The Ultimate Guide to the Best Amsterdam Neighborhoods
Laid-back and cosy, Amsterdam is a city which has comfort at its core.
It’s a warm, welcoming and homely city, making it a logical and appealing choice for anyone considering a relocation.
Because of its friendly atmosphere and languid magnetism, Amsterdam is quickly becoming one of the world’s most attractive cities to live – it’s regularly voted as one of the planet’s most liveable cities. Every day, people flock from various corners of the globe to start a new life in the capital of the Netherlands.
But it’s not just a haven of chilled-out relaxation – whoever you are, there’s something for you here.
Amsterdam is packed with trendy culinary venues, great nightlife, fun shopping opportunities and some of the best museums and galleries on the planet. It’s also a great city for transport, with the city’s residents making most of their journeys by bicycle or waterway.
If you’re considering moving to Amsterdam, we’ve got all the information you need. We’ve split the city into its smaller parts for a helpful insight into all Amsterdam districts – and an insight into what all of these districts offer.
Whether you want to live in a kooky creative haven, a hipster paradise or a family-friendly green zone, Amsterdam has a perfect district for you!
Whatever type of life you’re seeking in Amsterdam, we’ve got you covered. Want to know where to live in Amsterdam? Our ultimate guide to the best Amsterdam neighborhoods is all you need.
Best places to live in Amsterdam for expats
Moving to Amsterdam is pretty easy, and life in Amsterdam is pretty easy.
But the hard part is choosing where to live.
Though around 200,000 expats live in the city, they all live in different areas, so it’s important to choose a part of the city which suits you and your needs.
Later in this article, we’ve unpacked specific districts for specific types of people, but as a handy introduction, here are the three best overall Amsterdam neighborhoods for expats:
- Amsterdam Noord
- Amsterdam Zuid
- Amsterdam De Pijp
All three of these areas have large numbers of expats from around the world. If you have no idea at all where to begin your search, these are the three best Amsterdam neighborhoods you should first consider. They’re accessible, appealing and packed with other expats just like you!
1. Amsterdam Noord for expats
With a name which translates as ‘Amsterdam North,’ you don’t need to be a genius to work out where this area is. The entire area north of the IJ River, this is an up and coming district which is swiftly becoming home to large groups of foreigners – it’s one of the best places to live in Amsterdam for expats.
Once a little isolated from the rest of the city, transport regenerations here have made it much easier and appealing to live in Amsterdam Noord – ferry crossings are fast and there’s now a new metro connection. If you want to live in a vast, affordable, multi-faceted area of Amsterdam without too many tourists, Amsterdam Noord is a great choice.
And it’s a great choice for many different types of people. While it has lots of family-friendly villages and open spaces, it’s also packed with festivals, alternative artistic venues and lots of hipster hangouts.
Rents and other prices here are relatively low compared to other parts of the city – and rental properties are often very spacious, so it’s a great place to consider grabbing a serviced apartment in Amsterdam.
If you want to live centrally, Amsterdam Noord is one of the most affordable places to live in Amsterdam.
2. Amsterdam Zuid for expats
Another huge part of the city, living in Amsterdam Zuid (or ‘Amsterdam South’) has been a popular choice among expats for many years – and it’s been popular with many different types of people.
Because of its size, Amsterdam Zuid actually incorporates several different areas, including Oud-Zuid, De Pijp and many more, so it offers plenty of options for those looking to live in the city.
Because of its size, variety and multi-faceted appeal, this is one of the first Amsterdam districts you should consider. If you’re moving with family, for example, there are great international schools in this district, along with lots of parks and other green spaces. The area is also packed with many residential neighborhoods, making it a great place to live a quiet life in a city center.
If you’re looking for a job, the Zuidas area is an excellent part of Amsterdam Zuid, as it’s emerging as a rapidly-growing hub for businesses both big and small. There are lots of jobs and apartments here, and huge numbers of expats carving out a new professional life.
But Amsterdam Zuid is also home to lots of hipster zones, with many areas undergoing regeneration and gentrification. If you want to live centrally but affordably, parts of Amsterdam Zuid are a great choice, with small but serviceable apartments offering a great low-maintenance place to live in the heart of the city.
Living in Amsterdam Zuid also offers plenty to do, with lots of award-winning art galleries, entertainment venues and museums.
This district can in parts be prohibitively expensive, with some regions slowly being soaked up by Amsterdam’s ever-growing middle classes. That said, there are some affordable areas, so don’t let Amsterdam Zuid’s more affluent areas deter you.
