How to live cheaply in Amsterdam

Living and working in the Netherlands

Around 380,000 Germans already live in the Netherlands. It has long been known that “Oranje” has much more to offer than windmills, cheese and tulips. The relatively easy to learn language and the geographical and sometimes also cultural proximity to Germany make it an attractive destination for Germans.

Arrive in the Netherlands

Since the Netherlands is an EU country, German citizens can easily settle in the country and do not need a residence or work permit.

Reporting requirement

The reporting system in the Netherlands is similar to that in Germany. If you want to stay in the country for more than 4 months, you must have your place of residence at the responsible municipality in the registration office (Basisadministratie Persoonsgegevens - GBA) Sign in. If you move later within the country, you have to change your registration. To register you need a valid identification document (identity card or passport) and proof of address, e.g. B. in the form of a rental agreement or a certificate from the landlord. A birth or marriage certificate may also have to be submitted later. Registration must be made within 5 days. If you are spending the first few days in a hotel after your arrival and therefore do not yet have a permanent address, you should register as soon as you have received your rental agreement.

Important identification numbers

When you register at the residents' registration office, you will receive your “Citizen Service Number” (BSN). You will need this from certain authorities when you start a job or from the insurance company. You can also apply for a DigiD, a digital identification number. So you can z. B. Submit your tax return online.

Bank account

Since the euro is also used as the currency in the Netherlands and you can pay with a debit or credit card in most stores, a Dutch bank account may not be your first priority. When you take up a job, you should open an account so that you can get your salary without any problems. To open a bank account, you can simply go to a branch of the bank you want. With some banks you need an appointment, with others you can open an account directly. You should have your ID or passport, your BSN and proof of address ready.

Health insurance

Insurance is compulsory in the Netherlands. That means you have to take out health insurance within the first 4 months. You can choose the insurance yourself. This guarantees a basic security. Then you can choose whether you want to take out additional services. Unlike in Germany, the health insurance contributions are not deducted directly from your salary, but have to be paid separately. The costs amount to approx. € 1000 per year, plus income-related surcharges.

Taxes / Salary

The minimum wage in the Netherlands is € 1,551.60 per month for people over the age of 23. The minimum wage refers to full-time positions with 36, 38 or 40 hours. There is no fixed hourly minimum wage. This means that those who work 40 hours receive the same minimum wage as workers who work 36 hours per week. However, a change to hourly wages is already being discussed.

Income tax is calculated based on the size of the income. In addition, social security contributions are deducted. A total of between 37% and 52% are deducted from the net salary.

Here is an overview of the tax rates applicable in 2018:

incometax rate
up to € 20,14236,55 %
€ 20,143 to € 33,99440,85 %
€ 33,995 to € 68,50740,85 %
Over € 68,50751,95 %

Source: Burden Service


labour market

Various industries, such as the hotel and catering industry, the construction industry and the Dutch healthcare sector are looking for suitable skilled workers. Germans are usually welcome employees. The construction industry, which has a high demand for qualified engineers, deserves special mention at this point. There is a wide range of jobs, especially for academics, and therefore a very low unemployment rate.

More and more international companies are opening locations in the Netherlands, e. B. Hewlett Packard (Amsterdam), Canon (Amsterdam), Lucent Technologies (The Hague), Microsoft, Oracle (Amsterdam) and Toshiba (Rotterdam) have settled in the metropolises of our neighboring country.

Extra tip: Amsterdam is one of the top European cities in the start-up scene, i. H. interesting jobs for German native speakers can be found here.

Employment Law

A maximum of 9 hours per day may be worked, and a maximum of 45 hours per week. In most professions, the working hours are 36-40 hours per week. If you work full-time, you are entitled to at least 20 paid vacation days. For many employers, however, there are more than 20 days. In the Netherlands it is common to get a fixed-term contract when you start a new job. The trial period is a maximum of 1 month for contracts limited to less than 2 years and a maximum of 2 months for other contracts. The notice period depends on how long you have been working for the employer.

notice period
Employed sinceDeadline
less than 5 years1 month
5 - 10 years2 months
10-15 years3 months
over 15 years4 months



As in other countries, there is a lack of affordable housing, especially in the big cities. Apartments in Amsterdam in particular are very expensive and difficult to find. The easiest way to find an apartment is through a broker.

The cheapest apartments are available from housing associations. There you can apply for certain apartments, depending on your income. People with a higher income can only apply for more expensive apartments and low-wage earners for cheap ones. Since the comparatively cheap apartments are very popular, you have to be prepared for many competitors and long waiting times.

The deposit for a rented apartment is usually 2 months' rent.

The approximate monthly rent for a 45 m² apartment is € 1,006 in Amsterdam, € 725 in The Hague, € 636 in Rotterdam and € 617 in Maastricht. Rents are usually given as cold rents. Additional costs such as water, electricity and heating must be added.

Cost of living

BerlinAmsterdamThe hagueRotterdamMaastricht
1 liter of milk
1.5 liters of water
Potatoes 1 kg
Monthly ticket for public transport
Internet (month)
movie theater
Gym (month)
Rent (1-room apartment)
0,82 €
0,66 €
1,22 €
81,00 €
26,35 €
10,00 €
25,16 €
644,24 €
1,01 €
0,89 €
1,52 €
90,00 €
36,48 €
12,00 €
32,68 €
1.254,69 €
1,00 €
0,86 €
1,31 €
70,00 €
12,00 €
35,07 €
763,34 €
0,97 €
0,84 €
1,28 €
70,00 €
30,94 €
10,00 €
22,60 €
818,10 €
0,90 €
0,83 €
1,21 €
40,00 €
29,46 €
26,28 €
635,77 €

Source: Numbeo


The German driving license is also valid in the Netherlands. However, there are certain restrictions: The driver's license is only valid for 15 years from the date of issue. An example: if you acquired your driving license in Germany in 2006, you can use it in the Netherlands until 2021. After that you have to exchange it for a Dutch driver's license. If you have had your driving license for more than 13 years when you move to the Netherlands, you have 2 years before you have to exchange it. The exchange takes place at the city administration. You need your ID, a photo and of course your German driver's license, which you then have to hand in.

Germans in the Netherlands

Around 380,000 Germans live in the Netherlands. In addition, around 25,000 Germans commute across the border every day. At aGerman community Participating will therefore turn out to be easy. If this is not of interest, you can easily drive back to your home country over the weekend.