Living in the Netherlands: 12+ things you should know

Are you contemplating living in the Netherlands? Read on for lots of local tips on making the move!

The Netherlands is world-famous for Amsterdam and the beauty that the capital has to offer; however, there is so much more to see. When you’re living in the Netherlands, you’ll be able to experience all that the country has to offer both in the countryside and cities! 

The Netherlands is one of the best countries in the world in terms of enjoyment of life, facilities, possibilities, work, care, school, and so on. 

When you move to the Netherlands, you’ll have the great advantage that you are relatively close to everything. The nation is divided into 12 provinces, each with its charm and quirks – but the compactness of the country means that you can visit the coast, explore the woods and fen areas inland or discover the hills and caves in the south, without too much travel time. 

About the author: Cynthia and Alexander travel the world and have visited many countries and cities. Their home country, the Netherlands, always remains the number one place they recommend. Other cities they also recommend living in are Cusco in Peru and Medellin in Colombia. Are you curious about what you can do in these cities? Then open the blog about Cusco here: things to do in Cusco. For Medellin, you can read this article: things to do in Medellin

Transport in the Netherlands

Travelling in the Netherlands is incredibly easy because you can do everything by public transport. A train or bus frequents most towns, villages, and of course cities. 

This link takes you to the national site to request an OV chip card. This

card is used to check-in and out of public transport. You’ll need this OV chip card because you cannot buy a ticket with cash on the spot. However, we think you’ll agree that OV chip cards are a very convenient way to travel! 

You can easily see your balance online, which is very convenient. Also, it is not necessary to reserve a place in advance, you can simply check-in and board without any problems.

Depending on how long you decide to live in the Netherlands, you might want to buy a car and drive around. You can also rent a car, but we do not recommend this because of the high costs. 

However, the most popular way to travel around towns and cities in the Netherlands is, of course, by bike! 

When you arrive at Schiphol (Amsterdam airport), it is best to use the train to reach your destination. A taxi is extremely expensive if you want to travel to the south, for example.

Finding accommodation while living in the Netherlands

There are several options for finding accommodation when moving to the Netherlands. If you want to stay in the Netherlands for a relatively short period, you can find accommodations through Airbnb. If you are now planning to stay in

the Netherlands for months, it is better to use a platform that the locals also use: Funda or Pararius, both sites are in English.

If you know someone locally in the Netherlands, they may be able to help you find suitable accommodation. In practice, we think that it will not make much difference in terms of costs alone.

Communicating in the Netherlands

In the Netherlands, almost everyone can speak English. It is therefore very easy to communicate with the population as a foreigner. However, you have the idea of ​​staying longer in the Netherlands and you want to

find good connections with the local community, it is wise to learn some Dutch.

If you come from outside Europe, you can easily buy a SIM card, and you will have access to 3G, 4G, or 5G. You have a good connection throughout the Netherlands. Brands that we recommend are T-Mobile, Vodafone, and KPN.

WiFi availability

There is WiFi almost everywhere in the Netherlands. If you are somewhere, for example in a cafe or restaurant, you can just ask the staff what the WiFi code is and it will be shared with you without any problems.

The costs of living in the Netherlands

If you come to the Netherlands independently, renting a shared room in a house with other people costs about €300. The cost for food is on average €250. You also spend money on transport and activities, of course.

However, these are so personal that it is difficult to estimate them. If you need a rough estimate, many people spend around €300. In total you can expect to spend a minimum of €850 per month to live in the Netherlands. In order not to surprise yourself, it is best to start with €1000 per month.

How to make friends when you live in the Netherlands

Because almost everyone in the Netherlands can speak English, you can easily connect with the local population. If you enjoy a hobby, try to find a local group or community – this is a great way to make friends! 

For example, if you come from Spain, there are often cafes in the larger cities that organise language exchange evenings – you can learn Dutch, and you can help locals learn Spanish! 

The Netherlands is safe to travel and live

Living in the Netherlands is very safe. You can walk on the street without any problems and it is very rare to feel in danger. If something happens and you want to call the emergency number in the Netherlands, you can do this via 112.

Healthcare in the Netherlands

Healthcare in the Netherlands is excellent. If something should happen, you can go to the GP or the hospital. Before you come to the Netherlands, make sure you check your insurance to see if they reimburse healthcare costs in the Netherlands. If this is not the case, it is best to take out additional insurance. Do not go to the Netherlands uninsured, as healthcare costs are high.

Tap water is safe

Tap water in the Netherlands is safe to drink. Every tap in the Netherlands is safe; even the public old bowls on markets that pump water. 

In recent years, the Netherlands has invested a lot in making more fresh water available, so you often see pumps of Brabant water where you can fill your water bottle.

The climate of the Netherlands

The Netherlands has a moderate maritime climate. This means that the Netherlands has relatively mild winters and summers – although, of course, the summers are warmer! 

Because the Netherlands is located on the North Sea, you’ve got a chance of precipitation all year round. We love the Netherlands’ climate because it is never really too hot or too cold.

Culture in the Netherlands

The culture in the Netherlands is excellent! Here are some things to remember. 

  • The Dutch are known for their opinion about everything. It does not matter whether this is solicited or unsolicited! 
  • The Netherlands is very positive.
  • We have a very multicultural and open society. It’s easy to move to the Netherlands as a foreigner!
  • The bicycle is, of course, a typically Dutch thing – you’ll see them everywhere! 
  • Other Dutch things that you’ll see everywhere are tulips and windmills!
  • The Dutch are also known for being direct and clear in communication. 

Which places you should see in the Netherlands?

There are lots of interesting and exciting cities in the Netherlands. However, we recommend not to live in the most touristy cities – as you might not be able to get to know Dutch culture as well as in other places. Cities such as Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, and Utrecht are fun cities but not great for living in. They’re good for a day trip or mini-break, though!

We recommend staying in Breda, Hertogenbosch, Eindhoven or Tilburg. These are cities in the south of the Netherlands in the province of Noord-Brabant. We live in Noord-Brabant ourselves, and this province is famous because the people here are open and hospitable.

If you are searching for work and are planning to move to the Netherlands for a longer period, it is best to go to Eindhoven. Eindhoven is a big, modern city where there are lots of jobs available. Places to visit in Eindhoven include Strijp S, van Abbemuseum, Phillps museum and more.

Breda is the most beautiful city on our list – the old centre is wonderful. Here you can climb the large church, visit the mast forest or enjoy the Markdal nature reserve. 

Breda is a lovely city to shop and to sit on a terrace – don’t miss the Ginnemarket. You can also sail in the canals – just like you can in Amsterdarm! 

Tilburg is a bustling student city, that doesn’t have much in the way of tourism. This makes it such a nice city to live in if you want to go local. Tilburg is also an ideal city to discover the rest of the Netherlands because it is very centrally located.

Hertogenbosch is a nice city to live in. It has a beautiful city center, and it’s almost like a small version of Amsterdam. 

The large market, nice streets, and beautiful old buildings make it a very popular city among the Dutch. Also, near Hertogenbosch is the national park De Loons en Drunense Duinen; this is one of the most stunning national parks in the Netherlands. Here you will find the largest drifting sand area in Western Europe.

Everything you need to know before moving to the Netherlands

Living in the Netherlands is an amazing experience! It has beautiful nature, friendly people, lots of stunning cities and plenty of culture. We bet that you’ll love your life in the Netherlands!

Cynthia and Alexander started an adventure travel blog: Travel your Memories to inspire others to do the same: travel! They share all their tips in their articles to make it a bit easier for you.