Cost of living in Amsterdam. Expensive or Cheap? (updated 2020)

Living in Amsterdam is a dream for many. For others, they might get the opportunity to work in Amsterdam and would need to relocate. The cost of living in Amsterdam has many factors:

  • How close to the center do you want to live
  • How many bedrooms do you need (alone or with family)
  • If you’re with kids, schooling
  • Do you have a car?
  • Do you want a garden?

These can easily impact the cost of living in Amsterdam. Let’s go over the basic needs 1 by 1 and for different needs and we will see the total amount needed for different types of living situations. The calculation is living comfortably but not luxury. There is no talk about being on a tight budget here. For that, you can share a house/room with a roommate, and it’s something that is not taking into account.

The cost of a furnished rental place

Suburban area of Amsterdam

The following is based on, where you can rent a fully furnished apartment in different sizes. The advantages are, you don’t need to shop for furniture and an internet connection is often already there (double-check this to be sure before renting)

  • A single person for 1 bedroom apartment would be around 1400 euro per month.
  • Couple would cost around 1800 euro per month
  • A family would be 2500 and up

Important things are that the location of these apartments would affect the prices. The further you are from the city center, the cheaper your rent will be. So these estimates above are an average of not too far and not too near, but you would need a bicycle to get around at least.

Health Insurance

Yes, this is compulsory when living and working in the Netherlands. It will cost about 120 euro per month minimum. You cannot live in the Netherlands without this insurance. Expats are not allowed to work without this as well.


How to get around Amsterdam with Tram
Public Transportation Tram of Amsterdam

I am going to dismiss having a car, it is not practical, having a parking space apparently has a waiting list for several years and parking costs are the most expensive.

So it comes down to having a bicycle and public transportation. Even if you don’t plan to take public transportation there will be times you are required or going to depend on it. They connect the whole city and outside. And for rainy days that you don’t want to be soaking wet from the rain you rather take the tram, bus or metro I think. If you rely more on public transport than the bicycle than this is also taken into account:

  • Public transportation daily usage 120 euro per month (subscription)
  • More using the bicycle: 1 time 150 euro spend

For the bicycle, you would need a lock often more expensive than the bike. Bike theft is very common in Amsterdam.

Grocery cost per month in Amsterdam

Grocery shopping cost living in Amsterdam

Depending on lifestyle this starts at easily 10 euro per adult per day. This would give you 300 euro per month budget on groceries. It can easily be more and also less. You like to have a wine/beer per day, you would need to add more. If you want to be more conscious about products and switch to more sustainable products, you would need to add more. Do you want to save as much as possible on groceries, then find the promos. You would need to visit multiple supermarkets to complete your groceries. Lidl is a cheap supermarket compared to the rest, you can also do as much as possible here. With going as cheap as possible choices, you can easily live off a grocery budget with 8 euro per day (240 per month).

TIP: Get the Albert Heijn bonus card, for discounts at that supermarket.

Leisure and eating out

Eating out in Amsterdam having Steak Dinner Cannibale Royale.
Having Steak dinner at Cannibale Royale Amsterdam

Let’s think about fun. I mean living in Amsterdam is a chance of a lifetime. So let’s have fun from time to time. Visit the cinema, have a drink outside on a nice day, or have a gastronomic adventure at a restaurant. Let’s say for leisure and eating out including drinks would require 150 euro per month for doing it 3-4x per month.

Also read: What to do in Amsterdam

Unforeseen Expenses

Ok let’s admit it, we all have unforeseen expenses. Living in Amsterdam cannot have the cost pre-defined on paper. Your bike can be stolen, you’re asked to chip in for a gift or buy a gift. Something needs fixing or you need to take public transportation for a change. You see that thing you always wanted to buy and it’s so much cheaper than normal. There are plenty reasons to spend more money than initially planned. Always expect that you will have unforeseen costs, and if you don’t have it one month you might have it the next one.

Cost of living in Amsterdam per month

Cost living Amsterdam
  • Housing: 1400
  • Insurance: 120
  • Transportation: 120 if relied on public transportation
  • Groceries: 300
  • Leisure and eating out: 150
  • Unforeseen Expenses: 100

Totalling: 2190 euro per month for a modest lifestyle not too far from the city center. You will still eat 3-4x outside

Can the cost of living in Amsterdam be less? Yes, you shave off Eating out and having fun. But that sounds pretty boring then. You can shave off 300 euros per month from the list easily if your plan is to save as much as possible.

Living as a family cost in Amsterdam

Remember the housing is an estimation, can be different depending on location and size. I am not adding school for the adult/baby but this also will be compulsory. Depending you take public/private and the location of the school it will be different. The prices are in euro.

Living Cost in Amsterdam 1 Adult2 Adult2 Adult + Child/Baby
House (furnished and all)140018002000
Leisure and eating out150300400
Unforeseen expenses100200250
Total per month219032803880

Do you need to save more money but want to live near Amsterdam? Housing is the biggest expense, and you can save hundreds of euros per month by renting outside of Amsterdam. The Train infrastructure makes it ok and you can reach Amsterdam fast from outside. Cities to look at to live nearby: Almere, Haarlem, Utrecht.

How to save money on living expenses in Amsterdam

Use the bicycle as a way of transportation when you can. For your phone use a sim-only subscription as this would give you cheap options for having data and calling.

Groceries only at Lidl and promos from other supermarkets. Avoid having dinners outside as it will add to expenses. Instead, cook dinners and save the leftovers.

Limit buying beers and wines and keep it for more special occasions to reward yourself.

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