Having lived in The Netherlands for a couple of years now, I have formed a view on what I’d consider to be the best alternative places for expat families to live outside Amsterdam. Over the last 24 months, I’ve worked full time in the heart of the city but commuted daily from different (nearby) cities.
If the busy city lifestyle is not for you but you’d still like to live close enough to be able to enjoy a Friday evening in Amsterdam, join the club! Besides, who’d want to spend their entire salary on rent? Amsterdam’s housing market is hot and prices are constantly rising. But apart from the unbelievably high rates practiced, it can also be extremely challenging to find accommodation options. Houses come and go in the blink of an eye!
Now if you want to avoid the frustration of a never-ending search and have a quieter lifestyle, we’re in the same boat. Luckily, among the below 7 alternatives you might just find the perfect place for your family to settle.
7 alternative places for expats to live outside Amsterdam
Whether you choose to settle in Zaandam, Zaandijk, Koog aan de Zaan or even Wormerveer, you’ll quickly feel like you’re living in the countryside. Yet, these are only about 20 minutes away from their busy neighbor, Amsterdam. Here, there’s definitely more of a “Hollander” vibe and calmness.
The so-called “little Amsterdam” is a medium-sized city just minutes away. Though it isn’t cheap, Haarlem is a lively and young spot, yet quieter, with less criminal activity, and closer to the beach. Being the ideal location for a young family to settle, it offers all the amenities for a comfortable lifestyle.
Gooi & Vechtstreek
The area of well-connected Hilversum, high-class Bussum, and enchanting Naarden. What a romantic part of the country this is! Blending the Dutch and the international, the traditional and the modern, the budget-friendly and the luxurious, this region is likely to meet your needs.
Almere is one of the newest cities in the whole country. And Almere Poort specifically is still being built! It has spacious housing, modern and well-designed neighborhoods, and, better yet, the beach! This being said, if you’re looking for the picturesque type of villages Holland is well-known for, this isn’t for you.
As much as it could be seen as a commuter town for Amsterdamers it does have all the amenities for you to be travel independent, as well as a large expat community. Will you be traveling a lot? Amstelveen is about as close as it gets to Schiphol Airport too! Oh, and your international visitors won’t even believe that you live outside Amsterdam.
On its way to potentially becoming a part of Amsterdam, Weesp is both close enough and far enough from the big city! It looks and sounds great, with all the greenery, child-friendly features, and proximity to the city. Of course it is important to consider all of that when accounting for living expenses as well…
A whole other city on its own, I know! But you wouldn’t believe the number of people living in Utrecht who actually work in Amsterdam. Although it is further away than any of the places on this list, Utrecht is a fascinating place to live in. It offers the charm of a small town and the conveniences of any large city alike.
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As a side note, I do want you to know that my husband and I have rented a couple of studios during our earlier months in the country but we were lucky enough to be able to acquire a beautiful home in a different town, shortly after our move. We haven’t owned a car and we’ve brought along our two cats. This to tell you that we’ve explored and strongly considered each of the above-mentioned locations as wonderful options for our family to settle.