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Cost of living in the Netherlands in 2024


It’s been over a year since I set foot in The Netherlands. Today, I want to discuss the costs of living in this amazing country. Is life here as pricey as it's often made out to be? Let’s dive into the answer, but first, a quick disclaimer.

This is my personal experience and your costs may vary a lot. Life in any country can be as expensive or as cheap as you make it. It always depends on many factors and it’s always different from person to person. Here, I’m just sharing my experience that can give you an idea of what to expect. A few inputs.

We’re a family of two without kids or pets (hopefully the last one will change soon 🐶). I consider ourselves a frugal couple but we also don’t go to extremes for savings. Most of our hobbies require little to no money at all and we’re quite content with our lifestyles. Most of our time we lived in The Hague but recently moved to Zwolle.

Now, let’s dive into the numbers.

Just in case you prefer video content to reading, I've made a video covering the cost of living in the Netherlands:


Rent is a significant part of our monthly expenses. This category strictly depends on the area of rent. In general, rent is quite expensive here in the Netherlands, and in 2023 the housing crisis is at its peak. However, the location still has the biggest impact on the rent price. The highest rent is, of course, in the biggest cities inside the Randstad area. Amsterdam, Leiden, and Utrecht are considered the most expensive cities here, including some of Amsterdam's satellite cities like Haarlem. They are followed by slightly cheaper but still expensive cities like Rotterdam, The Hague, Eindhoven, Maastricht, and Breda. Lastly, there are many more cities with slightly cheaper rent, depending on the location and proximity to the main cities.

In The Hague, in 2022, we paid €1670 per month for a 72m² apartment in a very nice area near the beach. It was quite an expensive area despite being far from the city centre (about 30 minutes by bike). But we really liked living near the sea, so it was worth it.

In 2023, we left the apartment when we bought our house, but I know that rent went up even more to €1850 for the same apartment.

In smaller cities, I have seen listings for as low as €1000 per month, but I doubt you can find anything cheaper than this in the country for a private space. Renting a room could be an option if you have a smaller budget.

Also, some municipalities have programs like affordable housing (Den Haag has this program, for example). In case your income is lower than a certain amount, you can apply for specific subsets of apartments that aren’t available for people with higher incomes. It’s definitely worth looking into.

For more detailed information on renting in the Netherlands, check out my comprehensive guide on renting.

Our rental apartment


Another significant topic of conversation here is the cost of utilities, especially gas. Due to the global situation, gas prices have increased quite a lot in recent years, and you can receive a substantial invoice if you’re not particularly careful with your heating in winter time.

For our rental apartment, we have the same provider for gas and electricity, and we paid a predetermined fee of €250 per month. But this is not the actual price of our usage. In the Netherlands, the recalculation of the costs happens once a year. If you actually used less than you paid for, you get a refund, and if you used more, they charge you to the difference.

We overpaid by quite a bit - around €1500. After a certain time (around 9 months), you can also adjust monthly payments if you have already paid more, and we set monthly payments to just €40. We have been using more than this but since we already overpaid it was used as compensation. At the end of our contract, we also got around €820 back.

I checked the invoices for the year and eventually we paid around €90 per month for gas and electricity.

Last year there was also a nice bonus from the Dutch government. Because the prices were so high for a while, they sent everyone €380 as a kind of “sorry that the prices are so high”. It was a very nice surprise. The prices went down since then, by the way, but they are dynamic and constantly changing, even depending on the season, so they can go up this winter again.

Another utility is water, but it’s relatively cheap and we paid €18 per month contract price and I think even got a few dozen euros back.

Eating Out and Drinking Out

Eating and drinking out is extremely expensive in the Netherlands. I immediately realized that if I want to save money here, I need to cut this down to a minimum. It was hard at first, especially because I lived for so long in cheap countries where I ate out twice a day. But then I got used to it and it’s actually quite nice to eat home-cooked food. And I bought a coffee machine to stop buying coffee at the cafes.

Even at very cheap restaurants, a meal could easily cost €10-15 without a drink. It grows exponentially as you go to better quality places. Coffee costs around €4 for an americano so if you’re a coffee lover it can add up a lot as well.

