Moving to a new place with your family can be a challenge, especially if you have limited information on the current cost of living in your destination. If you plan on relocating to the Netherlands, you should be aware that it has ranked among the top twenty places within the EU with a high cost of living for the last five years. Luckily, the salaries offered in the country are good enough to afford you a good life.
In the Netherlands, a family of four can live on 4,500 EUR, while that of three can do with an income of 4,000 EUR. For a couple without kids, 3,500 EUR would accord them a comfortable life. A big chunk of the amount goes into housing as rent prices in the Netherlands are at an all-time high.
The Netherlands has a higher cost of living than some European countries such as Italy and Spain, but it’s also cheaper than others like Ireland. This article explores the cost of living for a family in the Netherlands based on several aspects, such as housing, food, transportation, and childcare.
How much does a family need to live comfortably in the Netherlands?
A family with one kid will need at least 4,000 EUR to have a comfortable life in the Netherlands. A family of four (2 children) will need about 4,500 EUR every month.
In the year 2022, it’s projected that the cost of living in the Netherlands will rise by 5.2%. The rise has been attributed to the ongoing global economic downturn due to the coronavirus pandemic and the war in Ukraine.
Inflation rates in the Netherlands are expected to rise to 6%, which means residents’ purchasing power will be negatively affected. This translates to a rise in the prices of common goods and, thus a higher cost of living.
That said, the average salary across the country is about 3,300 EUR before taxes.
The first two quarters of 2022 have seen the food and energy sector become the most affected industries by inflation.
Your cost of living in the Netherlands will be determined by several individual aspects, such as the number of children under your care, your choice of mode of transport, and the city you live in. For instance, if you choose to use public transport with regular tickets, you’ll save more than using private means.
Where you live in the Netherlands will also affect your cost of living as different cities vary. Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht, and The Hague are some of the cities in the Netherlands with the highest cost of living.
Below is a table that shows how the cost of living within the different cities in the Netherlands compare:
The cost of living in an area is dictated by the existing price ranges of the expenses within the region. The major cost items to help you evaluate the cost of living in the Netherlands include:
Read our guide on salaries in the Netherlands.
Rent prices in the Netherlands have been on a trajectory trend in the last two years as demand for good housing surges, with the supply being unable to match. As a result, in 2022, the national average rent prices rose to 17.2 EUR per square meter, which is 6% more than in 2021.
Amsterdam has the highest rent prices, with a one-bedroom apartment in the city going for 1,500 EUR. In the outskirts of Amsterdam, a couple can utilize a one-bedroom for 1,000-1,300 EUR. A family with a kid or two may have to go for a two-bedroom house for 2,000 EUR in Amsterdam. But if you’re looking for a better place to stay in Amsterdam, there are other accommodations.
Generally, renting a large apartment outside the city center will cost you between 1,100 EUR and 2,300 EUR per month.
The table below shows the rent prices of different cities across the Netherlands.
|CityAverage rent price for a one-bedroom house|
|The Hague||1,300 EUR|
Read our guide on rent prices in the Netherlands.
As a family, where you choose to stay will be influenced by where you work, the size of your family, and the affordability of the type of housing. Luckily the Netherlands has a diverse housing industry where you have unlimited options.
You can go for a furnished house complete with all fixtures or settle for a shell-type apartment where you choose and fix your fittings.
Housing in the Netherlands is above average, and you must fully evaluate your options for the best deal as you settle your family.
If you ever decide to buy your own house or apartment, the average price of the square meter is 5,500 EUR in the city center and 3,900 EUR in the outskirts. You can find significantly less expensive homes in the Dutch countryside.
Food and groceries
On average, a family in the Netherlands should budget for between 300-600 EUR to cater for groceries. Food in the Netherlands is not overly expensive, and if you are cost-conscious as a family, around 400 EUR a month should be enough for food.
Basic food and groceries are available in most stores across the country where they are affordably priced, especially if you avoid the specialist store, you can save around 15%.
Here is a price breakdown of the everyday groceries and food items in the Netherlands:
Eating out as a family is a common tradition in the Netherlands. A meal for two people in an average restaurant will cost you between 40 EUR and 60 EUR for a three-course meal.
The Netherlands has a well-organized healthcare system where all residents are expected to acquire a health insurance policy from private providers. The public funds the system through premiums and government grants.
