7 places to live near Amsterdam: the ultimate guide

The big city without big city prices 💰

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Looking for the best places to live near Amsterdam? We get it. 

So the inevitable happened: you spent some time in the Netherlands’ biggest metropolis, sat in the sun along the canal or wandered in a quiet foggy Vondelpark — and suddenly, it hit you. You want to live here. 

That’s cool; there’s just one problem: a housing crisis, overcrowding, tourists everywhere, and skyrocketing rents.

Don’t worry, though — because there are plenty of great places to live near Amsterdam that will give you easy access to the Dutch capital. 

By deciding to live near Amsterdam rather than in it, you can save some serious cash (and nerves 😉) while still profiting from those big-city-perks whenever needed.

Wanna get the Amsterdam experience without breaking the bank? You’re in luck! Once completed, Hyde Park will be an ultra-modern living space surrounded by greenery, luxury amenities and the Netherlands’ most bustling hotspots. Better still, it’s in Hoofddorp, just 12 minutes from Amsterdam Zuid! 

First: Amsterdam vs. the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area

When looking for places to live near Amsterdam, it’s important to note the difference between Amsterdam, the Dutch capital, and the greater Amsterdam Area. 

What is the difference, you ask? Well, hundreds of thousands of people and many different municipalities. The Greater Amsterdam Area includes many of Amsterdam’s neighbouring towns, suburbs and cities — which are dependent on the urban core in the middle. 

If we measure Amsterdam purely within its city limits, it counts a population of about 1,2 million people. In contrast, Metropolitan Amsterdam counts more than double that, with a whopping 2,5 million people. 🤯

The Greater Amsterdam Area is a great place to live for many reasons: it’s cheaper, it’s quieter, and it’s well connected to the capital! On top of that, these areas are often a lot greener and have vibrant, international communities.

READ MORE | Where to live as an international in the Netherlands: the complete guide

So, what are the best places to live near Amsterdam? What towns within Metropolitan Amsterdam are worth checking out? Let’s have a look! 👇

1. Haarlem: the capital of North Holland

Does it get any more Dutch than this? Image: Depositphotos

Haarlem is a medium-sized city that is also the capital of North Holland. Yes, we know it’s confusing: Amsterdam is the capital of the country, the government is located in The Hague, and Haarlem is the capital of the province in which Amsterdam is located. Why make it easy when you can make it difficult, right?

You can think of Haarlem as a laid-back mini-Amsterdam. It has charming canals and canal houses; a nice city centre with plenty of places to shop, wine, and dine; and a big international community. 

READ MORE | 18 charming things to do in Haarlem

As a very safe and laid-back city, Haarlem is also super family-friendly. Not only does it have its own international school (and many Dutch ones, too), but there also is no scarcity when it comes to clubs and events for children.

Craving some fresh air and greenery? Geen problem, says Haarlem. It’s home to the national park Zuid-Kennemerland, offering superb choices for the nature lover, the runner, the hiker, and the cyclist alike. 🚴‍♀️

If you’re more the beach-kind-of-person, you’ll be happy to hear that Haarlem is also super close to the sea and that you can be at the famous Zandvoort Beach in no time!

🏠 Average rent (per square metre): € 20.49 in 2020
🔑 Average house cost (per square metre): €5,116 in 2023
🚄 Travel time to Amsterdam Centraal: 18 Minutes

2. Almere: the city across the pond

Twilight at Weer Water in Almere, Flevoland, one of the best places to live near Amsterdam.
New York City? Nee, Almere! Image: Depositphotos

The next town on our list of best places to live near Amsterdam is Almere. Though located in an entirely different province, Flevoland, this city is just across the IJmeer from Amsterdam and the second largest city in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area. 

Since this is one of the Netherlands’ youngest cities, built mostly during the 70s and 80s, it has less of that quintessentially Dutch vibe. On the bright side, this also means that Almere hosts a lot of spacious neighbourhoods, modern housing, and green oases. 

Another unique selling point is the fact that Almere has free space available for people to design and build new homes (a true rarity in the Netherlands!). Oh, and because it was built on water, Almere also gives you great access to some refreshing lakes.

READ MORE | The 18 most magnificent lakes in the Netherlands (near Amsterdam and beyond)

A popular place for expats and families alike, Almere has its own international school, as well as plenty of shops, restaurants, and cafés. Much of Almere’s cultural scene and entertainment is also specifically catered toward families.

