During the time that I’ve lived in Amsterdam, many people have asked me why I live here – and I always tell them that it was a man who convinced me to come (which is the case for many expats, the second reason is work, and the third reason is just because). Lots of expats start out saying that they will only stay for a year or so, and end up staying here forever.
If you’re someone who is thinking about moving to Amsterdam, I want to tell you why you should (and not just because of work, or because your partner is Dutch.)
1: Amsterdam is a beautiful city to live in
With canal houses, architecture and canals it’s pretty obvious that Amsterdam is beautiful. There are several green spaces, (Vondelpark anyone?), you’re absolutely spoilt rotten if you live here.
2: There is a huge expat community
With meetups almost every day, you’re sure to find a social crowd when you first arrive and people within your group of friends become your support group. Finding your way can be hard in the first few months, but you’ll quickly feel at home with other expats who are going through the same thing. Not to mention the several opportunities to go out for dinner, drinks or a stroll.
3: Almost everyone can speak English
This is really an advantage, especially when you first arrive and haven’t mastered the language yet. Opening a bank account is so much easier when the people behind the counter understand you. The Dutch love to speak English to their expat friends too – many expats I know who have lived here for years and have never learnt Dutch (though I am in the ‘ learn Dutch’ camp)
4: Culture is all over the place
There is so much culture in Amsterdam – from the museums, concert halls, live music, festivals and so much more. Amsterdam has so many museums, from the Rijksmuseum all the way to a museum dedicated to funerals in the Netherlands you will never ever be bored.
5: Dutch people are awesome
In my experience, Dutch people are more friendly than their British counterparts. If you look a bit lost, nine times out of ten, someone will come up to you and ask you if you need any help, or directions. This is something that I completely love. They also have an awesome accent when they speak in English.
6: There is always something going on
Amsterdam is small, but there is plenty happening. From music festivals, to concerts, to running events – you name it, it’s probably happening in Amsterdam. King’s Night, Gay Pride, IDFA, Taste of Amsterdam, the Food Film Festival, Rollende Keukens, New Year’s Eve. I could go on, and on.
7: You can cycle almost anywhere
I love that the Dutch think it’s perfectly natural to cycle everywhere, and that public transport is only for days when your bike is broken and sitting in the repair shop. At first I was reluctant to embrace this, but now I am cycling more than ever, and when I go to the UK for a visit, I always wish I had a bike.
8: There are so many international companies who have a base in Amsterdam
If you come here without a job, the fact that you don’t speak Dutch shouldn’t be a problem because there are some huge international companies here. So many expats work in these companies, and even if you don’t want to work in big companies there are plenty of smaller companies who are looking for English speakers.
9: Amsterdam is so well connected to other places in Europe
The opportunity to travel is so much greater in Amsterdam. There are trains that connect to Brussels, Paris, Belin or Salzburg (the list goes on) or you can fly relatively cheaply. It means you can travel so much easier, which I really like.
Be warned, once you move to Amsterdam, you might never leave.
Are you thinking about moving to Amsterdam, or have you moved here already? What is your reason for coming to Amsterdam, and why do you love it?