The Best Cities to Immigrate to the Netherlands

There are several cities to select from if you're immigrating to the Netherlands. Learn about some of the best locations before moving.

The Best Cities to Immigrate to the Netherlands

The Netherlands is one of the most developed and wealthy European countries, between Germany and Belgium. There are optimal conditions for comfortable living, professional activities, and education. Thousands of foreigners seek to find jobs in local companies and universities or to start their businesses in the Netherlands.

The Netherlands is a fantastic choice for ex-pats and travelers alike due to its friendly people and high English fluency. Some cities are more forgiving than others, though, and have different lifestyles to offer. The country also has options for everyone, from families to job-seekers to those searching for an adventure.

While in other countries, where you choose to live is often dictated by where you work, the Netherlands is a pretty small country and has excellent public transport connections. This makes it possible, and very common, to live in one city or village and work in another. So, where is the right place for you to live in the Netherlands? Here’s a full breakdown of the Dutch cities that attract the most people from abroad.

The Best Cities in the Netherlands

The Netherlands' capital city of Amsterdam is frequently the first place people consider relocating. While Amsterdam is undoubtedly one of the top Dutch towns for ex-pats, there are a lot of other fantastic locations to consider. Living in one city and commuting to another for work is normal in this tiny country with good road networks and public transportation systems.

It's helpful to think about your lifestyle and the things necessary to you when choosing a place to live, such as the cost of living, the accessibility of amenities like schools, and the presence of relevant employment opportunities. If you are trying to decide on a Dutch city to live in, check out the list below.


It is simple to understand why so many individuals prefer to relocate to Amsterdam, given its charming canal houses, energetic environment, and diverse community. The capital is a cosmopolitan metropolis home to ex-pats from over 180 countries. Amsterdam offers various cultural activities and world-class institutions like the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum.

By population, Amsterdam is the biggest city in the Netherlands, with 905,234 residents as of 2021. Despite its vast population, it's not challenging to discover more peaceful neighborhoods to reside in. The city boasts an incredible 30 parks, and whether you're looking for canals, lakes, or even beaches, you're never too far from the water.

In Amsterdam, there are seven separate districts, each with unique characteristics. Centrum is a good option if you want the ease of living in the center, as are several West, Oost, and Zuid areas. However, if you want to live in these places, be prepared to pay premium costs and contend with fierce competition. Amsterdam is presently the most costly city in Europe for renting. Nieuwe-West, Zuid-Oost, and Noord, a little distant from the city center, occasionally feature more reasonably priced apartments.


After Amsterdam, Rotterdam is the second-largest city in the Netherlands. In contrast to most Dutch cities, Rotterdam is renowned for its striking modern architecture that was constructed after the Second World War destroyed most of the city. Rotterdam is a vibrant, multiethnic city with many cultural offerings. Many of the city's well-known attractions symbolize its distinctive urban design. These include the Market Hall, the Erasmus Bridge, and the Cube Houses. It is also worthwhile to take a boat tour of the Europoort harbor, which is Europe's largest port, given the importance of Rotterdam's marine sector on a global scale.

The Hague is a seaport city that provides a distinctive fusion of access to stunning natural surroundings and contemporary cityscapes. The International Court of Justice of the United Nations, the royal family, and the seat of the Dutch government are all located there. The Hague is home to numerous embassies and foreign institutions, making it a thriving cosmopolitan center. The city's population has a "migration background" of 57%.


The Hague is the third-largest city in the Netherlands, with around 550,000 residents as of 2021. While it’s quieter than Amsterdam, there’s still enough to see and do in the city. The Mauritshuis, the Binnenhof, and Scheveningen Beach, one of the most well-known seaside resorts in the Netherlands, are just a few notable attractions. The Hague has 44 neighborhoods and eight city districts; Centrum is the largest of these. Zeeheldenkwartier, Statenkwartier, and Achipelbuurt are a few of the most well-liked areas for foreigners. The cost of living in The Hague is often lower than in Amsterdam and Utrecht, although the housing market is pricey and competitive.