🏠 Average rent (per square metre): €14.68 in 2020
🔑 Average house cost (per square metre): €3,685 in 2023
🚄 Travel time to Amsterdam Centraal: 20 minutes

3. Hoofddorp: built on reclaimed land

Hoofddorp lies in the ‘Haarlemmermeer’ municipality, just south of Amsterdam. The city land was reclaimed from a lake when Hoofddorp was founded in 1853.

READ MORE | Dutch Quirk #124: Not care about the fact that they’re living below sea level 

Hoofddorp’s central location means that the town is incredibly well-connected to cities like Amsterdam, Utrecht, Rotterdam, and The Hague. This makes it easy to have fun weekend trips or commute to work in one of the major cities. Leuk! 

What might sound niet zo leuk is the fact that Hoofddorp is the direct neighbour of the infamous Schiphol Airport. But fear not: there’ll be none of that deafening aeroplane sound to wake you in the morning because Hoofddorp is actually a fly-free zone. 🚫✈️ 

Altogether, Hoofddorp is a typical suburb in which a blend of people comes together. It’s easy to spend all your time outside of the house, be it taking in the surrounding greenery, making use of the many nearby facilities, or exploring nearby cities.

🏠 Average rent (per square metre): €15.78 in 2020
🔑 Average house cost (per square metre): €4,251 in 2023
🚄 Travel time to Amsterdam Centraal: 21 minutes

Has Hoofddorp caught your eye? Then why not check out Hyde Park? Once completed, Hyde Park will be a state-of-the-art city district in Hoofddorp with international allure. Over 3,800 luxurious apartments are currently being built here, right next to Hoofddorp station. And let us tell you: the finished neighbourhoods will be heel nice!

4. Amstelveen: Amsterdam’s greener brother

Jetty on a still lake on a foggy winter's morning
The perfect place for a morning swim! Image: Depositphotos

In all seriousness, Amstelveen is about as suburban as it gets — it lives and breathes almost entirely on its bigger brother’s back, Amsterdam.

Nonetheless, the town has all the facilities for you to avoid travelling back and forth to Amsterdam all the time. Once you go into inner Amstelveen, you’ll find that it has a very charming identity of its own. 

READ MORE | The cost of living in the Netherlands in 2023

One of Europe’s biggest city parks, the Amsterdamse Bos is located just on the border of Amselveen and Amsterdam, and is guaranteed to, literally and figuratively, offer you a breath of fresh air. 💨

Prepare to be greeted by great shops, restaurants, cafés, and a large expat community. Why so many internationals, you ask? That’s because many tech companies chose to base their headquarters (along with their workers) “just outside of Amsterdam”.

Amstelveen is generally nice and quiet — other than the occasional roaring plane. It must be said that some parts of Amstelveen suffer from earthquake-like plane movements and other parts relatively little, so be sure to check that out ahead of time.

🏠 Average rent (per square metre): €19.67 in 2022
🔑 Average house cost (per square metre): €5,455 in 2023
🚄 Travel time to Amsterdam Centraal: 30 minutes

5. Zaandam: Amsterdam’s industrious neighbour

Modern architecture in Zaandam Netherlands - architecture background
This place features some funky Dutch architecture! Image: Depositphotos

You’ve heard of New Jersey and New York, right? Well, think of Zaandam as Amsterdam’s New Jersey — there’s a centuries-old bond between the two and a general understanding that they’re good with each other, yet they’re well aware of their differences. 

Amsterdam Noord borders Zaandam by just a few kilometres of road. Much like Haarlem, Zaandam is a pretty old city, but many parts of it are still proudly standing — including the gorgeous windmills at Zaanse Schans.

READ MORE | Best windmill site in the Netherlands: Kinderdijk or Zaanse Schans?

Besides its beautiful windmills, Zaandam is also known for its industrious character — full of factories and companies that preferred to settle just outside of the unaffordable capital. 

Zaandam offers much more affordable housing than Amsterdam, and as a result, it has seen its population grow over the past decades. That also means most of the city boasts relatively newly built apartments. Leuk!

Zaandam’s vibe offers a bit more of a typical Dutch feel, as opposed to the often rushed attitude in Amsterdam. Overall, people are just a little laid-back in Zaandam (and we guess that makes sense if you don’t have to deal with tourists walking on the cycling paths 😉).

