The Netherlands and the UK rank among the most popular options for people looking for a country to call home. Before deciding on settling in one of the two countries, one among several factors you’ll consider is the cost of living.
Generally, living in the Netherlands is more expensive than in the UK. Across all categories and cities, prices in the Netherlands are 10.6% higher than in the UK. Yet, the statistical cost of living for a single in the Netherlands is €2,448, and in the UK, it’s €2,900.
Although both countries have varying living costs, their living standards are high. This article covers everything about the cost of living and the salary you need to live comfortably in both countries. Read on to find out the rent prices among other expenses for both singles and families in the two countries.
Is the UK more expensive than the Netherlands?
The Netherlands is the tenth most expensive country to live in the world, with a cost of living index of 77.66. On the other hand, the UK ranks 20th with a cost of living index of 69.65.
To determine which country is the most expensive of the two, you have to consider the costs of expenses in each. You’ll find that while housing costs more in the Netherlands, childcare is expensive in the UK. Generally, the Netherlands is 10.6% more expensive than the UK.
According to the Numbeo:
- Consumer prices in the Netherlands are 12.38% higher than in the UK
- Rent in the Netherlands is 11.09% higher than in the UK
- Eating out in the Netherlands is 0.94% higher than in the UK
- Groceries are 20.47% higher in the Netherlands than in the UK
Check out this guide: Living in the Netherlands vs the UK.
Since housing takes up most of your income, learning about the costs in the two countries will help you determine which one suits your budget and salary.
Rental prices in the Netherlands are 9.86% higher than in the UK. While a one-bedroom apartment costs an average of €1,800 in the Netherlands, the same goes for around €1,500 in the UK.
It’ll cost you €5,538 per square meter to buy an apartment in the Netherlands and €4,831 in the UK.
Food and groceries
If you live in the UK, you’ll pay less for food and groceries than you would in the Netherlands. Some basic food and grocery items cost as follows:
|Item||Cost in the UK (€)||Cost in the Netherlands (€)|
|A loaf of bread||1.19||1.88|
|1kg of apples||2.25||2.71|
|1kg of tomatoes||2.53||2.71|
|1kg of boneless chicken breasts||6.75||8.39|
|1 kg of tomatoes||2.53||2.71|
|1 bottle of soda||1.71||2.69|
|500g of local cheese||3.41||5.65|
|A dozen eggs||2.38||1.96|
The UK, through its National Health Service, provides free healthcare services to residents of all income levels. However, you’ll incur medical expenses such as dental services, eye care, and prescriptions. Most people prefer the NHS, but if you opt for private cover, you’ll pay between €140 and €200 per month.
For expats in the UK and the Netherlands, we recommend affordable and comprehensive health insurance from Cigna Global.
A basic health insurance package in the Netherlands costs €120 per month. With this amount, you can access either free or subsidized medical care and prescription.
Read this guide on the pricing of health insurance in the Netherlands.
Public transport is a preferred means of transportation in the Netherlands, and it costs as follows:
- Hourly ticket – €3.20
- One-way ticket – €3.00
- Monthly pass – €90.00
The cost of taking a taxi is €2.19 per kilometer. If you own a car, you’ll spend €1.65 per liter on gasoline.
Transportation in the UK is more expensive than in the Netherlands. Generally, it costs as follows:
- One-way ticket on public transport – €2.96
- A monthly pass – €77
- Taxi – €1.47 per kilometer
- Gasoline – €1.74 per liter
The cost of childcare in the Netherlands depends on your household income, the number of hours spent in daycare, and the number of children. The average childcare costs in the Netherlands fall between 7 and 11 EUR per hour.
For younger children below 4 of age, you’ll need to pay for daycare. Tuition fees in the Netherlands range between €8,000 and €23,000 annually.
Since the Dutch government provides daycare subsidies, the cost you’ll incur is friendly. Below is a breakdown of the daycare costs for two different incomes.
|Annual gross income (€)||37,000||55,000|
|Hourly costs (€)||8.46||8.46|
|Monthly costs (€)||752||752|
|Government subsidy (€)||675 (96%)||609 (80.9%)|
|Net cost per day (€)||53||144|
Childcare costs in the UK are on the rise when compared to previous years. On average, a part-time nursery costs £7,000 annually per child, and the prices are higher in London. Depending on the form of childcare, you’ll pay as follows:
- 25 hours of part-time weekly care for a child under 2 – €52 a week.
- 50 hours of full-time weekly care for under two – €311 per week.
- A 5-day after-school club – €73 per week.
- Live-in nanny – €500 to €800 weekly.
Rent prices in the Netherlands vs the UK
Before renting in either the Netherlands or the UK, note the following:
- The rental market in both countries is facing inflation. In the UK, rental prices record up to a 20% increase in most cities. The Netherlands, on the other hand, records an 11.8% rise.
- Rent prices are higher in the city centers. In addition, the closer you are to social amenities, the higher the rent.
- Rent prices depend on the size of the house. Bigger and furnished homes cost more than the smaller or unfurnished ones.
- Tenancy agreements in the Netherlands go for a minimum of 12 months and six months in the UK.
- Most landlords in the Netherlands include utility bills in the rent making the expense go high. In the UK, utility bills are separated from rent.
Although rent prices are high in both countries, the Netherlands is more expensive than the UK. The average rent in the Netherlands is €1,040 while that in the UK is €899. This means that the average person spends about 30% and 26% of their income on rent in the Netherlands and the UK, respectively.
