Updated: Dec 17, 2022
"Ah, You, my beautiful Amsterdam", the charming city of the canals, tulips, cheese and bikes. I visited this city for the first time 13 years ago and, if someone had told me that a few years later I would be living here, I would've told him crazy!
I fell so much and so quickly in love with this city, I wanted to move here, I needed it, I had the feeling that this was the right place for me immediately, and I was right! I'm discovering my "new-self" and to be honest, I like this new person everyday more!
Truth be told, I had never imagined that I would be living in Amsterdam. I had always envisioned myself living in a bigger European city, such as London, Barcelona or Roma. But life brought me here, and I’m so glad it did.
Living in Amsterdam has been one of the best and most enriching experiences of my life. I’ve truly been enjoying my time and life here since the first moment– the city is amazing and The Netherlands has just so much to offer.
But I'm not going to lie to you guys saying that everything has magically always been easy and sweet, I had my many bitter bites too moving and living in Amsterdam, and I'm still having some.
" Tip : this is a country with no that many rules but you must follow those few, it'll make things a lot easier, especially at the beginning! "
Here a few tips that will make your new Dutch adventure a lot easier!
1- If you’re considering moving to Amsterdam, then there are some things you should know! If you’re an EU national, it will be very easy for you to move here. You can come whenever you want, and make sure that you’re bringing:
A valid passport
Your birth certificate and the translation to English or Dutch. The translation needs to be done by a certified translator and authenticate
2- The Dutch weather is another of those things you can't control at all! In one day it can drastically change many times which is why I always recommend to all the people moving to Amsterdam to get a rain set (boots, jacket and pants) asap , especially if biking. Basically once you're living in the Netherlands you'll have the feeling to be constantly on the move due to the "luggage" that you constantely have to carry with you.
If you notice , everybody has a backpack or a big bag in Amsterdam!
3- After finding an apartment, there are 3 things that you NEED to have to really start your life in Amsterdam :
BSN : a BSN is required for a variety of administrative procedures in the Netherlands. You’ll need one in order to work, open a bank account, arrange health insurance, visit a doctor or hospital, or apply for benefits. If you leave the Netherlands and later return, you’ll keep the same citizen service number when you re-register with the municipality.
DUTCH BANK ACCOUNT : you can go in one of the many Dutch Banks and open an account, you'll need just your valid passport to do that. Also, not everywhere Visa and MasterCard are accepted , in some places, especially out of the center.
Here below 3 Dutch banks, hope links can help
https://www.ing.nl/particulier/english/index.html ( the one I personally use)
DUTCH PHONE NUMBER ; if you are looking for a job in Amsterdam, and generally in the Netherlands, you'll need to get a Dutch phone number just to be considered in any application... almost!
You can buy an anonymous Sim card from Lebara or Lyca Mobile for 10euro or chose a company to make a contract with and enjoy the perks as well.
4-The best way to move around in Amsterdam is definitely cycling. Cheap and fast the bike will give you the unique Amsterdam experience . There are many companies in the city center where you can rent one, t wil be very easy to find them or, if you are planning a few months stay or even moving here, I raccomand you to check https://swapfiets.nl/ (parking and public transports are very expensive)OVchip Card to save some money if u don't wanna use a bike (https://www.ov-chipkaart.nl/home.htm#/ ).
5- The biggest struggle for a new expat moving in Amsterdam is without any doubt the HOUSING SITUATION!
Amsterdam isn't the easiest place where to find an accomodation! Prices are very high and sometimes not even worth it the place that you're paying for : old houses in old buildings, mais, incredible staircases. But if you're lucky enough to find your own place without bumping into a scam (yes, Amsterdam is full of "smart" people that take advantage of a person's desperation that needs a roof asap), living in this beautiful city could be the best thing that ever happened to you!
Websites can help you find an Apartment in Amsterdam :
6- MEDICAL INSURANCE
Health insurance in the Netherlands works a bit differently than some other places in Europe. You are required to have insurance. No, it’s not free. That said, it’s regulated by the government. You’ll typically pay 100 euros per month per person for “basic health insurance” without a discount (maybe 90 euros with a discount).
There are private insurance carriers and you can choose between Dutch insurance carriers before you make a decision. I’ve had a very Dutch carrier where all the correspondence was in Dutch and a more expat friendly one.
I’d recommend a health insurance carrier that gives you documents in English if your Dutch isn’t great as contracts aren’t fun to read when you’re dealing with a serious injury. (Zilveren Kruis is an expat health insurance favorite for this reason). Your deductible for the year is typically around 350.
Typically, you need to go to your general practitioner each time (even if you want to go to a specialist) and it’s very important to find your GP as soon as possible. Not all GPs are accepting new patients and some are a bit less used to having foreigners as patients.
Dental insurance is not typical as most people pay out of pocket when needed, but if you’re prone to dental issues, it’s worth having the insurance (which is 5-10 euros per month extra).
Hospitals by default are low-cost (besides your deductible) if you’re admitted for an emergency, but the follow-up visit at that specific hospital may not be covered depending on your insurance. (You can pay extra for all hospitals to be included on your plan.)
7- Even if most of Dutch people speak English, if you wanna really blend with the Dutch society you'll need to learn their language.
It's a big challenge I know, Dutch language is one of the most complicated to learn, especially for who like me, comes from a Latin language. Starting with the basics can help a lot thot, try to speak few words at the supermarket or at the bar, dedicate some time, like an hour per day, to listen something in Dutch, it can be the news or a documentary, also there is this amazing app that I've been using a lot lately https://www.duolingo.com/ , easy to use and really helpful if you wanna learn another language, at least the basics.
It's a beautiful place yo live and if you're thinking to move but you're not sure yet, maybe something scares you or maybe something isn't clear, please don't hesitate to reach out and ask anything you want, I'll give you the best advice or at least I'll share what did work for me in order to settle down as an expat in Amsterdam. You got my contacts so don't be shy! :)
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