🏠 Average rent (per square metre): Unknown
🔑 Average house cost (per square metre): €4,017 in 2023
🚄 Travel time to Amsterdam Centraal: 15 minutes

6. Hilversum: surrounded by nature

Hilversum is located at the centre of the Gooi nature reserve, making it a true green oasis just a stone’s throw from Amsterdam. A quintessentially Dutch city (minus the canals), this place is surrounded by lush forests and refreshing lakes.

The city consists of both modern apartments and charming old houses, with spacious accommodations and all the necessary facilities (shopping malls, medical, public transport) well within reach. 🙌

Since it is extremely expat-friendly, Hilversum also hosts multiple international and bilingual schools.  

READ MORE | 7 reasons why living in the Netherlands will change your life

Though many people living in Hilversum commute to Amsterdam or Utrecht for work, the city itself is a true hub for professionals. 

Not only is the Netherlands’ media and entertainment industry based here, providing career opportunities for over 8,000 media professionals, but it is also home to the headquarters of big international brands like Nike and Hunkemöller.

🏠 Average rent (per square metre): €14.88 in 2020
🔑 Average house cost (per square metre): €4,582 in 2023
🚄 Travel time to Amsterdam Centraal: 20 minutes

7. Diemen: the Amsterdam sandwich

‘Holland Park’ is a popular up-and-coming neighbourhood in Diemen. Image: Depositphotos

Diemen is a town that is literally sandwiched between two districts of Amsterdam: Oost and Zuidoost. Why is it not just a part of the city? Nobody knows. 🤷‍♀️

Due to its proximity to Amsterdam, Diemen has recently experienced a lot of growth, partly thanks to many large-scale developments. As a result, many families and young professionals flock to the town and settle there, often while working in Amsterdam

READ MORE | 9 things no one tells you about living in the Netherlands for the first time

Diemen offers a great escape from the bustling city and some peace and quiet from the weed-smoking, booze-cruising tourists of the city. 😉 Instead, you’ll find plenty of forests and parks that will accommodate you for walks, hikes, and bike rides. 

If you do want a taste of Amsterdam nightlife, you’ll be happy to hear that Diemen is incredibly well-connected to the city via public transport services as well as bike lanes. The only thing standing between you and a night out in Amsterdam is your willingness to get off the couch. Proost! 🍻 

🏠 Average rent (per square metre): €18.15 in 2022
🔑 Average house cost (per square metre): €5,309 in 2023
🚄 Travel time to Amsterdam Centraal: 10 minutes

The best places to live near Amsterdam are diverse — but they do have two things in common: they’re close to Amsterdam (duh), and well connected to it thanks to the Netherlands’ great public transport network.

When it comes down to it, most Dutch cities and towns are great places to live in (hence why the Dutch are so happy!) — and, of course, you can always move again. 🤷‍♀️ 

Which of these places to live near Amsterdam would you move to? Tell us in the comments!

Feature Image:Depositphotos
Bobby Salomons
Bobby Salomons
Bobby Salomons is an Amsterdam-based published author and movie-blogger holding up too many balls to juggle at once. Suffering from Tortured Artist-syndrome he is left with no choice or hope until eventually breaking through.

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  1. Wow! This is radical and very comprehensive. Thanks for such an elaborate article!
    I wonder what is the average commuting time (by fiets) from every of these options?

  2. Ijmuiden or the Velsens..I live in Velsen-Noord which is great and cheaper than Ijmuiden.its 20 mins on the Fiets to some of the best beaches in The Netherlands and a 30-35 min drive to Amsterdam ( My son schools in Amsterdam ) Ijmuiden has no Trein station but Beverwijk does and its only a 10 min walk from Velsen-noord…plus its less then 5min by auto to the A9

    You will hear ‘Tata Steel’ air pollution etc etc!..but the wind blows mainly down the coast its really no big deal here…

    Plenty of nature, 16klms to Alkmaar ( nice city ) 9klms to Castricum!..100 mtr house with a Garden averages around 300,000 and its totally unpretentious!!

    I lived in Amsterdam centrum and west for 20yrs and no regrets moving here!

  3. 2 (of 7). Almere: the city across the pond
    The *final* town on our list of best places to live near Amsterdam is Almere…


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