The Netherlands, also known as Holland, is renowned for its liberal atmosphere, picturesque landscapes, and well-preserved historical sites. The country offers a high standard of living and numerous opportunities for residents and expatriates alike.
If you’re considering moving to this beautiful nation, you’ll be pleased to know that it offers many incredible places to call home. From big, busy cities to small, quiet areas, the Netherlands has something for every kind of person.
This article will guide you through the top 10 best places to live in The Netherlands, providing valuable insights to help you make an informed decision. You can additionally check out the 10 Best Cities to Live in Spain.
Best Places to Live in The Netherlands
- Amsterdam: Where Tradition Meets Modernity
- The Hague: Best City for Beach Lovers
- Utrecht: A Beautiful Blend of Culture and History
- Rotterdam: A Thriving Hub of Architecture and Design
- Eindhoven: The Technological Heart of The Netherlands
- Haarlem: A Smaller, Charming Alternative to Amsterdam (Best City for Families)
- Groningen: A Lively University City
- Tilburg: Best City for Groups
- Leiden: A city with a lot of history and culture
- Maastricht: A Pretty Jewel in the South
1. Amsterdam: Where Tradition Meets Modernity
Amsterdam, the capital of The Netherlands, is a city that effortlessly blends tradition and modernity. Amsterdam is one of the best places to live in Europe, and it is also home to people from more than 180 different countries.
Amsterdam is unique because of its beautiful canals, historic buildings, and lively culture.
In Amsterdam, there are many things to do. You’re close to beautiful parks, coffee shops, cafés, world-famous museums, and a legendary nightlife scene, so you’ll never be bored. You can explore the charming Jordaan neighborhood, visit world-class sites like the Van Gogh Museum, and take a bike ride along the canals.
There are many cultural festivals throughout the year, ensuring lots of fun. It’s a trendy place to live, so the accommodation cost is the highest in the Netherlands.
- Large expat community
- Lots of International job opportunities
- Lots of entertainment
- High cost of living
- High cost of accommodation
2. The Hague: Best City for Beach Lovers
The Hague is the seat of the Dutch government and home to numerous international organizations; The Hague holds great importance on the global stage. This city offers a unique blend of history, culture, and cosmopolitan living.
It’s also the right combination of city and nature, with a well-established forest in the middle. The Hague is also known for its diverse expat community, making it an ideal place for those seeking an international experience. You can explore the iconic Binnenhof, visit world-class museums like the Mauritshuis, and enjoy the beautiful beaches along the North Sea coast.
- Close to the beach
- International community
- Current housing shortage
- High accommodation cost
3. Utrecht: A Beautiful Blend of Culture and History
Utrecht is a city in the middle of the Netherlands with a rich history and a lively cultural scene. Its stunning medieval architecture, such as the iconic Dom Tower, attracts visitors worldwide. Utrecht also boasts a vibrant music and arts scene, with numerous festivals and events annually.
Enjoy a walk along one of Utrecht’s beautiful canals, explore one of its charming neighborhoods, or eat at one of its wonderful cafes or restaurants.
- Vibrant culture
- Fewer tourists
- Scarce housing
4. Rotterdam: A Thriving Hub of Architecture and Design
Rotterdam, the second-largest city in The Netherlands, is a dynamic and cosmopolitan metropolis. The cityscape is characterized by futuristic architecture, such as the iconic Erasmus Bridge and the impressive Markthal. Rotterdam is a haven for design enthusiasts, with numerous art galleries and museums showcasing innovative contemporary art and design.
The city’s multicultural atmosphere, bustling markets, and lively nightlife make it a vibrant and exciting place to call home. It’s hard to find a place to live in the city center, where there aren’t many choices and rent is high, but there are more places to live in and around Rotterdam than in Amsterdam.
- Large international community
- The cost of living is low.
- More housing options than in Amsterdam
- High rental costs
- Few accommodation options
5. Eindhoven: The Technological Heart of The Netherlands
Known as the technological heart of The Netherlands, Eindhoven is a city that thrives on innovation and creativity. It is home to the renowned Eindhoven University of Technology and numerous high-tech companies.
One-third of its public areas are parks, making it the greenest of the big Dutch cities. Eindhoven’s modern architecture, vibrant design scene, and cultural events like the Dutch Design Week attract creative minds worldwide. The town also offers diverse shops, restaurants, and nightlife options, making it a vibrant and dynamic place to live.
- Lots of parks
- Technology hub
- Not as beautiful as other cities on this list
6. Haarlem: A Smaller, Charming Alternative to Amsterdam (Best City for Families)
Haarlem is located just a stone’s throw away from Amsterdam and offers a quieter and more intimate living experience. This beautiful city is known for its well-preserved historic buildings, enchanting cobblestone streets, and thriving arts scene.
It’s a quiet place for families to live, but increasing numbers of people are moving there because it’s close to the Amsterdam metropolitan area.
