Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, or the fields of flowers in between — expats can’t go wrong when choosing where to live in the Netherlands. All areas offer something unique, and although Dutch culture does vary from one location to the next — slow and steady with the utmost efficiency is how the Netherlands and its occupants operate.
The country is peppered in history reflecting both bright and darker days of the past. Museums are aplenty throughout, from the renowned Van Gogh Museum and the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam, to Rijksmuseum in The Hague and a slew of others memorializing history and the Dutch fondness of art and fashion.
The capital Amsterdam is a city unlike any other — iconic narrow towering houses line the canals. Bicycles largely replace cars. People are seen constantly in motion and well-fed cats bask in windowsills. Duck into a mouthwatering cheese or pastry shop on almost any city block. Careful not to break your wallet on the cherished antiques and jewelry sparkling from storefronts on Nieuwe Spiegelstraat! Tourists flock here to enjoy legalized marijuana and edibles in local “coffeeshops” since the 90’s. Vibing in a greenspace on a trip of magic truffles is a favorite pastime for some. Similarly, the famous Red Light District is a bewildering must-see for tourists — evidence of the progressive attitude of the Dutch who set the world pace on not only the legalization of prostitution, but also marijuana and gay marriage.
Slightly over an hour by train from Amsterdam, arrive at The Hague — the hotspot for diplomats and peacemakers. Home to the United Nations’ International Court of Justice and Permanent Court of Arbitration, a coveted intern or employment destination for those in this arena. Visit here for an international conference and fall in love with the Gothic-style architecture mixed with a modern style skyline in this city where new meets old.
Rotterdam is favored by those looking for more affordable home prices in vibrant neighborhoods. Home to Europe's largest port, the city serves as a logistical and economical center for industries (and spies). The upbeat personality of Rotterdam is inspiring and young!
The Netherlands is known for an excellent work-life balance and orderliness, and the country recruits around 50,000 lucky foreigners per year to enter its workforce. The high taxes paid here are well-reflected in all aspects of infrastructure, cleanliness, health care, education and tap water. Most expats benefit from the country’s 30% ruling of being taxed on only 70% of their salaries for the first 5 years. The Dutch are highly educated and tend to go straight through Master’s studies, so if you’re looking for employment expect the bar to be set here.
Stand on a chair and peer across the entire country — the Netherlands is completely flat! Ideal terrain for bicycling, but may be less desirable for hiking enthusiasts. The mostly mild year-round weather could be construed as gloomy with high precipitation. Still, the Netherlands offers the perfect groove and balance many seek.
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