Prospective expats will have to consider the relatively high cost of living in the Netherlands, particularly in the capital. In the 2022 Mercer Cost of Living Survey, Amsterdam was ranked as the world's 25th most expensive city for expats out of the 227 cities surveyed, in the same bracket as Vienna and Oslo. While other major Dutch cities such as Rotterdam and The Hague are by no means cheap, they do have a lower cost of living than Amsterdam.

Cost of accommodation in the Netherlands

Finding the right accommodation is often a difficult process and the Netherlands is no exception. This is especially the case in large cities, which tend to be on the expensive side. It's much cheaper to live in smaller rural towns. If expats do decide on city living but have a limited budget, it's best to search for accommodation in the outlying suburbs rather than city centres.

Buying a house in the Netherlands is complicated and is probably done best with an intermediary who can communicate in the expat's home language as well as Dutch. Once the house is bought, the buyer has to get house insurance and will also be responsible for sewerage, refuse and annual housing taxes. Renting a house exempts tenants from these costs as these will be the responsibility of the owner, but utilities are still often an additional expense on top of rent.

Cost of transport in the Netherlands

Public transport in the Netherlands is relatively cheap by European standards. Most of the country's public transport systems work with a chip card that can be used on trains, trams, metros and buses. While taxis are expensive, there is a service called the deeltaxi – a shared taxi service that's cheaper than a regular taxi, although they usually make several stops along the journey, which can be inconvenient. Several ride-hailing services operate in the Netherlands, which are ordered through user-friendly apps, and are also slightly cheaper than regular taxis.

Cost of education in the Netherlands

Tuition at local schools is free apart from a voluntary contribution. Teaching is usually in Dutch, but there are also a few government-subsidised public schools offering international curricula, with teaching being either bilingual or in English. Some public schools also have the option of a bridging year to allow non-Dutch-speaking children time to pick up the language and adapt before moving into mainstream Dutch schooling.

Private international schools are often the preferred option for families who won't be staying in the Netherlands for the long term, but fees can be high and often don't include extras such as school uniforms, textbooks, bus service and canteen lunches.

Cost of living in the Netherlands chart 

Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for Amsterdam in September 2022.

Accommodation (monthly)

One-bedroom apartment in the city centre

EUR 1,600

One-bedroom apartment outside the city centre

EUR 1,300

Three-bedroom apartment in the city centre

EUR 2,800

Three-bedroom apartment outside the city centre

EUR 2,100


Milk (1 litre)

EUR 1.17

Loaf of white bread

EUR 1.40

Rice (1kg)

EUR 1.90

Dozen eggs


Chicken breasts (1kg)


Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

EUR 8.20


Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)

EUR 0.10

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 80

Big Mac Meal

EUR 10


EUR 3.50

Local beer (500ml)

EUR 5.50

Coca-Cola (330ml)

EUR 2.60


Taxi rate (per km)

EUR 2.45

City-centre public transport (one way)

EUR 3.20


EUR 2.15