3. De Pijp for expats
This district is actually part of Amsterdam Zuid, but it absolutely deserves a section all its own, as living in De Pijp is a very popular choice for young people, bohemians and a whole host of hipsters.
If you have a family, you probably won’t like living in De Pijp, but it’s otherwise an excellent place to call home.
Once a working class district of affordable housing and not much else, De Pijp has recently undergone a huge transformation – and while apartments are still small and affordable, the streets now buzz with an eclectic mix of artistic locals and edgy expats.
With a young population and excellent proximity to the heart of Amsterdam, it’s one of the best places to live in the city.
If you like living alongside students, bohemians, creatives and other drifters, you’ll love it here. There’s weird stuff to do every night, and there are plenty of vibrant, kooky hangouts no matter what you’re into. If you’re young, you should seriously consider living in De Pijp.
In short, our three main recommendations for foreigners moving to Amsterdam are Amsterdam Noord, Amsterdam Zuid and De Pijp. They’re all great choices for newcomers to the city.
But depending on who you are and what you’re looking for, you might want slightly more specific information. If that’s the case, we’ve got you covered – next up, we’ve considered the best places to live in Amsterdam according to these three categories:
- Affordable, cheap places to live in Amsterdam
- Best Amsterdam neighborhoods for families
- Best places in Amsterdam for young professionals
Affordable, cheap places to live in Amsterdam
Though Amsterdam is overall a pretty pricey place, it doesn’t necessarily need to be expensive, and there are pockets of cheap housing across the city. Our three top picks for affordable living in Amsterdam are:
- Amsterdam Noord
- Amsterdam de Bijlmer
- Amsterdam Nieuw-West
1. Living on a budget in Amsterdam Noord
We’ve already covered Amsterdam Noord above, but it’s one of our top picks for living in Amsterdam on a budget. Prices here aren’t as affordable as they once were, but some parts of the area offer very affordable (and very appealing!) living.
Because this district was once industrial and uninteresting, relatively few people are yet to discover it – so while house prices are rising here, they’re still lower than many other parts of the city, making for a great choice if you want to live centrally but affordably.
If your priority is living relatively centrally while surviving on a budget, Amsterdam Noord is absolutely the best choice.
For more detail about the district, check our section on Amsterdam Noord above.
2. Living on a budget in de Bijlmer
De Bijlmer goes by many names – Bijlmer, Bijlmermeer and de Bijlmer. But whatever you call it, the district offers an excellent budget option for anyone looking to live affordably in Amsterdam.
Part of the larger Zuidoost district (which translates as ‘south west district’), Bijmer isn’t the most exciting part of Amsterdam, but it’s a great option for affordability as long as you don’t mind living slightly outside of the city center.
The area is safe, residential and affordable, and it’s possible to reach the city center by bicycle in 20-30 minutes. If you don’t fancy cycling, the area is also served by excellent public transport links.
No-one’s going to pretend that this is the most enthralling part of Amsterdam, but it’s an excellent affordable option for families, couples and solo wanderers.
3. Living on a budget in Amsterdam Nieuw-West
A huge district on the far western side of Amsterdam, this area is again a great option if you don’t mind living on the city’s outskirts in the pursuit of cheap housing. With an abundance of new high-rise apartments and a rapidly-expanding expat community, it’s also an easy place to make friends, though you’ll find few tourists.
Though this area doesn’t have a great deal to do, there are some fantastic parks, while the huge Sloterplas lake is a great place for enjoying outdoor activities.
The vast Amsterdam Nieuw-West district has lots of different areas within it, but De Aker and Geuzenveld are two of the best for those seeking a cheap place to live in Amsterdam.
Best Amsterdam neighborhoods for families
Amsterdam can be a fantastic place to raise a family – it’s safe, it’s modern and it’s very laid-back. The city also offers lots of kid-friendly attractions and brilliant international schools, while the fantastic child allowance package offered by the Netherlands can be a huge financial help.
Amsterdam also has lots of green spaces, relatively little pollution and excellent public transport, so it’s a great city for raising kids.
Our three top picks for where to live with kids in Amsterdam are:
- Amsterdam Zuid
- Amsterdam Nieuw-West
- Amsterdam Museumkwartier
1. Living with a family in Amsterdam Zuid
As we’ve mentioned above, living in Amsterdam Zuid is an excellent choice for anyone relocating with a family. It has a fantastic selection of international schools, including The British School of Amsterdam and Amsterdam International Community School. If you’re looking for top-quality schools, you should seriously consider living in Amsterdam Zuid.
