Skip to Content

Cost of Living in the Netherlands vs the UK

For many people looking for a place to call home, the Netherlands and UK are two great options.

However, there are many factors you should consider before deciding which country you will settle in, one being the cost of living. Is it more cost-effective to live in the UK or the Netherlands?

The Netherlands is an expensive country to live in compared to the UK, with prices about 10 percent higher on average across all cities and categories. The cost of living for a single person may be less in the Netherlands than in the UK.

Despite the differences in the cost of living, the quality of life in the two countries is high. The UK may be a better option for those looking to save money. However, salaries in the Netherlands are higher than in the UK, thus creating a better quality of life.

This article will discuss everything you need to know about the cost of living in the UK and the Netherlands. Read on to learn about the expenses for families in both countries.

Is the Netherlands more expensive than the UK?

The Netherlands is among the top most expensive countries to live in throughout the world. Its cost of living index is higher than that of the UK by a considerably huge margin.

To evaluate the most expensive country between the two, it’s essential to first establish the cost of basic family expenses in each.

Let’s look at the basic expenses you must consider before booking your flight.


Housing takes most of one’s income both in the Netherlands and UK.

In the Netherlands, rental prices are higher than in the UK by 10.2 percent. A one-bedroom apartment in the UK will cost $809 per month, while you’ll pay $908 for the same lodging in the Netherlands.

Houses in the Netherlands are built with a style of modernity compared to the older houses in the UK. This increases the demand for houses, unlike in the UK, where you will quickly get a house.

Finding a house in the Netherlands will be challenging, and you may have to look for a real estate agent to assist you in getting one, especially in the major cities.

Health insurance

The Netherlands is among the top five countries with the best healthcare systems in the world.

The Netherlands’ healthcare is also cheaper than the UK’s because the government assists low-income people. Everyone in the Netherlands must pay their insurance coverage, whether a citizen or a foreigner.

In the United Kingdom, health insurance is free to all citizens. Nevertheless, some medical expenses must be incurred, including eye care, dental services, and prescriptions.

In conclusion, healthcare insurance costs are higher in the UK, but the services in the Netherlands are superior and hence worth the deductions. However, you will spend more if you opt for private insurance in both countries.


You will pay two times more for food and groceries in the Netherlands than in the UK. The high price of food is linked to the cost of production and transportation to various stores and supermarkets.

Food in the UK is generally cheaper by eight percent compared to all European countries. It’s also fresher and boasts higher standards.


Childcare is another significant expense in the two countries. However, the amount you will spend on childcare depends on the number of children you have, the time spent at the daycare, and your household income.

The cost of childcare in the Netherlands is cheaper than in the UK. You can pay between $7 and $12 per hour for childcare here. The Dutch government offers daycare subsidies, so you won’t have to break the bank for this expense.

Childcare in the United Kingdom continues to rise with each passing year. You can spend up to $7,448 per year on childcare in the UK depending on the type of childcare you choose.

Is London cheaper than Amsterdam?

The cost of living in these two cities differs in terms of housing, food, and transport. Here’s a brief look at the differences.


The cost of buying or renting a house in London is higher than in Amsterdam by 20 to 26 percent. However, you may find cheaper deals on the outskirts of the two cities.

In terms of quality of life, Amsterdam is more relaxed than London, and people value life’s little pleasures more.


Food is more expensive in Amsterdam than in London. While the restaurant prices are about the same, London offers a variety of cuisines compared to Amsterdam. Most foods in Amsterdam are higher by at least four percent compared to London.


Amsterdam is the winner in terms of the cheap cost of transport. This is because the Netherlands has a cycling culture, and you will hardly find people driving or boarding buses.

On the other hand, London is known for its high transport costs because fuel is highly-priced. If you want to buy a car in London, it will be four percent more expensive than in Amsterdam.

How much money do you need to stay comfortably in UK?

The amount of money you need to live a comfortable life in the UK depends on your family size and the city you’re in.

If you’re a single person living outside London, you will need a salary of $394 per week to enjoy a decent standard of living.

On the other hand, a family of four will need at least $650 per week for a decent life outside the major cities.

However, the cost will be high inside London and other major UK cities. Expect to pay more for everyday items because the cost of living is rising drastically.

The pros and cons of living in the Netherlands

Relocating to a new country is always overwhelming regardless of whether you’re doing so for studies, work, or just a change of environment.

Living in the Netherlands has its fair share of pros and cons, so let’s go over them now.


1. Quality education

The World Economic Forum has ranked the Netherlands among the top most educated countries in the world. Thus, if you plan to move here with your little ones, you can be assured that their education will be high-quality.

In the Netherlands, teachers impart children with knowledge and aptitude in sciences, arithmetic, and social and economic skills.

2. A working healthcare system

The Netherlands has one of the most admirable healthcare systems in the world. Healthcare facilities in this country are of a high standard with skilled staff, indicating that your health will be catered for if you relocate.