Below is a table comparing the rent prices of different houses in the Netherlands and the UK.
|One-bedroom (city center)||One-bedroom (outside the city center)||Three-bedroom (city center)||Three-bedroom (outside the city center)|
|UK||€1,000-€2,000||€760 – €1,860||€1,852 – €4,240||€1,364 – €3,260|
Cost of living in London vs Amsterdam
The cost of living in London and Amsterdam is high. However, London’s cost of living is higher than Amsterdam’s. €5,170 per month in Amsterdam will give you the same living standards as €5,873 in London. Let’s have a look at the costs of different expenses in the two cities.
The cost of purchasing or renting a house in Amsterdam is lower than in London. Whether you rent in the city center or outskirts, rental prices are 20% to 26% less in Amsterdam than in London. But if you are looking for a place to stay in Amsterdam that is not a regular room, you might find a nicer place but it might even be more expensive than renting. If purchasing, you’ll pay 24% to 38% more in London.
If utility bills are included in your rent, your rent will be higher. Amsterdam, you’ll pay 16% less than in London on utilities. These costs include the following:
Gas and electricity: In Amsterdam, gas and electricity cost €0.08 and €0.25 per kWh, respectively. On average, you can pay between €120 to €200 monthly on gas and electricity.
Water: Water bills in Amsterdam are calculated per cubic meter. They range between €15 and €30 per month. In London, water costs about €42 monthly.
Internet: Amsterdam’s average monthly internet price ranges between €32 and €67 for lower and higher speed connections, respectively. The average monthly cost for internet in London is between €42 and €80.
Phone: Cell phone plans cost between €8 and €40 a month. An average plan cost, including unlimited calling and 10 gigabytes of data, is €20 monthly. In London, €23.57 a month gives you unlimited minutes and texts.
Public transport is commonly used in the two cities, and it’s 46% cheaper in Amsterdam. If you use taxis, you’ll pay 26% more in Amsterdam. The cost of fuel in London is 2% higher than in Amsterdam. If you want to buy a car, you’ll spend 4% more in Amsterdam.
Food and groceries
The cost of food and groceries in Amsterdam is 2% higher than in London. Restaurant prices are about the same, except for fine dining, which is more expensive in the British capital.
The cost of essential foods and groceries are less by the following percentages in Amsterdam when compared to London:
- Milk: 7%
- Oranges: 21%
- Apples: 4%
- However, the rest costs significantly more in Amsterdam than in London.
- Wine: 34%
- Beer: 34%
Most clothing items are more costly in Amsterdam than in London. For instance, Levi jeans and men’s shoes cost 10% and 19% more. However, stores like H&M and Zara have lower prices in Amsterdam than they do in London.
How much money do you need to live comfortably in the Netherlands?
How much you need to live comfortably in the Netherlands depends on the region, the number of people in your household, and spending habits.
If you’re a single person, you’ll need €2,500 a month to live decently in most Dutch cities. With this amount, your life will look as follows:
- Housing: 45-meter square furnished studio of €1,200
- Utilities: €144
- Food and groceries: €200
- Health insurance: €130 for a premium health insurance package.
- Transport: €93 for a monthly ticket on public transport.
- Disposable income: €300 for clothes, shoes, movie tickets, and eating out.
- Savings: €400
As a family, you’ll need €4,000 to €6,000 monthly to live comfortably in the Netherlands. With this amount, your life will be as follows:
- Housing: €1,900 for a two-bedroom house
- Utilities: €220
- Food and groceries: €500 – €800
- Health insurance: €250
- Transport: €200
- Childcare: €1,557 per child
- Disposable income: €500 for entertainment, dining out, clothing, and shoes.
- Savings: €500
If you are a couple with two children, a boy and a girl, you’ll need a two-to-three-bedroom house which costs €1,700 to €2,300 per month. Additionally, your childcare costs will add a significant amount. This means you need to earn €4,000 per month to cover recurring expenses and disposable income and put about €500 into savings.
How much money do you need to live comfortably in the UK?
The amount of money you need to live comfortably in the UK depends on the following factors:
- The part of the country you live in.
- The number of people in your household.
- Whether or not you have children.
You’ll need to earn more if you live in major cities like London, Oxford, and Cambridge, where the cost of living is higher than in other parts. A household of four, say a couple and two children, will need to earn more to cover living expenses and childcare costs.
To live comfortably in the UK as a single person, you need to have a net salary of €3,000 per month, which is above the national average. This is the amount earned by project coordinators, fashion designers, and software developers.
With this amount, you’ll cover living expenses as follows:
|Expense||Amount per month|
|Housing||One-bedroom apartment for €1,050 in the city center|
|Food and groceries||€300|
|Health insurance||You can get free medical services through the National Health Service (NHS) or pay €148 for private health insurance.|
|Transport||A monthly regular pass of €77|
The total fixed amount you’ll spend each month is about €1,755. This leaves you with €1,245, which you can spend on entertainment, clothing, weekend getaways, and savings.
If you are a family with children, you’ll need to earn €4,000 – €5,000 per month to live comfortably in the UK. With this amount, your life will be as follows:
- Housing: €2,000 to €2,500 for a three-bedroom house.
- Utilities: €250
- Food and groceries: €500 – €800
- Health insurance: €250
- Transport: €200
- Childcare: €500 to €1,100 per child
If you have one child, you can live in a two-bedroom house for €1,800. You’ll remain with 3,000 every month that you can split among savings, family outings, and clothing. With two children, childcare costs will increase, leaving you with about €1,300 per month.