Cost of Living in the Netherlands

As with many other European countries, the cost of living in the Netherlands has gone up with the introduction of the euro, and many residents still enjoy talking about how expensive everything has become and how they miss guilders.

Wages in the Netherlands are average compared to the rest of Europe. They're certainly higher than in Spain and Italy, but lower than England and Germany. 

Cost of accommodation in the Netherlands

Finding the right home is always difficult and the Netherlands is no exception, especially in large cities. It's much cheaper to live in the non-urban areas, and cities like Amsterdam and The Hague can be very expensive.

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 priced according to zones. That said, they usually make several stops along the journey.

Cost of eating and drinking in the Netherlands

Alcohol and tobacco costs in the Netherlands are low, but eating out is generally expensive.

Restaurant and hotel bills normally include Value Added Tax and a service charge, so tipping is usually unnecessary, though it's common to leave a tip for good service. For waiters and taxi drivers, a tip of around 10 percent of the bill is customary.

Cost of education in the Netherlands

Tuition at local schools is free, but international schools are expensive and can easily cost up to 20,000 EUR per year.

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 March 2018.


One-bedroom apartment in the city centre

1,500 - 2,000 EUR

One-bedroom apartment outside of the city centre

1300 - 1750 EUR

Three-bedroom apartment in the city centre

3,000 - 6,000 EUR 

Three-bedroom apartment outside of the city centre

2,500 - 3,000 EUR


Milk (1 litre)


Loaf of white bread

1.50 EUR

Rice (1kg)


Dozen eggs

2.80 EUR

Chicken breasts (1kg)

8.50 EUR

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

6.50 EUR


Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)

0.20 EUR

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

32 EUR

Electricity, gas and water (monthly for average size home)

180 EUR

Eating out

Three-course meal at mid-range restaurant

35 EUR

Big Mac meal




Bottle of beer


Coca-cola (500ml)

2.40 EUR


Taxi rate (per km)

2.18 EUR

City centre train fare



1.56 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 have a daughter called Funky Monkey for blogging and online purposes. Oh and also a husband named Dutchie, who is Dutch and who I met in France on the Arc de Triomphe. I am currently expecting a little girl in November. We are raising my daughter to be trilingual (English, Spanish and Dutch.)

I write a blog focusing on living in the Netherlands and bringing up a multicultural family in an expat country. I am a part-time lecturer in English and Spanish at a University in Breda and quite often drive myself mad with planning, marking and students in general. I try to encourage active learning and group participation in the classroom, thereby helping students to become productive and successful citizens. I am interested in developing e-learning within teaching. I am currently studying a Masters in Digital Communication in Education.

I am also involved with Breda Expats, where I am the PR and Social Media coordinator and I run the children's activities. Follow my blog, Windmill Fields.

Expat Health Insurance Partners

Aetna Global

Aetna is an award-winning insurance business that provides health benefits to more than 650,000 members worldwide. Their high quality health insurance plans are tailored to meet the individual needs of expats living and working abroad.

Get a quote from Aetna International

Bupa Global

Bupa Global's international private medical insurance offers expats direct access to some of the very best doctors and hospitals in the world. Bupa is chosen by individuals who value expertise, freedom and quality. You can choose to see your preferred doctor close to home or a specialist in another country. Their health insurance plans are designed for day-to-day healthcare needs too.

Get a quote from Bupa Global