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Cost of Living for a Family in the Netherlands

For various reasons, the Netherlands has been ranked as one of the best places to live in Europe. Before you relocate your family, it helps to have critical information about the country.

One of the essential factors to consider is the cost of living. How much does it cost for a family to live in the Netherlands?

The cost of living in the Netherlands is high and might be challenging if you don’t have a stable income. What you’ll pay is greatly determined by the city you move to, the mode of transport, and your family’s size. For instance, cities like Utrecht, Amsterdam, and Rotterdam are costly.

This guide will cover the cost of living in the Netherlands, so make sure you keep reading!

What are the average living expenses for a family in the Netherlands?

The cost of living in the Netherlands for a family is $4,734 per month if living in one of the main cities. It may be lower for single people or couples without kids.

The biggest percentage of this amount goes to rental costs, which are always high in the country.

Let’s break down the costs based on various expenses.


A daily budget isn’t complete without food. Luckily, the Netherlands has the lowest food prices compared to other European countries.

If you’re cost-conscious, you can spend $631 per month on food for a family of four. This amount covers three meals in a day. However, it may be less depending on your lifestyle.

Food is affordable in most stores across the country but cheaper in supermarkets. Dairy products and bread are the most inexpensive items here. If you go to a specialist store, you may buy food at a higher cost.

Most families in the Netherlands prefer eating out, and if you want to treat your loved ones to a three-course meal, it will cost you between $42 and $63 depending on the restaurant and location.


The rental cost in the Netherlands includes basic rent and the cost of utilities you’ll need. Some landlords will exclude utility costs.

The housing costs here differ based on where you live. For instance, the cost of housing in Amsterdam is very high but very low in Escheden.

The amount of rent you pay depends on the type of house you choose. For instance, an apartment will cost you approximately $2,630 per month while a single room costs $526. This doesn’t include utility bills like electricity, Internet, water, phone, and such.

You may also have to pay a one-time rental security deposit and provide guarantees based on your ability to pay the rent.

If you are an employee in the country, you must provide a copy of your employment contract. Students may be asked to provide a statement of their Dutch or family bank accounts.

Ensure you read and understand the rental contract before signing. The housing industry in the Netherlands is diverse, so your options will be unlimited. However, you must evaluate the options before settling your family.

Based on the country’s high housing cost, most people prefer buying apartments or houses. They cost significantly less in the Dutch countryside.


The Dutch government funds primary, secondary, and vocational education. It is, therefore, almost free for everyone, including foreigners, although there are some additional costs that parents pay.

The expenses include school trips, swimming lessons, sports days, and much more. Depending on a family’s income level, these fees may be between $262 to $421.

Parents with kids in private schools may pay more depending on how the school management sets the tuition fees.

On the other hand, parents in the Netherlands must pay for higher education since it is not free. Nevertheless, a subsidiary of the Dutch government makes it possible for local and international students to afford education.


Healthcare in the Netherlands is universal and some of the best around. The public funds the system through government grants and premiums. So what is the cost of healthcare in the Netherlands?

Healthcare costs are $105 to $131 per month, including a deductible of $405. This amount will therefore be paid by those using insurance policies.

Those who don’t sign up for health insurance policies are fined up to 30 percent for the time they weren’t insured.

The Dutch universal healthcare policy covers the following

  • Hospital bills
  • Mental health
  • Home-based care
  • Prescription drugs
  • Nurses
  • Services to quit smoking
  • Maternity care
  • Some specialist care
  • Some therapy treatments
  • Dental care for up to 18 years

The government takes care of the insurance costs for kids under 18 years of age.

The Netherlands has two types of health insurance coverage: Compulsory basic insurance and optional additional insurance.

Here are three ways of getting healthcare in the Netherlands:

  • Register with a local doctor
  • Choose and register for a health insurance cover of your preferences. ( It may be the additional or basic coverage)
  • Register with the local council and get a citizen service number


The cost of transport in the Netherlands is very high. You will have to pay a considerable amount of money whether you travel by bus, train, taxi or plane. This is why most people in this country prefer cycling bicycles when getting around the cities.

This applies even to major cities like Hague and Amsterdam. The prices of bikes vary depending on whether you want a secondhand or a new one. There are also bike rentals for those who don’t frequently use bicycles.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of living in the Netherlands?

The Netherlands is a great country but like any other country, it has its advantages and disadvantages. Let’s take a look at them to help you make an informed decision before moving your family.

Advantages of living in the Netherlands

  • An excellent and functional healthcare system

As mentioned earlier, the Netherlands boasts among the best healthcare systems in the world. All the healthcare facilities in this country feature high standards and skilled staff so you are guaranteed good healthcare services once you relocate.

You can access the services both at private and public facilities. The public facilities are usually under the government, meaning the primary healthcare cost is fixed.

Most citizens go for primary healthcare coverage provided by insurance companies, and if you have kids who are younger than 18, they will use your coverage.

  • Great social life

Dutch people are welcoming, trustworthy, loving, and loyal to everyone, so you won’t have to feel like a stranger.

This is also helpful when homesickness strikes, as you will have someone to chat with. Be ready to make friends with your workmates, neighbors, or people on the streets.

