Are you moving to the Netherlands anytime soon? Or do already reside here and curious about where is the best place to move to? What is your personal preference and criteria checklist? Are you looking for a city that is family-friendly, has a rich food scene, recreational activities, buzzing nightlife, or a strong expat community? Whatever it may be check out this list of the top places to live in the Netherlands.
Looking for that big city feel? Rotterdam is a multicultural hub with cool architecture and a hip, laid-back vibe. The surrounding port is the biggest in Europe as well as being the beating heart of this city. Rotterdam is also a creative haven for all types and musicians and artists who are known to reside here. It holds ecological green spaces, museums and prominent galleries. The night light is so vibrant with many clubs and bars, there is never a shortage of things to do.
You may notice multiple high rises and modern buildings sprinkled throughout the city. After the events of WWII, Rotterdam had no choice but to rebuild and improve its infrastructure.
Whether you’re a family of four, a young couple, or single, finding reasonable housing is possible. Of course, the price for renting an apartment in Rotterdam varies depending on what neighborhood you are searching for. Generally, prices can start from 800-1700 euros.
Wondering about travel transportation and commuting? Train prices are expensive in the Netherlands but your employer will most likely take care of these costs. Rotterdam is centrally located to other cities, and the Randstad area (Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Utrecht and The Hague) so if you need to commute, it will be pretty smooth. Getting around the city itself is easy to navigate. There are trams, trains, and an efficient metro station, and Rotterdam is also very bike-friendly.
This lively university town is a great pick for students, or those seeking a historic backdrop with a rich tradition and cultural significance. Leiden houses the oldest university in all of the Netherlands dating back to 1575. You’ll come across internationals from all over the world that travel to study here. If an international atmosphere is important to you then you should consider Leiden.
Leiden is located within a convenient driving and train distance from major Dutch cities. The train commute to Amsterdam is only 30 minutes, and the driving distance is just under 40 minutes. It’s also easily accessible to cycle around as well as on foot. Housing is fairly affordable compared to cities like Amsterdam and the Hague. Prices can range anywhere from €500 – 1600 euros.
However, with the rate of students arriving each year, housing is quite competitive. Since Leiden is a student city going out for a meal and drink can be cheap and not so hard on your wallet. Being by the water there are so many activities to do like participating in the boating culture, heading to the surrounding lakes, and strolling by the canal.
I may be biased but there’s a reason I’ve made this gorgeous city my home. Utrecht is known as a medieval city full of good universities and a historical city center. It checks everything off the list – employment opportunities, food scene, nightlife, and historic monuments. In my opinion, I think Utrecht is one of the top places to live in the Netherlands. It’s impossible to get bored here because there is so much to do.
It’s also very family-friendly, especially for expat families. Leidsche Rijn is a popular neighborhood choice for families. Many people choose it because it’s away from the city and has more space and is much more affordable. You can have a garden and room for the kids to play outside. Utrecht Zuid (South) has a great mix of families, expats, and students. The neighborhoods here are up and coming with modern builds and infrastructure.
I love Utrecht Zuid because there is so much variety to find in one day such as: heading to a juice bar, morning yoga, shopping in the city center, rock climbing, kayaking, or visiting one of the many beer cafes.
The neighborhoods of Wittevrouwen and Oudwijk have large townhouses that are more on the expensive side of the scale. However, the area is nice and you have access to the beautiful Wilhelmenia Park. Lastly, some residents say to stay away from the neighborhood called Kanaleneiland. It used to be pretty rough back in the day but now they’re building new housing.
Truthfully, Utrecht is slowly morphing into its own Amsterdam- in terms of housing and cost of living. It has become really popular in the last decade. Teleport rates Utrecht as the second most expensive city in the Netherlands. However, if you are efficient with your money you can live comfortably here. Also,
If you seek to avoid bigger cities then Haarlem may be the choice for you. It’s a cute and quiet town nestled close to the ocean. You’re only a short biking distance to the beach, sand dunes, and cute seaside resorts. There is a historic city center and many shops, charming cafes, museums, canals and, restaurants. Some call it the smaller version of Amsterdam but less expensive.
Many of the foreigners who relocate here prefer Haarlem as a better alternative to Amsterdam. It’s quieter, less crowded, and not as costly. Rent for a one-bedroom apartment can cost you anywhere from €1,200-1600 euros. This depends if you want to live inside or outside the city center. In terms of transportation, it’s centrally located to the Randstad area. From Haarlem Central Station you can be in Amsterdam in 20 minutes which is not bad at all.
Located in the province of Limburg, Maastricht is a beautiful historical city that has a distinct vibe, from the rest of the Netherlands. Some say that it resembles or feels a bit like France with its charming streets and buildings. Geographically, this makes sense being so close to Belgium (and Germany). And being so far South is what I think makes Massricht one of the underrated cities to live in from the other candidates on this list.
Sharing a house in Maastricht is significantly lower than in other Dutch cities. And this may be in part to the university and 10% of the population being students. Living in a shared house can cost somewhere around €300-600 euros depending on the neighborhood.
If you want a house with a garden then you should consider housing outside the city center. The Southside of Maastricht in St. Pietersberg is lovely but also quite expensive and ‘posh’.
I hope you were able to get better insight and information on some of the top places to live in the Netherlands. If you’re interested in another destination check out the best destinations to live in Europe.