Expats moving to Amsterdam will need to consider its relatively high cost of living on a global scale, as well as compared to other Dutch cities. Although cheaper than cities such as London and Paris, Amsterdam is just as costly as other European capitals like Rome and Vienna. Ranking 64th out of 209 cities in the 2020 Mercer Cost of Living Survey, Amsterdam is undeniably expensive for locals and expats alike.

Cost of accommodation

Accommodation will likely be expats' biggest expense in Amsterdam. That said, where in the city expats choose to live will have a vast impact on costs, as rent in the city centre can be double or triple that of outlying suburbs, and the same applies to buying property. Properties outside of the centre will most likely be more spacious but, while expats may be losing the benefit of size in the centre, they will be close to attractions, and the city centre also exudes much more character and charm.

Utilities are also exorbitant in Amsterdam and are not often included in rent. As electricity in Amsterdam is among the most expensive in the world, expats should expect to pay a large sum towards utilities at the end of each month.

Cost of eating out in Amsterdam

While groceries are rather affordable compared to other expenses in Amsterdam, eating out can be costly. Restaurant prices are similar to those of other major European capitals, but expats will be able to find spots that serve delicious food at a rate that’s more budget friendly.

Cost of transport

The least expensive and often the quickest way to get around the Dutch capital is by bicycle. The city gets plenty of rain throughout the year though, so this may not always be an option. In that case, there are trams, buses, trains and taxis.

While taxis will be the most expensive transport option, rideshare apps such as Uber can be cheaper than traditional metered taxis. Public transport is a lot less costly but is still not cheap. Getting an OV Chipkaart, on which expats can load travel credit, will more than halve the price of a trip and this is therefore highly recommended for anyone living in Amsterdam.

Cost of education and schools

Local public Dutch schools are subsidised by the government and are mostly free, apart from small yearly contributions towards school trips or activities. While most of these schools teach in Dutch, expats may be able to find a government subsidised bilingual school that teaches an international curriculum in Amsterdam.

The fees for private and international schools in Amsterdam can be excessive, and expats wanting to send their children to one of these schools should attempt to negotiate this into their employment contract.

Cost of living in Amsterdam Chart

Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for Amsterdam in May 2021.

Accommodation (monthly)

One-bedroom apartment in the city centre

EUR 1,500 - 1,700

One-bedroom apartment outside the city centre

EUR 1,000 - 1,300

Three-bedroom apartment in the city centre

EUR 2,500 - 3,000 

Three-bedroom apartment outside the city centre

EUR 1,800 - 2,200


Milk (1 litre)

EUR 1.10

Loaf of white bread

EUR 1.80

Rice (1kg)


Dozen eggs

EUR 2.75

Chicken breasts (1kg)


Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)



Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)

EUR 0.15

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

EUR 45

Utilities (monthly for average-sized home)

EUR 170

Eating out

Three-course meal at mid-range restaurant for two

EUR 75

Big Mac Meal



EUR 3.40

Local beer (500ml)


Coca-Cola (330ml)

EUR 2.60


Taxi rate (per km)

EUR 2.35

City-centre public transport fair

EUR 3.20


EUR 1.65

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