AMSTERDAM

FROM AN EXPAT POINT OF VIEW

17th century historical buildings, modern architecture, museums, a vibrant cultural and restaurant scene, luxury and boutique shopping combined with the attitude of a modern metropolis make Amsterdam a friendly and relaxed place to live.

It is the largest city (approx. 830,000 inhabitants in 2016) and capital of the Netherlands, but due to its compact layout nothing is ever more than a walk or a bike ride away. Within the city there are many distinct neighborhoods each with their own unique style and vibe.

Centre

With its traditional architecture and canals this is where you will find the postcard scenes. It is the oldest and most visited part of town and within the confines of this district there is a lot to be explored and enjoyed. In terms of demographics a diverse mix of families, students and expats are represented here.
photo: Jonik

Jordaan

originally a working-class neighbourhood, it is now one of the most expensive and desirable locations. Here you will find a wide array of (modern) art galleries, lots of specialty shops and restaurants. Regular markets take place in this part of the city. It is also home to the Negen Straatjes (Nine Streets), 9 unique little streets known for their vintage and designer shops, independent outlets and cafés.

Spiegelkwartier

this area has been the heart of the Dutch art and antiques trade for many decades. Visit this part of town to immerse yourself in art, antiques and curiosities shopping. The world-famous museums of the Museum District are only a short walk away.
photo: Michiel197
photo: Elyktra

Museum District

here you will find the esteemed collections of the Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk Museum and Van Gogh Museum. In addition to culture this part of town also offers an abundant selection of high-end luxury shopping.

Haarlemmerstraat / Haarlemmerdijk

In this trendy and hip district you will find a high concentration of small boutiques, specialty shops and concept stores, as well as a wide variety of restaurants and bars.
photo: Allie Caulfield
photo: Steve Collis

Red Light District

Most people will have heard about this part of town and some will choose not to visit because of its reputation. If you are able to look beyond the surface this area is well worth exploring. It is actually the oldest part of Amsterdam and here you will find many medieval alleyways, stunning gabled houses and scenic canals.

Nieuwmarkt

The heart of this neighborhood is Nieuwmarkt square. The prominent Waag building (one of the last remaining city gates) is located here. Many terraces and bars surround the square and it is a popular hangout amongst the locals. Just behind Nieuwmarkt lies the Zeedijk which is considered Amsterdam’s Chinatown.
photo: Jill Robidoux
photo: Simone Richter

Waterlooplein District

Located just off the river Amstel, Waterlooplein is home to the oldest and biggest flea market of Amsterdam. In this part of town you will also find the Amsterdam City Hall and the theatre of the Dutch National Opera & Ballet

Canal Ring

The famous 17th century district surrounding the old centre of Amsterdam. It has been listed a Unesco World Heritage site for its unique cultural and historical value. Property values here are among the highest in the country.
photo: Владимир Шеляпин

North

Leave the busy city behind and take the short ferry crossing over to Amsterdam Noord. This part of town has an industrial feel and in the past was quite rough around the edges. Over the last few years Noord has sprung to life through redevelopment of buildings and areas. As the rents are relatively affordable more and more people started moving here, including creatives, artists and families. Housing is a mix of high and low rise. Noord also has more rural parts which connect the city with the surrounding countryside.

East

The eastern part of the city features many different residential areas each with their own identity and culture.
photo: bMA

Plantagebuurt

An elegant neighborhood with leafy boulevards, stately buildings, elegant squares and lots of beautiful gardens.

Watergraafsmeer

A neighborhood known for its strong sense of community. This part of town has a lot of parks, sports facilities and small private gardens. Housing here consists mostly of low-rise apartment blocks and a few high-rise blocks along the Amstel river. Watergraafsmeer is a popular choice for young professionals and families.
photo: P.H. Louw
photo: blackcharliepho

Zeeburg/KNSM Eiland

Originally a busy port location which fell into disuse in the 1970s after most of the harbor activity moved to the western docklands. From the 1980s onwards a big redevelopment scheme was started resulting in pleasant residential neighborhoods surrounded with harbors and water. The houses attract young families and the contemporary features applied to the design of the new buildings meant a large number of trendy young professionals also live in this part of town.

