Cost of Living in the Netherlands

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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. In 2015 the minimum monthly wage in the Netherlands was 1,501 EUR gross, of which 36.5 percent goes to taxes and national insurance. 
Salaries are usually paid monthly between the 25th and fifth of the following month. Workers are entitled to extra payments twice a year – once at Christmas and a summer holiday bonus usually in May.

Health and liability insurance

Expats living in the Netherlands must purchase health insurance from a Dutch provider. Costs vary depending on the package chosen but can range from around 100 to 350 EUR and up.

Liability insurance, which is usually included in household insurance, is also a must. If a person, their child or their dog damages anybody else’s property they will be held responsible and will be expected to have this. 

Taxes, benefits and money in the Netherlands

The 30 Percent Ruling

The Netherlands is notorious for having high taxes. Fortunately, some expats are entitled to a tax reduction called the 30 Percent Ruling, which allows skilled foreigners to receive 30 percent of their wages tax-free. The idea is that expats are likely to have expenses that loclas don’t, like managing overseas property and long distance calls. However, certain rules apply and not everyone qualifies.

Tax rebates

In the Netherlands certain people qualify for help with bills like mortgage (if owning a house), childcare, health insurance and rental costs. The Belastingdienst (tax office) issues a monthly payment based on monthly income and costs.

Yearly tax return

At the end of the financial year in April everybody living in the Netherlands has to declare their income and expenses from the previous financial year. Expats should get a tax professional to assist them as it can be a complicated process in the Netherlands.

Cost of accommodation in the Netherlands

Finding a 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 best done 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 of around 300 EUR  (depending on the size and location of the house). 
Renting a house exempts tenants from these costs as these will be the responsibility of the owner; however, they may be an addition in the rent.

Transport costs in the Netherlands

Public transport in the Netherlands is relatively cheap by European standards. Most of the country works with a chip card which can be used on trains, trams, metros and buses.
A train ticket from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam Central Station costs around 4 EUR. A one-way ticket from Amsterdam to Utrecht costs about 7.50 EUR.
On the other hand, taxis are expensive. Most have a starting cost of 7.50 EUR and charge up to 2.20 EUR per kilometre. However, there is a service called the “Deeltaxi” sharing taxi which is priced according to zones and where passengers share costs. That said, they usually make several stops along the journey.

Eating and drinking in the Netherlands

Alcohol and tobacco costs 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, but it's common to leave one for good service. For waiters and taxi drivers, a tip of around 10 percent of the bill is customary.

The cost of education in the Netherlands

Tuition at local schools is free, but international schools are expensive, and can easily cost 15,000 EUR per year.

Cost of living in the Netherlands chart 

Prices may vary depending on product and service provider and the list below shows average prices for Amsterdam in June 2015.

One-bedroomed apartment in central Amsterdam 1,100 EUR 
One-bedroomed apartment outside central Amsterdam 1,000 EUR
Three-bedroomed apartment in central Amsterdam 2,240 EUR 
Three-bedroomed apartment outside central Amsterdam 1,450 EUR
1 litre milk
1.00 EUR
Loaf of white bread
1.35 EUR
Rice (1kg)
1.30 EUR
Dozen eggs
2.00 EUR
Chicken breasts (1kg)
7.50 EUR
Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro) 6.10 EUR
Mobile call rate (per minute - mobile to mobile)
0.20 EUR
Internet 1.5Mb/s (monthly) 25 EUR
Electricity, gas and water 175 EUR
Eating out
Three-course meal at mid-range restaurant
60 EUR
Big Mac meal
Coffee in café
2.70 EUR
Beer in bar
Coca-cola (500ml) 2.30 EUR
Taxi rate (per km)
2.10 EUR
City centre train fare
2.80 EUR
Petrol 1.75 EUR

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