For the last 18 months, on average we spent around €350 as a couple, meaning it’s about €175 for one person per month. Keep in mind, it also includes eat-outs from our travels so it’s not all from the Netherlands, but the majority is.



Grocery prices are a bit more expensive than I’m used to but I’d say it’s not critically different from other countries. I noticed that usually locally produced products are a bit cheaper and imported stuff is a bit more expensive so each region in the world has both. It’s hard to find very cheap fruits here but in South East Asia it’s hard to find proper and cheap cheese and there are a lot of good cheese in Holland.

We usually buy everything on promotion and participate in many different store programs at Albert Heijn, which is our absolute favorite store not only in the Netherlands but ever. It’s not the cheapest one here but with all the promotions, we get pretty close to cheap chains.

On average we spend around €380 / month on groceries which comes down to €190 per person.


Transportation is considerably expensive in the Netherlands. It doesn’t matter whether we’re talking about personal transportation like cars and trains, or public transportation. But of course there is one big deal that can save you a lot of money on transportation - bikes! The Netherlands has the best bike lane system in the world and I couldn’t have even imagined before coming here, how great it is. You can set a route from point A to point B and there will be a bike route on that path with a 100% guarantee.

To make it even more convenient and travel even longer distances, we bought ourselves e-bikes that can go up to 25km/h and travel for 60-80km on one charge. It’s a truly amazing country if you like biking.

eBike in The Hague

I don’t remember the last time I needed to use public transportation within the city because I bike all the time. But even if you need one, the public transportation system here is really good too. You have buses and trams within the city and the train system is amazing between the cities. You can usually get to any big city from another very quickly. Of course, the Netherlands is a small country so it helps.

But as I already mentioned, it’s usually not a cheap ride. As an example, a train from The Hague to the Airport costs around €10 and takes 30 minutes on a fast train.

The main train company is called NS (short for Nederlandse Spoorwegen) with a few smaller companies for additional routes here and there. Make sure to check their discount and subscription systems as well, it can save you a lot of money.

Buses and trams costs depend on the distance but sometimes the calculation is not very obvious. I once took a tram for a short trip of 7 minutes and it cost me €1.50. But then I took a bus from our apartment to the City Center (around 30 minutes) and it cost me €2.50.

On average we are spending €150 / month for transportation, or €75 per person.

Tram station in The Hague

Internet and Phone Plans

Fiber connections are quite common here at home so the quality of the Internet is pretty good. I’ve also never had issues with mobile connections. You can have 5G almost everywhere, even in rural areas. In The Hague, we used Ziggo Internet and now after buying a house we switched to T-Mobile (They actually rebranded now as Odido]( I cannot recommend Ziggo so if you have a chance to pick any other provider, do it.

When you have a new address, you usually can get a pretty nice discount for the first year or two. We are currently paying €25 / month for 400Mbit/s fiber optic. I think the regular price is €40 / month and it'll automatically switch to this price after one year.

Mobile connection, we both have is Tele-2 (They’re now also part of Odido) and we pay €14 / month each for 10Gb of traffic. You usually also get some additional GB or discount if you have the same provider at home and for your mobile. It gave us additional €5 discount for the home Internet and additional 5Gb of traffic for mobile.

If you need more data, I think unlimited plans cost around €25 / month. I don’t use it much so even 15Gb is overkill for me. All plans also include 200 minutes of calls and SMS. To be honest I didn’t remember when I used regular calls last time but it’s included in all plans so you can’t opt out.

A few useful links:

  • At this website you can compare Internet and TV providers at your address. I also recommend ordering the service via them, you’ll get some additional bonuses like cash back. The website is totally legit and I always ordered via them.
  • Similar website for comparing mobile plans.


It’s mandatory to have health insurance here in the Netherlands and after the arrival for the first time, you have 4 months to arrange it for yourself or you’ll get a fine.

Insurance price goes up year after year but for 2023, we both pay €141 / month for the basic insurance and a few additional packages: basic dental coverage for up to €250 and health insurance abroad. Abroad package is really cheap and costs additional few euros but dental adds around €20-25 to the price.