IJburg

A new residential development built on 6 artificial islands. Located a bit further out of the city it is a quiet and green neighborhood. The islands are connected by bridges and Central Station is just a 15-minute tram ride away. Here you will find an abundance of recently built houses and apartments with a contemporary feel. The nearby IJmeer offers options for water sports or time spent enjoying the urban beach. This district is very much evolving as more schools open and other amenities continue to be added to the community.
photo: Arjan Keers

South

Vondelpark (the largest city park in Amsterdam) is found in this area and it provides a spacious, calm and natural oasis if you feel the need to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. This part of town consists of the following neighborhoods:
photo: Aquilo

Oud-Zuid

Is often referred to as the most affluent neighborhood in town. The houses here typically originate from the end of the 19th century and are spacious and luxurious. It is a friendly and quiet residential area offering plenty of high-end shopping and a wide choice of restaurants. A number of international schools are found close by and there are good connections to the Zuidas district and Schiphol Airport. All these factors make it a popular upmarket location for families and expats.

Stadionbuurt

In recent years a lot of new housing has been built around the 1928 Olympic Stadium. This has resulted in a pleasant residential neighborhood with a friendly atmosphere attracting younger families and professionals.
photo: Wikipedia
photo: Sonny Abesamis

De Pijp

This area can be classified as up and coming, vibrant and bohemian. With more than 150 nationalities represented it is a diverse community and attracts a mix of young, old, students, artists and families. Narrow streets and 19th century buildings are the norm in this district and it is home to the Albert Cuypmarkt, the largest and most popular outdoor market in the Netherlands. There is an abundance of restaurants varying from a large selection of world foods to high-end cuisine.

Rivierenbuurt

An area of town featuring a lot of Amsterdam School architecture (1920s and 1930s). With its wide lanes, plenty of trees and outdoor spaces this residential neighborhood has a calm and friendly feel to it.
photo: Franklin Heijnen

West

Broadly speaking the western part of Amsterdam can be divided into the following neighbourhoods:
photo: Marion Golsteijn

Oud-West

Over the last few years the Centre has extended itself into the Oud-West area. Houses are generally a bit smaller than e.g. Zuid, but nonetheless this area is very popular with expats. The neighborhood is constantly changing and evolving. A great example of this is the Foodhallen project, whereby an old tram depot was transformed into a very popular indoor food market. Due to a mix of cultures and economic levels there is plenty going on. Here you will find lots of students and young creative people, as well as families with small children.

Nieuw-West

This part of town is located outside of the Ring Road. Most of the residential buildings here were built after 1950 under an urban expansion plan. The streets and houses in this area are more spacious and living space is generally found against somewhat lower rents. Parking is readily available, no waiting lists here.
photo: Arthena

A bit further out of town

Moving away from the Centre takes you to the some of the more suburban areas, which also have a lot to offer. Large expat communities are found in Buitenveldert and Amstelveen and a number of international schools are located here. These parts of town offer an abundance of sport options, plenty of green space (Amsterdamse Bos), close vicinity to business centres (Zuidas), easy access to the big motorways and Schiphol Airport.
photo: pieter musterd

Zuidas

A large number of corporate offices are located here and it is best known as a top-level international knowledge and business centre. In recent years residential living has been added with plans to add a lot more in future years. The arrival of more and more residents has transformed this area into a well-rounded neighborhood with lots of amenities.

Buitenveldert

Just past the Zuidas district lies Buitenveldert. A green, leafy suburb with lots of houses and medium-rise apartment blocks built from the 1960s onwards. With its proximity to the Ring Road, many commuters live in this area.
photo: Tipamsterdam
photo: Shirley de Jong

Amstelveen

This municipality in the metropolitan area of Amsterdam has often appeared towards the top of the list as best place to live in the Netherlands. Housing options here are more family oriented, often with a garden and/or garage. Parking is also readily available in this area. A wide selection of shopping options can be found as well as plenty of sports clubs and amenities. A metro and tram service connect this location with the more central parts of the city.