Kingpin's Amsterdam Lifestyle Guide
Amsterdam remains one of Europe's top cultural hotspots
Amsterdam is known as the “Venice of the North” due to its many beautiful canals. The capital is rich in history and home to many museums such as the Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk Museum and Van Gogh Museum. There is something for everyone in the city, Amsterdam boasts one of the best orchestras in the world and art museums are plentiful.
What is the local language?
Dutch remains the official language of the Netherlands though English is widely used in the capital city. With 24 of the top 25 companies in the global 500 headquartered in Amsterdam, the majority of residents can speak English fluently.
Travel in the city
As much as Amsterdam embraces its culture, it is big on healthy living. The city is known for bikes with there being over 800,000 in the city, four times the number of cars. If cycling isn’t for you then Amsterdam has an impressive underground, tram, train and bus system which will take you to wherever you would like to be. Use of these is made easy with a chip card which you can top up and use across all means of transport. One of the most enjoyable things to do in Amsterdam is to take a stroll. There are many guided walking tours offered in the city where you will very quickly appreciate your new home. Or even better, be a true Dutch and take a bike tour instead. The guides know the best spots, so it is the best way to become acquainted with Amsterdam and you will discover just how rich in culture and history it is.
There are a lot of social groups across the city to help you integrate with locals. Meetup.com has several communities in Amsterdam such as language cafes which will help you improve your Dutch skills and walking groups. And for the more relaxed tax professional, there are numerous coffee shops across the city for you to discover!
Searching for accommodation
Finding the perfect home in the city can be challenging and housing in Amsterdam can be relatively expensive due to high demand. It is recommended that you get an agent to find a suitable apartment for you:
Otherwise, websites such as Funda can aid your rental search. Other factors you may want to consider are the proximity to work, school, commercial areas and other places you will visit often. Parking availability and traffic in the area are also important influencers in deciding where to live.
Amsterdam South and Old South are two of the most popular areas for expats living in the city. You get the best of both worlds with both urban living and the quietness of living in a suburb. You can reach the city centre by tram in only 20 minutes and other attractions, such as the Amsterdam forest and the Rijksmuseum, are within walking distance. Motorways are easily accessible and there are no waiting lists for parking permits.
Amstelveen is also a popular area for internationals. Amsterdam city centre is a short tram ride away and this area is the home of Schiphol Airport which is the main international airport of the Netherlands. Furthermore, the International School of Amsterdam is also located here.
For more information on living in the city, IN Amsterdam supports companies and their highly skilled workers in their move here. From VISAS to workers permits and everything in between. They also offer a “My first month in Amsterdam” booklet for newcomers which offers expats a wealth of information including a range of frequently asked questions.
Are there any cultural practices to be aware of?
The Dutch are very direct and they make a lot of eye contact. For many internationals this can appear intimidating at first, but it is simply their manner of communicating. However, Amsterdammers are known to be welcoming and easy going. Plus, with roughly 13% of the workforce being expats you won’t feel out of place.
What are expatriates schooling options?
The Netherlands has a great reputation for schooling and in 2013 a study by Unicef revealed that Dutch children were found to be the happiest in the world. There are a number of international schools in Amsterdam such as The British School of Amsterdam and the International School of Amsterdam.
Alternatively, there is the option of your children attending public school. For more information regarding the education system and schools in Amsterdam, check out the I Amsterdam page on schooling. There is an association in the Netherlands called the Young Expat Services who specialise in assisting families relocating to the country. They offer packages to aid with the integration into a Dutch public school which include 10 weeks’ worth of Dutch lessons for the child.
To get a first-hand view on a new start in Amsterdam, here is a selection of notable expat blogs.
If you are interested in a move to Amsterdam or anywhere else in the world and would like to speak to Kingpin International about International Tax Opportunities, please contact a member of the team. Alternatively, please browse our current International Tax vacancies.