Amsterdam NOT one of the most expensive cities to live in for expats

Have you just been on the morning commute, grumbling about how expensive the NS trains are? Have you recently moved here to find out that the high rental prices for a box apartment really puts a damper on your quality of life? Were you surprised by the cost of living in the Netherlands?

Well, you might just have been unlucky because we are in a better position than a lot of people around the world. Amsterdam ranks as the 58th most expensive city for expats on Mercer’s recent cost of living survey. Even Amsterdam’s high cost of living could not be enough to break into the top 50, let alone top 10!

How do they determine the cost of living?

Mercer is the world’s largest human resources consulting firm that has recently released this survey. It looks at spending patterns of expats living in 500 cities around the world. This is not designed to determine the cost of living of locals but is for the benefit of multinational companies to determine wage compensations for their expat employees. They look at “comparative cost[s] of more than 200 items in each location, including housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods, and entertainment”.


Which is the most expensive city to live in Europe for expats?

Like mentioned before, it’s not Amsterdam. It doesn’t even come close at rank 58. It has dropped eight whole places as compared to its position (50) in 2018! We do complain a lot, but there must be something going right.

Of the top 10, only one European city cracks through – Zurich at position five. This one has also dropped two places since 2018. The other cities that find their place in the top 20 are Bern (12), Geneva (13), and Copenhagen (20). London dropped four places with its ranking being 23 this year. The most shocking change from last years list would be Ashgabat in Turkmenistan with its ranking being 43 last year and number seven this year. Singapore (3), Beijing (8), New York City (9), and Tel Aviv (15) have higher rankings this year.

But which city is the most expensive to live in for expats in the world? Hong Kong and Tokyo retain their first and second positions respectively from last year. Tokyo is also dubbed as the safest city in the world, and our beloved Amsterdam being ranked fourth globally.

Are you as surprised as we were? Let us know in the comments below!

Feature Image: Abhishek Baadkar/Pixabay

Kavana Desai
Kavana Desai
Coping with the aftermath of her 3-year stint in the Netherlands, Kavana is a writer, content creator and editor for DutchReview. Hailing from India, she frequently blogs about the Netherlands, being Indian in the Netherlands, and everything in between. She envisions herself to one day be the youngest person to win that Nobel Prize for Literature (she is also not very humble but welcomes only constructive criticism). In the meantime, she fills her days with writing for DutchReview, writing her master's thesis on art theft, and writing fiction that will hopefully see the light of day soon.


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