The cost of living in Utrecht is similar to other major Dutch cities such as Eindhoven and Rotterdam. As is often the case in a major city, expats will find that accommodation is their most considerable expense. As some types of housing are in short supply, landlords can charge more rent. Another similarity to other big cities is that living further away from the city centre of Utrecht will save expats quite a bit on rental costs.

Cost of accommodation in Utrecht

Accommodation will likely take up a substantial amount of an expat’s budget. Utrecht is a rapidly expanding city, and the housing supply has not kept up with demand. As a result, competition for certain types of housing, especially in sought-after city locations, is notoriously high. Therefore, rental costs can be pretty steep.

Cost of transport in Utrecht

True to Dutch culture, cycling is probably the most popular mode of transport among locals in Utrecht. Expats who follow this lead and invest in a bike will significantly reduce their transport costs.

If cycling isn’t a viable option, then Utrecht’s public transport network (buses and trams) connects commuters to most parts of the city at reasonable prices. Single tickets can be expensive, but paying for longer-term options will save expats money.

As in much of the Netherlands, owning a car in Utrecht is expensive. Local authorities have taken steps to discourage people from driving into the city centre and, as such, parking costs a pretty penny. Taxi fares in the city are also quite hefty.

Cost of groceries in Utrecht

As for groceries, the cost in Utrecht is moderate when compared with the rest of Europe. Local supermarkets provide a wide variety of fresh produce, dairy, meat and household items at affordable prices. Speciality items or imported goods, however, might be pricier.

Many locals and expats enjoy the weekly markets scattered throughout the city. Here, one can find fresh fruit, vegetables, cheese and fish at competitive prices. These markets are not only a great way to save on groceries but also offer an authentic Dutch shopping experience.

Cost of entertainment and eating out in Utrecht

Utrecht offers a vibrant cultural scene and a range of entertainment options, but costs can add up. From museum visits and theatre performances to cinema tickets, these cultural experiences come with a price tag that's comparable to other Dutch cities. That said, there are often discounts available for students, seniors, and children.

Eating out in Utrecht can also be fairly costly, especially in tourist areas and the city centre. But if one knows where to look, it's possible to find more reasonably priced restaurants and cafés. The cost of a meal can vary greatly, but on average, a meal at a mid-range restaurant might be costlier than in other European cities. Drinking out can also be pricey, with craft beers and cocktails being particularly expensive.

Cost of education in Utrecht

The cost of education in Utrecht is reasonably affordable, especially if expats choose to send their children to a local school. Public education in the Netherlands is available at little or no cost. Some public schools even offer bilingual classes to accommodate expat students.

However, many expats still prefer to send their children to international schools. Fees at these schools are high and additional expenses such as uniforms, books and excursions can quickly mount. Expats working in Utrecht who intend to send their children to an international school should try to negotiate an allowance into their relocation package.

Cost of healthcare in Utrecht

Expats moving to Utrecht can rest assured they’ll have access to good healthcare. However, healthcare costs in the Netherlands are much higher than in other European countries. Once an expat starts working in the Netherlands and registers at their local municipality, they are legally obligated to take out a Dutch health insurance policy. The cost of medical insurance varies according to how comprehensive the policy is.

The mandatory basic policy covers standard medical treatments including visits to the doctor, hospital stays and certain medications. Additional coverage, such as dental or physiotherapy, can be added but will increase the monthly premium. Out-of-pocket expenses like co-pays can also add up. The cost of private health insurance varies based on factors such as age, health, and coverage level. Expats should budget accordingly to ensure they are adequately covered.

Cost of living chart for Utrecht

Prices may vary depending on the product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for Utrecht in July 2023.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

Three-bedroom apartment in the city centre

EUR 1,830

Three-bedroom apartment outside the city centre

EUR 1,510

One-bedroom apartment in the city centre

EUR 1,220

One-bedroom apartment outside the city centre

EUR 990

Food and drink

Dozen eggs

EUR 4.25

Milk (1 litre)

EUR 1.26

Rice (1kg)

EUR 1.70

Loaf of white bread

EUR 1.53

Chicken breasts (1kg)

EUR 4.56

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)


Eating out

Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant

EUR 62

Big Mac meal


Coca-Cola (330ml)

EUR 2.41


EUR 3.21

Bottle of beer (local)

EUR 1.18


Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)

EUR 0.16

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

EUR 33

Basic utilities (average per month for a standard household)

EUR 164


Taxi rate/km

EUR 2.40

City-centre public transport fare

EUR 2.80

Gasoline (per litre)

EUR 1.90

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