Moving to Amsterdam


Expats moving to Amsterdam will find a city rich in history. The capital of the Netherlands is one of the top tourist destinations on the planet, with over 5 million visitors each year. The city is named after the Amstel dam, which can still be found in the city centre. The canals of the old city, which flare out in five concentric rows, have lent the city the name of ‘the Venice of the North’.

The Netherlands has one of the highest population densities in the world, and Amsterdam is one of the densest areas in the country. An expat should be prepared to live in a house or apartment in Amsterdam that may be smaller than they are used to. The architectural character of the city has developed around trying to solve these problems. The canals were originally constructed to serve as water highways, keeping all parts of the inner city accessible. While still used for transport, the canals make for exquisite tours, and memorable walks along the edges.

Amsterdam is part of the Randstad, a conurbation that also includes Utrecht, Rotterdam and The Hague. This urban network holds most of the population of the Netherlands. While the city has a seemingly small population of 780 000, the surrounding area has a large number of middle-sized villages. For many expats moving to Amsterdam, it is these villages rather than the city centre which will serve as their home.
 
The city has something for everyone, whether it is the extensive museums, scenic walks or vibrant nightlife, though the locals are considered by some to be brash and even rude. Tourists in Amsterdam often choose the city for its illicit thrills; prostitution is legal, and the red light district is home to the famous show-windows. In a recent effort to clean up the city’s image, many of these windows have been rented by the government, and used to sell fashion instead. Cannabis coffee houses dot the landscape, and while the drug is still technically illegal, it is tolerated by the authorities.
 
Amsterdam has an extensive transport network consisting of buses, trains and trams. Cycling is also popular in Amsterdam, with dedicated bicycle lanes throughout the city. The Netherlands as a whole is a small country, and the trains extend well into the countryside, meaning that a car is seldom necessary.
 

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