Why Everyone Ought to Consider Living in Amsterdam

There are few cities as beautiful as Amsterdam. With canals criss-crossed by stone and steel bridges, Medieval churches and gabled houses sitting next to market squares and repurposed Victorian gasworks, it’s one of the most charming towns in all of Europe. But while Amsterdam has plenty of fine scenery, its true attractions run deeper. It's a safe, friendly, and tolerant community, with a rich, diverse culture underpinned by a strong economy and healthy lifestyle. If you’ve never thought of living in Amsterdam, here are a few reasons you ought to consider it.

Excellent Quality of Life

People in Amsterdam aren’t just taller than everyone; they’re happier too, thanks to a unique combination of factors that promote the well-being of its citizens.

  • Short Work Weeks. The Dutch believe strongly in work-life balance. Most jobs offer flexible schedules and it’s unusual to spend more than 40 hours a week at the office. The emphasis on free time allows Dutch employees to devote more energy to hobbies and pastimes, not to mention family and friends.
  • Low Crime. Amsterdam police officers are friendly, helpful, and responsive. Thanks to their efforts, the city has few instances of major crime and most people feel safe walking the streets at any hour of the day or night.
  • Accessible Medical Care. The Netherlands has one of the best national health systems in the world. They provide effective, coordinated, patient-centered care and are open to everyone, regardless of income or country of origin.
  • Efficient Transportation. Amsterdam contains an impressive network of metros, buses, trams, ferries, and trains linking its historic core and outlying neighborhoods. However, most residents prefer to ride their bicycles. Bicycles are not only efficient; the city’s extensive bike paths and bike share programs make it easy to avoid congestion while providing residents with a fun and convenient way to stay active.
  • Strong Education. Dutch schools are some of the best in the world. They not only provide a strong foundation in math and science, they also work hard to support foreign students. There are online resources for parents, to help them select an appropriate school, and academic programs to help their children adjust to the language and culture. There are also several prestigious international schools in the area, which offer courses in English and follow curricula from the United States.

Work Opportunities

The Netherlands is a small country with a powerful economy. For multinationals, its strategic location, digital connections, high-speed infrastructure, and multilingual workforce have made it a popular gateway into the European market. Amsterdam’s competitive business environment has attracted investment from a number of high-profile corporations, such as Shell, Deloitte, Nike, TomTom, Tesla, Cisco, Salesforce, IBM, Oracle, Heineken, Unilever, Liberty Global, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, and Stellantis, one of the largest automotive companies in the world.

Amsterdam’s ability to attract global talent has also made it a desirable location for startups. There are over 280 Venture Capital Funds in the city, as well as government initiatives and tax incentives to help foster growth in the technology and creative industries. Private-public partnerships between research universities, state agencies, and business leaders have even led to new applications of agrifood, financial services, and quantum technology.

Key to this successful economy is the city’s diverse labor pool, made up of people from more than 180 countries. To encourage more foreign workers, the Netherlands has set up support networks to help new arrivals settle into the country. Expat Centers assist with basic bureaucratic formalities, such as registering with the Municipal Basic Administration System, obtaining a social security number, acquiring a residence permit, and opening a bank account. They even have information on local daycare centers.

Friendly and Welcoming Culture

Amsterdam is a magnet for people of all backgrounds and lifestyles. Its diverse, cultural mix has been one of the city’s defining features for at least the past 400 years. Government policy is built around the principle of inclusion: the idea that everyone living in Amsterdam ought to be free to participate in civic culture and express themselves however they please, without fear of judgment, regardless of their race, religion, nationality, sexuality, or gender.

English Proficiency

Thanks to its historic ties to Great Britain, almost everyone in Amsterdam speaks English. While other cities use English exclusively in the workplace, to facilitate communication between foreign and native-born workers, in Amsterdam it’s also spoken widely all over town. Americans are often surprised at how easy it is to assimilate into Dutch culture, in part due to their shared language.

Flourishing Art Scene

Amsterdam’s artistic community stretches back over four centuries, to the late 16th century. The city is home to some of the world’s leading museums, which celebrate the work of the old Dutch masters, as well as some of the leading painters, sculptors, and designers working today.

  • Rijksmuseum. The largest museum in the Netherlands, with an extensive collection of pieces dating all the way back to the Renaissance, including works by Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Frans Hals, such as The Night Watch, The Milkmaid, and The Laughing Cavalier.
  • Van Gogh Museum. An in-depth exploration of the life and work of Vincent Van Gogh. The museum's permanent gallery features some of his most celebrated masterpieces, including The Potato Eaters, Sunflowers, and Wheatfield with a Reaper, as well as his letters and self-portraits.
  • Stedelijk Museum. A showcase for modern artwork, with paintings, sculptures, photography, and multimedia exhibits from both established and emerging artists. By touring their galleries, visitors are immersed in some of the most influential movements of the past 150 years, such as De Stijl, Pop Art, and Abstract Expressionism.
  • Foam Fotografiemuseum. Promotes photography in all its various forms and expressions, including art photography, documentary photography, and experimental photography. The museum serves as a platform for young artists, giving voice to talented creators from the Netherlands and around the world.
  • EYE Filmmuseum. A museum and exhibit space dedicated to cinematography and film history. It not only screens a wide range of modern and classic movies, but contains an extensive collection of posters, photographs, and film memorabilia that bring the history of the silver screen to life.
  • W139. Amsterdam’s leading production and presentation space for contemporary art, run entirely by artists. Its shows elevate creators interested in pushing boundaries and shining a light on modern society.

Festivals and Events

There is always something going on in Amsterdam. The city hosts over 300 public festivals a year, celebrating its art, food, culture, and community. While smaller events focus on particular interests, the larger ones galvanize the entire city. No one living in Amsterdam would dream of missing:

  • King’s Day. One of the biggest and rowdiest parties in the city, held every year on April 27, in honor of the king’s birthday. Canals, bridges, and squares are filled with revelers dressed in orange, the royal color. Boat parties cruise up and down the waterways while parades and music fill the streets.
  • Amsterdam Light Festival. Winter nights are long, especially in Amsterdam. To help brighten the mood during December and January, the city invites designers to set up illuminated art installations ‒ enchanting displays of light and color that turn its canals into arresting visual spectacles.
  • National Tulip Day. On the third Saturday in January, Dam Square, the largest public space in Amsterdam, is turned into a massive garden, a sea of red, purple, pink, yellow, orange, and white. Tulips are the Netherlands’ national flower and the city celebrates them in style. Every visitor receives a free bouquet!
  • Amsterdam Dance Event. The biggest electronic music festival in the world, created to promote future generations of music professionals and artists. With panels, labs, and concerts held all over the city, it is the flagship event for partygoers and aspiring DJs looking to experience the full spectrum of electronic jams and subgenres.

Moving to Amsterdam

Whether you’re heading to a new country or a new continent, North American Moving Services has the resources, staff, and experience to get you there safely. Our agent network operates in over 130 countries, providing on-the-ground support for households at every step. Besides getting you packed, we also help navigate customs and shipping logistics, ensuring your move runs as smoothly as possible. Contact us today for a free quote!

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