Cost of living in the Netherlands - 2017


Before moving to Netherlands, it is important to investigate the cost of living in the country.

As we did in 2015, we give you the opportunity to share your experience and tell us more about products and services average recorded prices in your town/city/area.

Don’t hesitate to let us know if the cost of living in the Netherlands has decreased or increased in the past few years.

Thanks to your help, would-be expatriates will have the opportunity to refine and better prepare their expatriation project.

> How much does it cost to rent an apartment/house in the Netherlands? 

> How much do you pay for your public transport tickets (bus, subway, train, tram)?

> Staple food: what do people eat and how much do they pay for basic food like bread, rice or pasta?

>What is your monthly grocery budget?

> How much does it cost to see a physician/doctor/specialist in the Netherlands ? 

> What is your children's schooling monthly budget?

> How much does it cost to fill up your car’s fuel tank?

> How much do you pay for electricity/gas/water etc.?

> How much do you pay for your Internet/phone subscription?

> How much do you pay for your lunch pack on weekdays?

> How much do you pay for an espresso coffee?

> How much do you pay for a cinema ticket?

> How much does a gym membership cost in the Netherlands? 

Thank you everyone!


After being in the Netherlands for one full year I feel that I made a big mistake by coming to work and live here because of the very high cost of living.
First of all , the hight percentage of income tax which is more than 40% in addition to rental cost and utilities and transport, i am left with peanut euros to pay for food. I  can not afford to go to a descent restaurant which will cost a fortune. After one year I was not able to save one euro.


I have not expose to pay many expanses myself since I move here 6 month ago.  My involvement is mainly on the daily consumer product which I would consider is still on everage cost.  You must willing to explore and have the update on which supermarket  offers the best price for your choice of product every week.  At the same time, there are a lots of farmers who sell their fresh product directly to the consumer with a good deal.  Of course such is only available when you are living in a small city or in the country side. 

Most of the outside activity inclusive eating cost is indeed not cheap.  A glass of fresh mint tea in Hema can cost you Euro 1.80 for example.  Now I am getting  used to carry a bottle of water or siruup in my handbag whenever I am outside as to avoid walking into a cafe oftenly.   I was so surprised when I need to pay Euro 10 as a entrance fee for a travel agency exhibition which normally free in my country.    And knowing that my partner have to pay incometax for 51% is also shocked me but I have no idea how it work so I would not elebrote more.


Being in Netherlands for more than a year now (as of Feb'17) this is my learning so far. Please be informed that these facts and figures could vary from person to person based on their lifestyle, income and city/town.

Our life in Den Haag was fairly nice compared to Leeuwarden where where we moved here 3 months back. Though I don't see much difference in 'cost of living', our style in purchasing and consuming products has changed to a great margin.

If I am to answer in the order, it would be like this:

* Real Estate: Renting a 2 bedroom apartment in Den Haag was around €1200 to 1500 excluding Electricity, Gas, water, water filtering, garbage and sewer taxes (!) depending on semi furnished to furnished apartments. Our landlord was a kind couple who accepted all repair and replacement works at the house, but you cannot expect the same from other landlords. In Leeuwarden our $h!tty landlord won't even fix the bathroom door but charges €950 per month including central heating but excluding Electrical, Gas, water, water filtering, garbage and sewer taxes (!).

*  Transport: Den Haag was perfect in terms of public transport and entertainment options. You have super punctual trams and buses almost everywhere. Where as in Leeuwarden it is 'not so punctual' but fair 'buses only' public transport. But the train station is great! It goes without saying, you HAVE TO own a bicycle for travelling 3 - 5 kms distance so you can save some money. Since we used trams and buses almost only for weekend outings, nearby getaways or some serious shopping we use to recharge our OV card for about €15 per month.

* Food expense: Now, this can totally differ from family to family (or a person to person) based on their ethnicity and lifestyle. Since we couldn't indulge ourselves in typical dutch meal (baked potatoes, veggies and meat? :) a polite pass with a big smile :D ) we had to rely on Turkish, Indian and Russian shops for rice, pulses, spices & other essentials. Amsterdam, Den Haag, Rotterdam, Utrecht , Zwolle and other bigger (or expat populated) towns has lot of these aforementioned shops to buy expatriate groceries of your choice. For a 3 person family you can expect anywhere between €150 to 200 including occasional pizza and subway treats ;)

* Medical: I never happened to visit a doctor yet for any serious illness so far and and definitely don't want to as their fees are pretty expensive. Especially the dental ones! Better watch what you eat, where you go and invest in some good winter gear!

* No idea about fuel charges, nor having an idea to own a vehicle.

* Power: Electricity & gas companies has a different collection system here. To give you a basic idea: You have to have the meter readings at the time you rent the house to register with the power company of your choice & they bill you for a year in advance (!) based on your meter reading numbers. Basically they look for 'average consumption' pattern to charge you. Now, if the previous tenant or owner was partying hard then your initial payment might burn a hole not just in your pocket but your entire pajama! But not to worry, they will give you the excess money back at the end of your contract, which is usually a year !!