Utrecht is one of the Netherlands' oldest cities, frequently referred to as "little Amsterdam." Given its lovely canals that wrap around the old center, it is simple to understand why. The city is situated in the middle of the Dutch mainland and has excellent transportation connections to many major towns, including Amsterdam, The Hague, and Rotterdam. The Dom Tower (Domtoren), the tallest cathedral tower in the Netherlands, and the city's historic center's Oudegracht canal are a few of Utrecht's must-see attractions. One of the largest concert venues in the Netherlands, the TivoliVredenburg, hosts performances by well-known musicians for music fans.

Utrecht was placed the second most popular city in the Netherlands for living. It's also the second-most expensive area in the nation to live in, but housing is more reasonably priced beyond the historic district. Oost, Hoograven, Lombok, and Wittevrouwen are some excellent areas. Leidsche Rijn, a more recent and reasonably priced suburb outside of the city, is close to the outdoors. Several smaller towns with a large ex-pat population can be found in the larger province of Utrecht, including Amersfoort.


The Netherlands' northwest region includes the small, historically significant city of Haarlem, conveniently accessible to Amsterdam. Its picturesque cobblestone streets, historic structures, and winding rivers are considered one of the Netherlands' most attractive cities. Haarlem, a city with a long history, has many striking sites and fascinating museums. These include the Teylers Museum, the oldest museum in the nation, and the Frans Hals Museum.

With its convenient location near the capital and the coast, Haarlem is becoming a more well-liked choice for ex-pats. High housing costs are a given when something is popular. However, given Haarlem's small size, it's crucial to examine residential areas outside the city's core. Along with the more upscale Koninginnebuurt and Kleverparkbuurt, expat-friendly neighborhoods include Oude Amsterdamsebuurt, Kleine Hout, and Leidsevaartbuurt. You might appreciate living in one of Haarlem's suburbs, such as Bloemendaal, Heemstede, or Overveen if you prefer to be near the ocean.


A charming university town called Leiden may be found in the center of the Randstad area. The oldest university in the nation is located there, which is why it is referred to as the knowledge epicenter of the Netherlands. Thanks to its sizable student and immigrant population, Leiden is a small and tight city that is humming with life. Leiden, a city with a rich cultural legacy, features at least 13 museums, including the Naturalis Biodiversity Center and the Museum de Lakenhal. There are excellent public transport connections from the city to Rotterdam, the Hague, and Amsterdam.

Affordable housing in the city center is difficult to find because of the yearly inflow of students. Professorenwijk, Tuinstadwijk, and Lage Mors are well-known areas close to the city. Merenwijk and Stevenshof, two more recent areas farther from the city center, are ideal for families.


The central city in the north of the Netherlands is Groningen, sometimes known as the "Martinistad" because of the Martinitoren, a notable tower from the thirteenth century. Even though Groningen is in one of the quieter northern regions of the Netherlands, there is still a lot to do there. Groningen boasts a bustling city center and thriving arts and entertainment scene, partly because of its sizable student population. Furthermore, according to studies from the European Commission, Groningen routinely ranks as one of the happiest towns in Europe. They consider healthcare, education, and quality of life in their studies.

Groningen's housing costs are much lower than those in Randstad, despite its greater distance from Schiphol Airport and other large cities. Groningen's rent is about 53% less expensive than Amsterdam's. Near Noorderplantsoen park, Schilderswijk and Zeeheldenbuurt are well-liked areas for foreigners and students. Other appealing places are Rivierenbuurt and the alternate Oosterport district.


The capital of Limburg and a historical city south of the Netherlands is Maastricht. Maastricht, a city with picturesque riverfront vistas, ancient buildings, and cobblestone lanes, is situated on the banks of the Meuse River. Due to its proximity to Germany and Belgium, it also has a distinctively cosmopolitan vibe.

