Expats moving to Amsterdam often have various questions about their new home. New arrivals to the city are sometimes caught off guard by the liberal atmosphere, and learning the language can also be a concern. Read on for answers to the most frequently asked questions about living in Amsterdam. 

Is a car necessary in Amsterdam?

There is a plethora of public transport options in Amsterdam, including buses, trams and a metro system, so expats won't need a car. It's a cyclist-friendly city with numerous dedicated bicycle paths, and cycling is often the easiest and cheapest way to get around in Amsterdam.

Do expats need to speak Dutch in Amsterdam?

For expats staying for the long term who want to become friends with locals, learning the language is important. While most of the Dutch are able to speak English, speaking to them in their home language will go a long way to earning their respect. It's also important for people doing business to speak the local language, unless they're based in an English-speaking office.

Is Amsterdam safe?

Amsterdam is generally safe but expats should beware of people who brush against others in crowds – it’s possible that they're pickpockets searching for valuables. Bicycle theft is also a big issue and cyclists should make sure their bikes are securely locked when they park them. It's best to be sensible and take the same safety precautions as in any other large city.

What are Amsterdam's best neighbourhoods to stay in?

Most expats agree that most areas and suburbs of the city have something unique and special to offer. However, an expat's choice of accommodation may depend on budget, lifestyle and whether they moved as a family or on their own. Those who are keen for the hustle and bustle – and can afford it – may find an apartment in Amsterdam Centrum, while Indische Buurt presents more affordable options. Oud-West and Amsterdam-Zuid are popular among expat families.

Expat Health Insurance

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If you’re thinking about taking out private health insurance, our trusted partner Cigna Global is very aware of all the difficulties that expats can face when it comes to healthcare in a new location, so they have created a range of international health insurance plans specifically designed for expats, which you can tailor exactly to the needs and ensure access to quality care for you and your family.

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