* Internet & TV: One of the best perks you can enjoy in this lovely country. A basic internet/data plan with basic TV channels starts from €40  with good speed and unlimited data download. Some ISPs offer attractive data plans or electronic items as joining bonus. I got a decent size tablet for free! Mobile charges: I recharge for about €20 a month for 1000 free minutes and 1GB free data.

* Lunch: Get up early, cook and pack your lunch to work if you want to eat the next day. I mean it. Restaurants here are very expensive and the wheat bread or croissant will not be enough for your lunch if you plan to work for 12 hrs. Buying your groceries wholesale will save you enough money.

* Snacks and Beverages: Not a fan of the dutch black coffee but totally in love with the quality they offer! A basic cappuccino or a black coffee can vary anywhere between €1.50, 4.50 and even €9.50 depending on how big and bright their outlet is. I would prefer a 'on the go' outlets at train stations than a fancy restaurant.

* Fitness: Gym and swimming pools in Netherlands are great. They are fairly hygienic and well maintained. A friend of mine joined a swimming class for €60 for 3 months and paid relatively the same  amount for Gym. But it may vary from town to town.

Wrap up: Overall, Holland is not a poor man's country. If you want to live here then you better get a decent wage job and try to settle down in a less crowded city/town so your everyday expenses will be manageable. Go fishing for ultra cheap grocery, utility and stationary stores every now and then. Trust me, on a longer run they will save you a great deal of money and will make you life a little easier. Shops like Action, trekpleister and similar kinds often come up with discounts/offer and combos. I actively monitor them by their free advertisement subscriptions. Thrift shops and weekend markets are your best bet.

Do not buy new household or furniture. Try the second hand shops first. From decent condition mattress to a working condition oven they have something for everyone. Few companies offer kitchenware (fridge, washing machine and oven) for rent as low as €6 to €30 PM depending on the size of it. The dutch has a commendable habit of keeping the furniture/household they no longer want outside their house so that the needy can make use of it! So scan your neighborhood every first week of every month for free stuff !!! Websites like Markplats are a great place to find what you need.

Last but not least: In a country that has heavy tax laws; If you ain't thrifty you ain't gonna survive.


being in Netherlands for almost 11 years now. In Den haag life is fair compaired to other cities.
generally food is not an issue in Nethrlands but eating in restaurant is expensie.transport cost better to have abonamment if you transport everyday  this is a monthy paybill and a cheapest way that buying a daily ticket.compared to last 2 years i think the cost of living is still the same.
minimum price for appartment is 800euros in Den Haag .

We still pay some more even we are not renting a house (depends on the sq m), pay for different insurances, for garbage collection (depends on the weight) is few cents.. If you throw your garbage at the garbage site, you also have to pay for that per kilo.

Dog owners, you have to pay dog taxes in the city hall, the cost depends on your city hall.

For our bus diesel monthly is  80-100 euro, not travelling far, only work and nearby stores less than 30km. Parking is expensive, try find a spot where it is free. It is okay to walk 10 minutes back to the shopping center for us than to pay 10 euro for parking. Parking per hour average 1.15 euro. You forgot to register your parking, then you pay about 60 euro penalty. Penalties here are high.

Dutch people eat boterham or bread breakfast and lunch. They only eat warm in the evening.  I'm Asian so I eat twice a day rice (I try to make it less to save) and 5 kilos of rice in the store is about 5 euros.

Monthly grocery budget plays around 180-230 euro for two persons (included the dog food and chicken feeds).

You do not pay your family doctor because your insurance does it for you. Basic health insurance is about 70 euro? but if you have other needs like for dental care, it can blow up to 120 euro, even more if you are expecting a baby, has eye care, therapies. Depends on your health insurance, you have a small percentage to pay when you get hospitalized.

Electricity is not cheap even they got so many windmills. I do washing every weekend because they say energy is cheaper in the weekend and late nights. :)

Internet depends on the package, there is a contract about less than 20 euro a month. The movies I see in my subscription are always old movies. Bah! It's like pay more if you like more.

Coffee about 1.50-3.00 euro. Cola 2- to 4- euro. Beer is 3- to 4.50 euro.

Dinner out, about 15- to 25- euro for meat with fries per person. They also order first appetizer which is about 10 euro -15.  (fuel, parking, dinner = too much so we do not do it often). Easy 100 euro gone in a single night.
Snacks like frikandel, fries, bitterballen, kroket - they got many of them and budget for that is from 1 euro.

Cinema ticket is 8- to 9- euro depends on the movie. Average we go to cinema, 3-4 times a year.We got enough movies on TV and USB.

I reside in the Middle Limburg for 1 and a half year. In my opinion, if you are earning minimum, it is enough for yourself, not enough to spoil yourself. Maybe no sports memberships, less travels and less hobby. If you are two in the house, it is better that both have work so you can also have extra for vacation and hobbies.

We dont pay for gabbage in Den Haag .luck this city cost of Living is very Law compared To middenburg manicipal .

Thank you for your information!! Really useful for me!!

Thank you for your opinion!! It's also really useful!

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