Maastricht has the second-highest concentration of national heritage sites in the Netherlands behind Amsterdam. This comprises the oldest bridge in the Netherlands, the Sint Servaasbrug, and one of the oldest churches, the Sint Servaasbasiliek. It is sometimes referred to as the carnival capital of the Netherlands since it annually hosts one of Europe's biggest and most extravagant carnivals.

On the eastern bank of the Meuse River, in Wyck and Céramique, near the city's core, there are a lot of foreign residents. The northwest of the city's Boschstraatkwartier, Bosscherveld, and Lanakerveld are also popular neighborhoods. In the south, adjacent to some of the city's most distinctive landmarks, is the well-liked green residential neighborhood of Sint Pieter. These include Mount Saint Peter, the Hoeve Lichtenberg castle ruins, and the Zonneberg Caves.


In the southern Netherlands, in the province of North Brabant, sits the city of Eindhoven. Many more high-tech businesses, including the electronics giant Philips, were founded there. Since then, Eindhoven has earned a reputation as a center for technology and design, even earning the nickname "Silicon Valley of the Netherlands."

According to the University of Groningen, the inner city area comprises almost 28% green space. Living in Eindhoven also puts you closer to the country's second busiest airport, Eindhoven Airport, which is a benefit.

In Eindhoven's city center, there are a lot of pricey apartments for rent. Couples without children or lone ex-pats may find the center more suited. Many foreign families reside on the city's outskirts, where housing is frequently more spacious. Woensel-West, a trendy residential sector north of the city center, and Karpen, a well-liked multicultural neighborhood, are two popular areas.


Nijmegen is the largest city in the Gelderland province, close to the German border. It dates back to Roman times and is the oldest city in the Netherlands. As a result, the city is home to numerous exquisite historic structures, including the Stevenskerk on the Grote Markt square. Beyond its historic sites, Nijmegen has a lot more to offer. There are numerous cafés, restaurants, and stores to enjoy in the city center, which has a bustling vibe. Even on Lange Hezelstraat, the nation's oldest shopping strip, you can go shopping.

Rent, in particular, is far less expensive in Nijmegen than in other big cities. Around the city's core, south of the Waal River and north of the river, Nijmegen-Noord and other neighborhoods can be found. Additionally, Dukenberg and Lindenholt provide easy access to parks and are home to many foreign nationals.


Here are some frequently asked questions about the best cities to move to in the Netherlands.

Which city is best to move to in the Netherlands as a family?

The Netherlands has excellent healthcare, educational, and cultural facilities and is a highly safe and family-friendly place to visit. Its educational system is among the best in the world. Most foreign schools in the nation are located in Amsterdam and The Hague. American, British, German, French, and Indonesian schools are available in The Hague. Other well-liked and more reasonably priced places for families include Haarlem, Leidsche Rijn, and the nearby municipality of Amstelveen.

Which city is best to move to in the Netherlands on a budget?

People who want to reduce their living expenditures while still close to Amsterdam can choose Amstelveen, Hilversum, and Zaandam. Consider moving to a smaller city like Delft or Gouda if you're searching for a more reasonably priced home accessible to The Hague or Rotterdam. The best value for your money will come from living outside the Randstad, especially regarding housing. Housing is typically substantially more affordable in the provinces of Groningen, Limburg, and Zeeland.

Which city is best to live in the Netherlands to find a job?

The European headquarters of several top worldwide corporations are located in the Netherlands, a center of international commerce. Luckily for foreigners living there who don't know Dutch, the Netherlands is home to the best English speakers outside of English-speaking nations. Many multinational corporations, primarily based in Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam, and Utrecht, speak English as their primary language. 

The Hague serves as the political center of the Netherlands and is the location of numerous embassies and international institutions, notably the International Criminal Court of the UN. Additionally, Eindhoven is a great spot to hunt for employment, especially if you have experience in electronics and IT.

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