merged. This area is recognised as the upmarket side of Amsterdam. It's popular with Western expats thanks to the British International School and Vondelpark being close by, as well as its great infrastructure. With a peaceful atmosphere and plenty of playgrounds and parks, Amsterdam Zuid is a prime location for families.

In terms of leisure and recreation, the area has much to offer. Rijksmuseum and the Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art are located here, as are shopping destinations like Jacob Obrechtstraat, Cornelis Schuytstraat and Beethovenstraat.

Oost Watergraafsmeer – Lush, green living

Oost Watergraafsmeer is Amsterdam's greenest residential area. Whether expats prefer spending time outdoors in the garden, public parks or sports fields, plenty space is devoted to each.

This neighbourhood is a relatively quiet area of town with a fairly large, cosmopolitan population. Most are working class residents who aren't too focused on the night life, but there are several good restaurants and bars in the vicinity. Oost Watergraafsmeer also has a large ice-skating rink, the Jaap Edenbaan.

Westerpark – Family-oriented neighbourhood

Westerpark is a fairly quiet neighbourhood with a large number of expat residents. The area is especially recommended for expats with young families. It has several good schools as well as a few choice attractions, including the famous Culture Park Westergasfabriek, the Het Ketelhuis art house cinema, cafés and designer boutiques.

Areas for young and single expats in Amsterdam

De Baarsjes – The up-and-coming neighbourhood

This area is located within the city’s centre ring, which makes all the modern conveniences of the Centrum easily accessible without the hefty price tag.

Known for its good location and low crime rate, De Baarsjes is perfect for expats who prefer a quieter lifestyle.

The Rembrandtpark is a popular place in De Baarsjes for jogging and dog walking.

Zeeburg – Rapidly growing area of Amsterdam

Zeeburg is a relatively new area where most residents are in the younger age bracket. There are numerous Western and non-Western expats in this part of the city, thanks to its reasonably priced and spacious houses.

There is little greenery in this area, though, so expats who value outdoor living space should look elsewhere.