The Ultimate Guide To Moving To Amsterdam
I have now been living in Amsterdam for nearly 4 months, it’s completely taken me by surprise.
To commemorate this occasion I thought it was apt to write a post about how to nail moving to Amsterdam! As one of the biggest expat cities in the world, it can be quite difficult getting your head around all things you have to do when you arrive. So here is a list to help you keep calm and know that if I can do it, then you can definitely do it.
I had a hotel booked for when I arrived in Amsterdam, you could either book a hotel, Airbnb or if you’re lucky, stay with a friend. Leave some time to go house hunting before you start your job or job hunt. I scoured Kamernet and Facebook groups for the right type of accommodation – I put a post on one Facebook group and admittedly got some very strange offers… However, there was one great thing that came out of it. A girl messaged me that she was moving a week after me and long behold we have become the best of friends.
Kamernet is the best for house hunting – you can pay €19 for 2 weeks or €30 for one month. I viewed 2 places and ended up moving into the first one I viewed, so in that sense, I was very lucky. I would have some house viewings in place before you arrive in Amsterdam so you’re not wasting any time.
A BSN (burgerservicenummer) is basically the equivalent of the UK’s National Insurance Number. It allows you to live and work in the Netherlands if you are staying for over 4 months. You will need a BSN number to do everything from opening a bank account to getting paid. However, it’s only once you have your house and your rent contract has been signed that it’s time to get a BSN number.
One thing I wish I had done was booked an appointment for my BSN when I first arrived in Amsterdam. This is because once I had moved into my new place it took me another 2 weeks to actually get the appointment and then an extra 5 days on top of that for the BSN number to arrive. You can call and make an appointment to register at the Amsterdam City Hall. All I needed to take with me was my rent contract, passport and birth certificate.
Opening a Bank Account
The two big banking contenders for expats in the Netherlands would be ABN Amro or ING. Personally, I am with ING and think they’re great. You might have read that ABN offers their mobile banking app in English and ING doesn’t, however that is not true! The ING app is amazing as it allows you to schedule payments and even pay for things online through their scanner. Mind-blowing. One thing which is worth mentioning is that you need to have a Dutch mobile number to open with ING, I simply bought a cheap one from a gift shop.
To be honest, for me all banks do the same job so whichever you decide to go with will be fine.
In the Netherlands, it is a legal requirement to have basic health insurance. I used UnitedConsumers health insurance and got the cheapest possible one, which probably wasn’t the best idea… Nevertheless, get a health insurance that suits your needs! You have around 3 months to get health insurance until they send you a hefty bill.
It’s worth noting that if you earn under a certain amount then you can receive healthcare allowance from the government, who can help by paying a certain amount towards your health insurance.
Getting around Amsterdam can be very expensive on trams so the best thing to do would be to get a bike. I know people who have put off getting a bike because it can be quite scary. But there is no way you could go on living in Amsterdam without a bike and why would you want to?! Once you get the hang of it you get to see the best of Amsterdam.
I would also recommend getting an OV Chipkaart (for those drunk times when you can’t get on your bike). It is a contactless card system which you can use on trams, buses and trains. You can order a personalised chipkaart online or pick one up an anonymous one for €7,50 at Amsterdam Centraal Station.
Thank you for reading! If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment or check out my Amsterdam bucket list for fun things to do when you arrive.