Amsterdam claims place in world’s 50 most expensive cities

Pull out your piggy banks and say ✋ to avocado on toast, Amsterdammers — your city is considered significantly more expensive today than it was two years ago.

Amsterdam is now considered the 44th most expensive city in the world, according to a new survey by consultancy firm Mercer.

The firm’s Cost of Living 2021 ranking found that Amsterdam climbed 20 places in the past twelve months, putting it in the top 50 most expensive cities for the first time in five years.

READ MORE | The cost of living in Amsterdam: all you need to know

Exchange rate rockets

So when did your daily stroopwafel or kaasbroodje become so expensive?

That’s the good news. You’re probably not feeling it so much because currency had a big role to play in the rise, according to Ellen van Arenthals, Senior Consultant Global Mobility at Mercer Nederland.

“Amsterdam’s jump in the rankings is mainly caused by the appreciation of the euro against the US dollar,” Van Arenthals explains. “Between March 2020 and March 2021, the euro gained 10.79% against the dollar.”

That’s less stress for internationals in the Netherlands — as long as you’re not paid in USD of course. 😬 😉

Other European cities also make a leap

If the thought of Amsterdam becoming more expensive scares you, we suggest not making a rash move to another European city. Paris, France climbed 17 positions to 33rd place, while Milan, Italy jumped to 36th most expensive.

Munich (Germany), Brussels (Belgium), Frankfurt (Germany), Oslo (Norway), and Helsinki (Finland) all rose at least 18 places.

Want to know how Amsterdam compares?

Comparison is the thief of joy — but in this case, could actually make you feel better about making the move to the Netherlands. Here’s the top 20 most expensive cities in the world — check it at your own risk:

Rank 2021CityLocationRank change from 2020
2Hong KongHong Kong (SAR) -1
11SeoulSouth Korea0
14New York CityUnited States-8
15Tel AvivIsrael-3
18LondonUnited Kingdom1

Do you find Amsterdam is expensive to live in? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!

Feature Image: D.Travnikov/Depositphotos

Samantha Dixon 🇦🇺
Sam isn’t great at being Dutch. Originally hailing from Australia, she came to study in the Netherlands without knowing where the country was on a map. She once accidentally ordered the entire ice-cream menu at Smullers. She still can’t jump on the back of a moving bike. But, she remains fascinated by the tiny land of tall people.


  1. I moved to NL and get my U.S. pension in dollars. I don’t care — I consider the exchange rate a payment for living here. Nederlanders are well aware of problems in America, but I think many don’t know just HOW bad things have gotten there.

    Just as most Americans don’t know how much better things are in the Netherlands. When I give American friends details (health care & cost, rent, services, etc) I’m not sure they believe me.


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