The other factor that makes social life in Netherlands lively is the summer music festivals, usually held in parks and public spaces. This also creates more room for people to socialize and meet new friends.

Additionally, Dutch people don’t pay much attention to the social hierarchy, so don’t be surprised to see the rich and those from different ethnic backgrounds socializing.

  • You can use English

Language barriers can make life much harder in a new country. You can be confident about relocating to the Netherlands because many Dutch people speak English, especially in major cities like Amsterdam and Rotterdam.

Alternatively, you can learn Dutch and blend well with the locals.

  • Safety

Safety is a significant factor before relocating your family to another country. This is more so for women and children.

The Netherlands is ranked as the 21st safest country in the world according to the 2021 World’s Safest Country Index.

Dutch people take rules seriously and are committed to adhering to local regulations, thus leading to harmony.

Exceptions always exist, so you may hear of some petty crimes, especially at night. You are also responsible for ensuring you are safe by avoiding high-crime areas and taking the necessary precautions.

Always ensure your house and car are locked before leaving and that you have set up a burglar alarm for your car or home.

  • Good work-life balance

The Netherlands has several things to be admired for, and their working hours are one. Compared to other European countries, Dutch people work fewer hours because they treasure family and leisure time.

Statistically, about 27 percent of men and 75 percent of women work around 36 hours a week, with some working from home. The average pay is also high, leading to a higher living standard for most people.

  • Perfect climate

The Netherlands has a moderate maritime climate throughout the year, with manageable summers and winters.

Of course, the climate has become quite unpredictable due to global warming. Mostly, the rain showers are between April and September, while the spring and fall seasons are from March to May.

The most beautiful time to visit the Netherlands is between June and August when tulips and daffodils dominate most parts of the country.

  • Food centers

There is even food for the less fortunate across the Netherlands. The food is served at relief centers by volunteers. If you sign up for it and your eligibility is proven, you can pick up your package once a week. The content of every package varies, but it’s nutritionally balanced.

  • Traveling is easy

Since the Netherlands is not a very large country, you can easily travel from one city to another, enjoying what each has to offer.

Flying outside the country is also easy thanks to the Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. The airport is well-connected for arrivals and departures to and from other European countries.

Additionally, navigation within the airport is easy compared to other large airports.

The country also boasts proximity to so many interesting cities in Europe. For instance, it’s between Belgium and Germany, and driving from France and Luxembourg doesn’t take long.

Besides, the country also has world-class train routes so you can visit various places and experience different cultures at a moderate price within a few hours.

  • Foreigners can find jobs easily

When many students move to other countries, they opt to find internships or work part-time to cater to their bills. This may not be possible in some countries, but the story differs for the Netherlands.

Most foreigners find jobs or startup businesses quickly. Additionally, foreigners don’t struggle with getting a work permit, unlike in other countries. This is more so for those from European Union countries.

When looking for jobs in the Netherlands, I recommend using agencies since they boast a wide network of hiring companies. Most of them come through for both starters and professional candidates. Their teams are also fluent in English and other languages besides Dutch.

  • Good organization

Living in a country with excellent organization and infrastructure makes life simple and enjoyable. The organization of the Netherlands is top-notch, with serious rules set in place to ensure everyone complies.

For instance, the regulations regarding waste are stringent, and you’ll be fined if you go against them.

What are the cons of living in the Netherlands?

As mentioned, everything with a good side has a bad side. Let’s look at the disadvantages of moving to the Netherlands.

  • High taxes

Taxes in the Netherlands are notorious for being very high. The taxation on income in this country is excessive compared to other European countries. Don’t be surprised if you pay more for public transportation tickets than you would for groceries.

It’s challenging for most people to own a car or afford quality electronic items unless they know where to get cheap deals. The taxation extends even to the service industry, so you may need some basic repair skills or you’ll pay for everything that needs to be fixed.

Conclusively, you have to be very good at budgeting and living as per your standard so you don’t find yourself in debt.

  • Housing shortages

There is a significant housing crisis in the Netherlands, so you must research where to live before moving with your family. This is more so for those who want to settle in the major cities.

Good family houses are scarce, and if you find a well-furnished one, it is often accompanied by crazy rental costs.

Most landlords take advantage of the housing crisis and overcharge their tenants. Engage a real estate agent to get a house of your preference quickly.

  • Strict rules

You must be a very disciplined person to survive in the Netherlands since Dutch people work with rules and believe the rules must be strictly followed.

They take planning and organizing seriously, so if you’re invited to a meeting, you must inform the right person if you will be late or unavailable. There is no room for being spontaneous in this country.

  • Language barrier

As stated earlier, most Dutch people know English, but it’s only conversationally and may not be enough.

You will need to learn Dutch since most items, announcements, packages, and announcements are in Dutch. You don’t want to use Google Translate every time you use the train or go to the stores.


The Netherlands is a great country to live in with family. Dutch people are friendly, the infrastructure is excellent, and education is quality. Keep in mind that the cost of living is high and you will need a tight family budget. I hope this guide helps you make an informed relocation decision!

» MORE: Cost of Living in the Netherlands vs the UK