The best Dutch cities for expats in 2020

The best Dutch cities for expats in 2020

The Dutch cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam and the Hague, feature in this year’s “Expat City Ranking”. Compiled by InterNations, the list ranks 82 cities around the world according to different areas of expat life.

The best and worst cities for expats

The Expat City Ranking is a list of 82 cities that are ranked according to InterNation’s annual Expat Insider survey. 20.000 expatriates from 187 different countries took part in the survey, in which they were asked to rate different aspects of urban life. These subcategories were combined into four different factors: Quality of Urban Living, Getting Settled, Urban Work Life and Finance & Housing.

The survey also included a “Local Cost of Living Index” in its rankings, however, this did not contribute to the cities’ overall ranking in order to avoid affording to much weight to financial aspects. Each city must have had a sample of at least 50 participants to be featured in the ranking. A “Happiness Level” was also included in the ranking.

Three Dutch cities in the Expat City Ranking

Out of the 82 cities in the Expat City Ranking 2019, three of them are from the Netherlands. Of the three cities, The Hague (9th) was the only Dutch city to feature in the top 10. It was, in fact, the only one to feature in the top 30, with Rotterdam (32nd) and Amsterdam (48th) appearing further down the list.

The Hague

Coming in 9th place, the Hague is the top-ranked Dutch city on the list. The Hague sets itself apart from Rotterdam and Amsterdam in the Finance and Housing Index, coming in 24th place (Rotterdam ranks 51st and Amsterdam ranks 68th). Participants ranked the city highly for Urban Work Life (13th), however, many bemoaned the local career opportunities.

The Hague ranked well on Quality of Urban Living (27th), but many people were critical about the local climate and weather, in which it ranked in the bottom ten (78th). Having said this, the participants (81%) enjoyed the environment in the city and it scored a happiness level of 78 percent, higher than both the other Dutch cities.


Rotterdam scored slightly above average in the rankings, coming in at number 32. Participants were particularly happy with the city’s public transport (21st), voting it the best in the Netherlands. The city also ranks highly for Urban Work Life (16th), doing particularly well in the Job Security subcategory (10th).

Participants were critical of Rotterdam’s social side. The city ranked 65th in the Friends and Socialising subcategory and many people complained about how difficult it was to make friends with the Dutch. The city scores the lowest in the Netherlands on the Happiness Level, with a score of (69%).


The lowest-ranked Dutch city on the list at 48th place, Amsterdam does particularly poorly when it comes to Local Cost of Living (56th) and Finance and Housing (68th). This is largely down to how difficult it is to find a house and the unaffordable rent prices. Additionally, participants complained about the healthcare in Amsterdam. Amsterdam scored the lowest out of the Dutch cities for Getting Settled, with people finding it hard to make friends (51%) and not feeling at home (29%).

Expats were particularly pleased with the city’s work-life balance, with Amsterdam placing 9th in that subcategory. The city performed a lot better than The Hague and Rotterdam in local career opportunities (15th).

Expat City Ranking: top 10 cities

The top 10 cities on the Expat City Ranking are as follows:

  1. Taipei
  2. Kuala Lumpur
  3. Ho Chi Minh City
  4. Singapore
  5. Montreal
  6. Lisbon
  7. Barcelona
  8. Zug
  9. The Hague
  10. Basel

Visit InterNation's website for the complete rankings, methodology and a detailed review of the findings. 

William Nehra


William Nehra

William studied a masters in Classics at the University of Amsterdam. He is a big fan of Ancient History and football, particularly his beloved Watford FC.

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