3. Welcoming communities

Dutch people are polite and friendly and will not hesitate to welcome and engage you. When dealing with homesickness, a friendly and welcoming community is paramount.

4. State-of-the-art transportation system

The Netherlands is not big; thus, you can easily maneuver through various cities. There is a rampant availability of public transport, including buses, trams, metros, and trains.

Additionally, if you buy a bike, you can use it to reach your destination faster, as there are separate cyclist lanes.

5. English is still applicable

If you plan to relocate to a new country, the language barrier can be a problem, and the Netherlands is no exception. Most people here can communicate in English, which is good to keep in mind if you plan to settle in large cities such as Amsterdam or Rotterdam.

6. Job security and availability

Most people in the Netherlands are employed, and 78 percent are between the ages of 25 and 64 years old. However, getting an employment opportunity in the Netherlands takes work, though possible. Your chances are higher if you’re skilled.


1. High taxes

Every worker in the Netherlands is taxed at slightly over 36 percent, an incredibly high tax rate. You’re only taxed at 29.1 percent if you have two children.

In connection to high taxes, the country is ranked number 22 out of 38 in the OECD member countries.

2. A sense of racism

As most countries seek to eradicate racism, the Netherlands still has rampant cases. In 2011, 2,695 cases of racist motives or racism were reported.

Recently, the cases have dropped to around 1,433. The largest cities in the country, such as Rotterdam and Amsterdam, record the most racism cases.

3. Housing crisis

The housing crisis in the Netherlands is insane. Thus, it’s imperative to look for a house before relocating. The furnished apartments attract crazy rent rates, while the unfurnished ones are relatively affordable.

4. Periodic bad weather

The Netherlands experiences warm weather from June to September. After this period, you can brace yourself for either extremely cold or rainy weather.

When it gets very cold here, the temperature drops to the extent that you do not want to go outside. However, the Dutch people even cycle as it snows.

5. High cost of living

Everything from shopping to rent and food is expensive in the Netherlands. The service industry is also high-priced. To avoid too much spending, you may have to fix some minor repairs in your house yourself.

6. Strict rules

In the Netherlands, the regulations and rules are expected to be followed down to every detail.

Organizing and planning are also of the essence here. For example, you must alert concerned people if you postpone a meeting.

The Pros and cons of living in the UK

Just like moving to any other country, moving to the UK has its pros and cons. As a prospective ex-pat, you must decisively weigh both of them.


1. Free healthcare and education

The government in the UK offers its people access to free healthcare. If you plan to work or live in the UK, you can be assured of top-notch healthcare during emergencies or routine checks.

Furthermore, if you plan to relocate with your kids, they can access free education at renowned schools.

2. Easy access to Europe

This has been ranked as the top benefit for people working or living in the UK.

It is extremely easy to visit all European countries if you are in the country. This is because while in the UK, you can travel out of Heathrow Airport, which is usually considered the center of international travel.

Additionally, the airport has plenty of affordable and cheap airlines for you to board when you want to visit Europe.

3. Purchase prices are less confusing

Shopping in the UK is easy because the buying price in multiple stores includes the sales tax (VAT). You will likely come across figures with tax and without tax on retail websites and invoices.

4. Friendly and polite people

Other than being a generally cosmopolitan and welcoming country, the UK is also ranked among the best places with friendly and polite people. It will be extremely easy to meet and befriend new people and connect with them.

5. A good place to start a business

The UK has been listed among the top 10 best countries in the world to start a business. The country has favorable taxes and law policies for businesses.

6. It’s a safe place to live

The majority of areas across the UK are safe. The country has an active police force that is always on alert. Other than a credible and accessible police force, CCTV cameras are installed everywhere.


1. Frequent travel delays

This mostly happens when you’re using trains. You can get frustrated when a train route is canceled on you while going to work. Though travel cancelations or delays are not common with short flights, they sometimes occur.

2. Long doctor visit waiting lists

Though the country has quality affordable or free healthcare, it can take significant time to see a specialist, doctor, or nurse.

People in the healthcare sector have little pay compared to other countries with private healthcare systems, hence less motivation, which leads to poor service delivery.

3. Strict visa requirements

If this is your first time visiting the UK, brace yourself for a rigorous visa application process. It will take you at least six weeks to get a work visa.

4. Competitive job market

In the UK, you can work only if you enter the country with a work visa or if you’re an ex-pat. However, you will likely encounter heightened competition in sectors like logistics, legal, retail, automotive, or hospitality.

5. Unpleasant weather

The UK has hit the global map due to its less-than-stellar climatic conditions. People in this country often describe the winter as cold, dreary, and long. Additionally, during winter, the days tend to be shorter, and darkness creeps in very early.


The Netherlands and the UK are great places to live with high quality of life. Between the two, the Netherlands is more expensive to live in compared to the UK.

However, the country offers better salaries so you can enjoy a good quality of life. On the other hand, the UK is an excellent place for anyone who wants to save money.

I hope this guide helps you choose which country to live in!