Moving away from your country of birth can be quite daunting. However, in Amsterdam, no expat is alone. There’s a reason that there are more than 38,000 expats in this city: Amsterdam has made it onto the list of top cities for quality of life.
Where to live in Amsterdam
Many factors will affect your residential decisions. These include employment, studying, children, schools, shopping, and the neighbourhood itself. The following steps may lead you to your home in Amsterdam:
- Familiarise yourself with the districts and neighbourhoods of Amsterdam.
- Become a proud owner of a bicycle, so that you can get around Amsterdam like almost everyone else does. A bicycle will provide you with more residential options.
- Consider the proximity of different neighbourhoods to your place of employment or study.
- Study the cost of housing, and the conditions of homes in various neighbourhoods. Compare this to what you are looking for, and what you can afford.
According to Dutch Review, some popular Amsterdam neighbourhoods for expats include Buitenveldert and Amstelveen, in the South, and the man-made islands of the IJ River in the North. Expatica recommends the Old-South for International schools. The Old-West offers reasonably priced housing, resulting in a high percentage of expats in the district.
Finding employment as an expat in Amsterdam
The many online Job Boards for employment in Amsterdam include non-Dutch speaking boards. There are also recruiting agencies and employment services to help you with your job search and with unemployment benefits.
- Job boards: https://www.togetherabroad.nl/jobs-in-amsterdam.html, https://www.iamsterdam.com/en/work/jobsearch, https://www.iamexpat.nl/career/jobs-netherlands/amsterdam
- Recruiting agencies: https://www.adecco.nl/, https://www.kellyservices.nl/, https://undutchables.nl/
- Employment services: https://www.uwv.nl/particulieren/
- Employment for students: https://www.studentflex.nl/en/
How to get around Amsterdam
Amsterdam has a well-deserved reputation for an excellent public transportation system. All bases are covered! And on top of that, it is very easy to find the information you need:
- The OV-chipkaart is used on buses, trams, and the metro.
- GVB – Door-to-door is the organization behind public transportation in Holland.
- The 9292 app for planning your trip, is ready for you to download.
- A list of train stations indicate where to find your station. Amsterdam Centraal is also a hub for connecting to trams, buses, the metro, and canal ferries.
- The metro will take you further afield.
- Rent or purchase a bicycle from one of the many bike rental proprietors in Amsterdam.
- Use bike rentals and the canal ferries to tour beautiful Amsterdam!
Shopping for food in Amsterdam
Until you wean yourself from your favourite foods of home, or in case you never do, you’ll find what you need at a number of stores, including Kelly’s. You’ll find Carnation milk and Cadbury’s chocolates from Great Britain, Marshmallow Fluff and French’s mustard, from the US, Balti curry sauce from India, and salsa from Mexico.
If you don’t crave food from home, the supermarkets will provide you with your groceries. Be aware that not all international credit cards are accepted. Save your bags because they are not handed out for free. The basics are readily available, but don’t wait till the last minute of the day to purchase bread.
Shopping for furniture as an Expat
View this list of furniture to find shops with new furniture for your new home, or furniture rental options for temporary dwellings. Furniture for rent lets you find beds to sleep on and tables with chairs to eat on, until you move to your permanent residence.
Choosing your medical insurer
Hopefully, the main medical issue you will ever need to think about is health insurance. Everyone needs it. The good news is that you can obtain free quotes. The good/bad news, is that there are a lot of offerings, so it will be difficult to decide which insurance is good for you. You will need to consider your age, marital status, and children. Expatfinder is one option for providing enough information to allow you to comparison shop.
Although many people speak English, this may not be your mother tongue, and it is important for everyone to learn to speak Dutch:
- Pick up nuances of speech and behavior.
- Ask for and understand directions.
- Get help easily, whether purchasing furniture, or understanding instructions for looking after a child with ‘flu’.
- Open up many more possibilities for gainful employment, and qualify for more positions.
There are endless possibilities for learning Dutch. The many courses offer diverse learning styles. Various class sizes are available, including one-on-one training. Depending on your status in the Netherlands, you may qualify for a free course.
By the way: If you want to explore Amsterdam, here might be some fantastic and fun deals for you.
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