Here’s how the system operates:
In the Netherlands, the basic insurance policy plan goes for 100-125 EUR. However, that includes a deductible of 385 EUR, meaning you will pay this amount when using healthcare services. If you fail to sign up for health insurance in the country, you will be fined a sum close to 30% for the duration you weren’t insured.
The Dutch universal healthcare policy will cover for:
- Hospital bills
- Prescription drugs
- Mental health
- Home-based care
Children below 18 years are paid for by the government, while adults are expected to pay premiums for the policy.
For expats living in the Netherlands, we recommend Cigna Global – the best insurance for expatriates; you can also compare rates of various Dutch insurance companies.
Read this guide about the costs of healthcare and health insurance in the Netherlands.
Dutch households pay for additional insurance like home insurance and liability insurance. These policies cover you in terms of liability for damages made to properties and people. The prices vary, but it’s usually less than 20 EUR per month for both coverages.
Transport in the Netherlands should be the least of your worries as the public system is affordable and organized. If you live in any of the four big cities, Amsterdam, Hague, Rotterdam, and Utrecht, you have the privilege of using either a tram or a light rail.
Amsterdam and Rotterdam have underground lines that the metros use the line for faster access to other routes.
On average, transport in the Netherlands is affordable, with regular tickets going for between 100-120 EUR a month.
Want to drive a car? Learn how much it costs to own one in the Netherlands first.
|Utilities for 80 square meter apartment||157|
|Mobile phone bill||15|
Average cost of living in the Netherlands for a family of 4
A family of four will require 4,500 EUR as the average cost of living in the Netherlands. The amount may vary depending on your lifestyle and location.
As a family of four, you’ll require either a two-bedroom or a three-bedroom. Assuming the family is made up of two adults and two kids of the same gender, then a two-bedroom would do, but for different genders, you might consider renting a three-bedroom.
Here’s how the 4,500 EUR would be distributed:
- Rent for a three-bedroom apartment or house: 1,800 EUR
- Food: 1,000 EUR
- Transport: 200 EUR
- Utilities: 400 EUR
- Child care: 1,000 EUR
From the analysis, rent consumes the biggest chunk of your income, so you should evaluate all available options, such as working with a two-bedroom as you gain footing.
You could also avoid eating out if it is more expensive and prepare the meals in-house.
To reduce transport costs, choose to live not far from your workplace as you’ll save on bus tickets.
Cost of living for a family in Amsterdam
Amsterdam has the highest cost of living in the Netherlands. The city has the highest rent prices, with an apartment going for 1,500 EUR on average.
As the capital city, Amsterdam has a vibrant hotel industry that includes high-end restaurants, which would make an average earner skip eating out.
Below is a breakdown of the cost of living in Amsterdam:
A family of four will require between 4,000- 5,000 EUR to have it smooth in Amsterdam. 4,500 EUR will afford the family a two-bedroom house at between 1,800-2,300 EUR, spend 1,000 on child care, 1,000 on food and groceries, and 500 EUR on utilities.
A family of four with a net income of 5,100 EUR can distribute the earnings as follows:
While food and transport may not be a big challenge to fund, housing is high in Amsterdam. You may be forced to look for accommodation on the city’s outskirts where it’s more affordable.
Fortunately, the transport network in and out of Amsterdam is well organized, so you can live elsewhere and still make it to and from the office in good time.
Childcare costs in the Netherlands
Childcare costs in the Netherlands fall between 7 and 11 EUR per hour. The amount remitted depends on the complexity of what’s involved in the childcare. For instance, if meals are included, the cost rises. If you decide to give your small child to a full-time nursery home, it will cost about 1,368 EUR per month on average.
The Netherlands has plans in place to offer childcare support for professional parents and low-income earners. To benefit from the program, however, you must meet some parameters, such as the child must be living with you.
As an expat, you must possess a working permit or residency and be an EU national to benefit from the childcare program.
The Netherlands also has a child budget whereby some amount is allocated to the child until they hit 18 years. The amount is remitted on top of the child benefit, and not everyone with a child gets the budget.
To qualify, you must earn below 70,000 EUR if you don’t have a partner and 99,000 EUR if you have a partner.
The childcare program caters to up to three children, and the much you can get is 262 EUR. Above three kids, you’ll be accorded 76 EUR.
|Number of children||The maximum amount of child budget per month|
|1 child||100 EUR|
|2 children||183 EUR|
|3 children||262 EUR|
|4 children or more||76 EUR extra per month|