In 2022, the same insurance package costs us €124 so it goes up quite a bit. I’ll update the post once they publish the 2024 plans as well.

This website is amazing for comparing insurances and they can give you some additional small coverage if you order via them. I always do this.

So for two people we spend €282 / month on health insurance.

If you are looking for a great insurace for digital nomads and travelers, check out SafetyWing:


It’s one of the categories that you should take with a grain of salt. It’s very personal and can be as low as €0 and as high as thousands of euros per month if you really like to go places. Most of our spendings contain video games, concerts, and board games. Maybe some occasional museum or other attractions but it’s rather rare. This category also excludes any travel we have.

On average, we spend *around €100-€150 / month on different types of entertainment**.

Camping in The Netherlands

What I Excluded


There is no separate travel category in this article at all because it’s an absolutely unpredictable expense. It could be €0 for months in a row and then some expensive trip will happen. But I want to give you a brief review about travel costs as well.

In general, traveling in Europe could be cheap on planes (although it’s not as cheap as it used to be) but more expensive on the trains. I prefer train travel so I usually pay a bit more. I just can’t stand the hustle of the airports unless I absolutely have to go through it.

Some train destinations could be cheaper than others. For example, there is a fixed price to travel to Belgium from the Netherlands and it’s always €24 if you manage to catch the cheapest train. Traveling to Western Germany is also not expensive. You can find trains to Cologne, Dusseldorf, Dortmund, or even Hamburg for less than €50 euro one way. Same goes for Northern France like Lille. But some places could be very expensive like London or Paris. Trains there usually cost €100 or €150 per trip.

Accommodation in Western Europe can be quite expensive too. We usually book the cheapest hotel we can find but it always costs us around €100 per night stay.

Other Expenses

There are a few more categories that I don’t think matter for the general purposes of this article. This includes any of my business expenses, subscription expenses, charities, gifts, parents support and also legal and document fees. The latter was mostly happening when we were moving to Holland and not much afterwards. I’ve also excluded shopping because it’s not directly related to the Netherlands and it varies a lot.


So let’s get into the total numbers!

For two expat people living in the Netherlands we spend around €3125 per month.

This number is based on the rent price. Currently we purchased a house and it’s a topic for a separate blog post. So I figured I give you a number with rent for now, especially because it’s more useful for expats who’re only arriving in the country.

I also calculated the number for one person (not all the costs can be cut down in half) and I got €2455 for a single. The price is very high because I use the same rent price. But maybe for one person you can actually get a smaller place or even a room so it’ll be lower.

Don’t forget to add your regular travel or shopping expenses to the number and you’ll get a picture. The number is still very subjective but I hope it’ll give you some idea.

Cost of Living in Other European Cities

To make it a bit more useful I’ve also decided to make a small comparison with the cities in Europe. I used which is probably the best place for cost of living and first I filled our situation in their estimator.

Numbeo estimator configuration

It gave me €2840 per month for two people living in The Hague. Which is a bit cheaper than we’re spending. But this way we can compare apples to apples and I use the same settings to other cities and here's what I got:

  • Den Haag 🇳🇱 - €2840
  • Valencia 🇪🇸 - €2054
  • Tallin 🇪🇪 - €2147
  • Warsaw 🇵🇱 - €2288
  • Lisbon 🇵🇹 - €2684
  • Barcelona 🇪🇸 - €2733
  • Helsinki 🇫🇮 - €2753
  • Vienna 🇦🇹 - €2837
  • Berlin 🇩🇪 - €3388
  • Prague 🇨🇿 - €3409
  • Milan 🇮🇹 - €3539
  • Munich 🇩🇪 - €3647
  • Amsterdam 🇳🇱 - €3649
  • Paris 🇫🇷 - €3740
  • Copenhagen 🇩🇰 - €3790
  • London 🇬🇧 - €4781

These are actually pretty interesting results for me because it seems like the Netherlands (outside of Amsterdam) is not as expensive as many people think if we compare it to other (especially large) cities in Europe. It’s still not cheap of course. But considering that Holland has quite high salaries compared to other EU cities, it makes it a nice balance.