The area is also home to lots of great parks, fellow families and kid-friendly cafes. Lots of families relocate to Amsterdam Zuid, making it the first logical district to consider in your quest for a new family-friendly life in Amsterdam.
For more information on the district, check out our Amsterdam Zuid section above.
2. Living with a family in Amsterdam Nieuw-West
We’ve already told you why living in Amsterdam Nieuw-West is a great option if you’re keen to save money – but it’s also a great place to raise a family. So if you want to live with your family in Amsterdam on a budget, Nieuw-West is our top choice!
If you’re looking for a large house at a low price, Amsterdam Nieuw-West is the best district to consider, with great options for affordable family housing. Lots of newer properties also offer parking, perfect if you have a family car.
Largely an area of residential neighborhoods, there’s not much here for kids to do – but there are lots of excellent outdoor spaces along with plenty of other kids for your little ones to play with.
3. Living with a family in Amsterdam Museumkwartier
This part of Amsterdam is expensive, central and full of tourists, but it’s an excellent place to live with kids. If you want to live on a budget with your children, this isn’t a great pick – but it’s otherwise a fantastic area full of excitement and attractions.
A wealthy part of the city packed with leafy public spaces, surprisingly large homes and endless adventure, living in Amsterdam Museumkwartier is a great option if you want lots of nearby things to do. Of all the central areas of Amsterdam, the Museumkwartier is the most popular for families looking to relocate.
With gardens, parks, museums and excellent proximity to the city’s iconic canals, there’s plenty here to keep even the craziest of kids busy. The Vondelpark in particular is great – it’s probably the most famous park in the whole of the Netherlands.
Best places in Amsterdam for young professionals
Amsterdam is a fantastic place to be a young professional. It has a young population, a thriving culture and endless things to do. Somehow both bustling and laid-back, it offers everything that a young professional could ever want.
Here are our favorite three districts for young professionals in Amsterdam:
- Amsterdam De Wallen
- Amsterdam Jordaan
- Amsterdam Westerpark
1. Living as a young professional in De Wallen
If you’re a young professional relocating to a new city, you want to be in the center of that city. You want to explore the place as a tourist, and you want to be right in the heart of all the fun. For that reason, living in De Wallen as a young professional is fantastic.
The heart of Amsterdam’s tourist trade, this area is packed with canals, attractions and the charming narrow streets which so many tourists fall in love with.
It’s not a quiet place to live, but if you want to explore Amsterdam just like a tourist would (and which young professional wouldn’t!), there’s no better Amsterdam district than De Wallen.
2. Living as a young professional in Jordaan
Packed with yuppies, young professionals and fresh-faced expats, Jordaan is hugely popular among foreigners who want to live in a boutique, bohemian area with plenty of quirky hangouts.
With a huge number of co-working spaces and lots of cool, kooky cafes to work from, there are plenty of venues here for churning out a day of work in an appealing place.
Though it’s a great place to live, it’s pretty pricey, and you won’t find a big apartment for a small price. But when you’re living somewhere this exciting, who cares?
3. Living as a young professional in Westerpark
For young professionals looking for a slightly quieter life than the one offered in De Wallen and Jordaan, Westerpark is the best option. The northwestern section of the city center, it’s a great compromise between a quiet life and an exciting one.
Of all of central Amsterdam’s districts, it’s one of the more affordable places to live, perfect if you’re a young professional on a budget. It’s also a very exciting place to call home, packed with festivals, events, quirky hangouts and an excellent arthouse cinema.
There’s a very young (and very welcoming!) crowd of expats, creatives and families living here.
It’s also a mega-ecological car-free haven, perfect for boundless cycling. If you’re environmentally-minded, you’ll love it.
The best Amsterdam districts overall
There you have it – where to live in Amsterdam!
Overall, Amsterdam is an incredible city, and it doesn’t have any bad districts. But the best district for someone else might not necessarily be the best district for you.
Before you move to Amsterdam, consider the type of life you want and the type of person you are – and you’ll then be able to find the perfect place for you. But no matter the type of place you want to live in, there’ll be something incredible on this list – they’re all some of the best places to live in Amsterdam for expats.
A city both laid-back and intensely exciting, Amsterdam is a great place to live. You’ll love it.
Choose your Amsterdam district, choose your Amsterdam apartment, and choose a brand new life in one of the planet’s most exciting cities.