Pinay Mom's Blogs
Motherhood between windmills and tulips

The Dutch wallet: is it expensive to live here? 

A lot of factors come into play when people decide to move to a new country. Things like career opportunities, lifestyle preferences, education and healthcare may come into play to name a few, but the cost of living plays a pivotal role in determining whether you can afford to move abroad or not. When it comes to the Netherlands, it’s not cheap to live here. But it’s not that expensive either.  This blog will provide you with some ideas on what to expect  from accommodation and transportation to groceries and leisure time. So where shall we start?

Housing Costs

Housing expenses typically constitute a significant portion of your budget. Here in the Netherlands, rental prices vary depending on the city and region that you live in. The most expensive cities to live in are Amsterdam, Utrecht, and The Hague, while smaller towns and rural areas offer more affordable options. On average, a one-bedroom apartment in a city center can cost between €900 and €1,500 per month, while on the outskirts, prices may range from €650 to €900. Utilities such as water, electricity, heating, and internet usually cost around €150 to €200 per month, but that obviously varies.


Although the most popular mode of transport here is cycling, the Netherlands boasts a great public transportation system, making it easy to get around without owning a car (but a bicycle is still a must!). Major cities especially in the randstad (Utrecht, Amsterdam, The Hague and Rotterdam) have extensive networks of buses, trams, and trains. Should you need to use the public transport monthly, expect to spend around €50 to €100 a month, depending on your distances traveled. And if you prefer cycling, you can get a bike worth €100 to €500. Many cities prioritize bicycle infrastructure, making it a very sustainable and cost-effective mode of transportation.  

Food and Groceries

Groceries are relatively affordable especially if you cook at home. On average, you can expect to spend around €200 to €300 per month on groceries. Supermarkets like Albert Heijn, Jumbo, and Lidl offer a wide range of affordable options and they are pretty much everywhere! If you like to eat out, let's say in a restaurant, then it can be pricier with a mid-range three-course meal for two people costing around €50 to €80. However, there are also budget-friendly options like street food stalls and takeaway shops, especially in areas where students reside.   

The healthcare system in the Netherlands is renowned for its quality and accessibility.
Thus, it’s mandatory to have health care insurance. You’re required to have a basic health insurance which costs approximately €100 to €150 per month, depending on the coverage. Additional healthcare costs, such as deductibles and copayments, vary based on individual circumstances.

Leisure and Entertainment
The Netherlands offers a vibrant cultural scene with various recreational activities not just for the old, but also for the young. Or I should say… definitely for the young. Visiting museums, attending concerts, and exploring the country's picturesque landscapes are all part of the Dutch experience. Museum entry fees can range from €10 to €20, but if you have a museum card, now that’s a whole different story! Why? Because you can get unlimited free entry to hundreds of museums in the country and a lot of them are family oriented, and kid-friendly. Alternatively, there are a lot of parks and outdoor spaces that offer free admission and recreation for you and your family

Moving to the Netherlands presents an opportunity to immerse yourself in a rich and diverse culture.  While the cost of living varies across different cities and regions, it is generally considered moderate to live here compared to neighbouring countries like Germany and Belgium. With careful budgeting and an understanding of the expenses involved, you can comfortably settle into Dutch life. 

En je bent van harte welkom! (And you are very much welcomed!)