You can explore the world-class Frans Hals Museum, walk through the busy Grote Markt, and enjoy the peaceful beauty of the dunes and beaches in the area. Haarlem is a great place to escape the busyness of bigger towns because it is quiet and has a strong sense of community.
- Close to main cities
- Tranquil lifestyle
- High cost of accommodation
7. Groningen: A Lively University City
Groningen is the largest city in the northern Netherlands. It is a vibrant university city known for its youthful energy and lively atmosphere. With a large student population, Groningen offers various cultural events, festivals, and a thriving nightlife.
The city’s compact size makes it easy to explore by foot or bicycle, and its charming streets are lined with cafes, bars, and boutiques. As a city on the outskirts, it has fewer English speakers and is 2.5 hours by train from Amsterdam. Groningen is the place to be if you’re looking for a city with a youthful spirit and a welcoming community.
- Accommodation is affordable
- Difficult to find a job if you don’t speak Dutch
- Far from main cities and airport
8. Tilburg: Best City for Groups
It may be quiet, but Tilburg is fast becoming a center for start-ups and logistics. The city’s aesthetic is defined by its industrial urban origins and decorated with walls clad in local street art. The artistic culture is alive and well, though. Entertain yourself with museums, art, and music, or explore the many parks and forests at your disposal.
- Accommodation is affordable
- Quiet lifestyle
- Less cosmopolitan
9. Leiden: A city with a lot of history and culture
Leiden is a small city in the Randstad region of the Netherlands. It is a historical and culturally rich city. Overall, it’s a culturally rich city with 15 museums displaying notable works and streets lined with little cafés and restaurants.
Leiden is home to one of the oldest universities in the country and has a thriving academic community. Visit the many museums, take a boat ride through the canals, and enjoy the lively atmosphere of this historic city.
- Fewer tourists
- Many cultural points of interest
- Can feel crowded
10. Maastricht: A Pretty Jewel in the South
Maastricht is home to 1,677 national heritage buildings in the southernmost part of the Netherlands. The city is a hidden gem that captivates visitors with its old-world charm and rich history. The town is famous for its stunning architecture, historic landmarks, and vibrant cultural scene.
You can explore the beautiful squares and streets with cobblestones, try local treats at the busy markets, and discover the secret courtyards and gardens. Its position on the southern tip of the country gives it a cosmopolitan feel, making it a great place for tourists.
- Close to other countries
- Very beautiful
Not as English-friendly
The Netherlands offers a wide range of cities and towns considered among the best places to live in the country. These locations provide an exceptional quality of life, strong infrastructure, and a variety of amenities to suit different preferences and lifestyles.
These best cities to live in the Netherlands offer a high standard of living, with well-planned urban environments, efficient public transportation systems, and many recreational and cultural opportunities. Residents can enjoy the benefits of a strong economy, excellent healthcare, and a well-developed education system.
The Netherlands’ commitment to sustainability and environmental consciousness is also reflected in its cities, with green spaces, bike-friendly infrastructure, and a focus on renewable energy sources. This dedication to a sustainable lifestyle contributes to residents’ overall well-being and happiness.
In summary, the best places to live in the Netherlands offer a blend of modernity and tradition, convenience and tranquility, providing residents with an exceptional quality of life. Interested in traveling to Finland? Explore Singapore’s 10 Best Vacation Destinations.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the cost of living like in The Netherlands?
- The cost of living in The Netherlands can vary depending on the city or town you choose to live in. Generally, larger cities like Amsterdam and The Hague tend to be more expensive, while smaller towns and rural areas offer a lower cost of living. It’s important to consider factors such as housing, transportation, healthcare, and daily expenses when assessing the cost of living in a particular area.
- How easy is it to find housing in The Netherlands?
- Housing in The Netherlands can be competitive, especially in popular cities like Amsterdam and Utrecht. It’s advisable to start your search early and consider different options, such as renting an apartment, joining a housing association, or exploring student housing if you’re a student. Working with a real estate agent or using online platforms can also help you find suitable accommodation.
- What is the healthcare system like in The Netherlands?
- The healthcare system in The Netherlands is known for its high quality and accessibility. It operates on a mandatory health insurance system, where residents must have basic health insurance coverage. The healthcare infrastructure is well-developed, with a nationwide network of hospitals, clinics, and general practitioners.
- Are English-speaking expats welcome in The Netherlands?
- Yes, English-speaking expats are generally welcome in The Netherlands. The Dutch are known for their high proficiency in English, and many businesses, universities, and services cater to English speakers. However, learning basic Dutch can enhance your experience and integration into the local community.
- What is the public transportation system like in The Netherlands?
- The Netherlands has a highly efficient and extensive public transportation system. Trains, buses, trams, and metros connect various cities and towns, making it easy to navigate the country. The OV-chipkaart is a popular contactless smart card used for public transport, which can be topped up with credit and used across different modes of transportation.
Remember, each person has different preferences and priorities when choosing a place to live. When deciding, it’s essential to consider factors such as lifestyle, work opportunities, cultural offerings, and personal needs. Happy exploring and best of luck finding the best cities to live in The Netherlands!