Expat Cost of Living Ranking 2018: Amsterdam climbs 35 places

Expat Cost of Living Ranking 2018: Amsterdam climbs 35 places

Amsterdam has moved up drastically on the Mercer Cost of Living Ranking 2018 for expats. This year, the Dutch capital comes in at 50th place, 35 places higher than the previous year.

Mercer Cost of Living Ranking 2018

This year marks the 24th edition of the Cost of Living Ranking by Mercer (COL). The ranking examines the costs of over 200 services and goods in more than 200 prevalent assignment destinations for expats across five continents.

Goods and services used to compare cities include housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment. The base city for the COL comparisons is New York and currency movements are measured against the US dollar.

Amsterdam moves up dramatically

In the 2018 COL ranking, Amsterdam has moved up the list dramatically. At 50th place, the Dutch capital city ranks 35 places higher than it did in 2017. The increase in rental prices on the Dutch housing market is primarily responsible for the city’s position this year.

According to Mercer, another reason for Amsterdam’s place on the ranking is the strong position that the euro holds compared to the US dollar. As a result of the euro’s position, it is more expensive for companies who use dollars to send their staff to Amsterdam.

The ranking of other Western European cities has also been affected by the euro’s position and costs of goods and services, many having climbed up the ranks for these reasons. In Germany, for example, Frankfurt and Berlin jumped up 49 spots to reach places 68 and 71. Strong local currency and costs of goods and services in the UK have also ensured a climb in places by cities such as London, which moved up 10 places to rank at number 19.

Top 10 most expensive cities for expats

In the 2018 edition of the Cost of Living Ranking, Hong Kong returns to first place, the same place the city occupied in 2016. Tokyo also moves up one place to take the second position on the list.

This year, Luanda, Angola, takes sixth place, falling considerably after its first place in 2017. Geneva, Switzerland, drops out of the top 10 this year after a downward trend in the city’s housing market. The top 10 most expensive cities for expats are as follows.

1. Hong Kong, HKSAR
2. Tokyo, Japan
3. Zurich, Switzerland
4. Singapore, Singapore
5. Seoul, South Korea
6. Luanda, Angola
7. Shanghai, China
8. Ndjamena, Chad
9. Beijing, China
10. Bern, Switzerland

Least expensive cities for expats

Of the 209 cities included in the Mercer 2018 Cost of Living Ranking, these cities make up the 10 least expensive.

200. Managua, Nicaragua
201. Tegucigalpa, Honduras
202. Minsk, Belarus
203. Tbilisi, Georgia
204. Blantyre, Malawi
205. Karachi, Pakistan
206. Banjul, Gambia
207. Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
208. Tunis, Tunisia
209. Tashkent, Uzbekistan

For more information, visit the Mercer 2018 Cost of Living Ranking.

Mina Solanki


Mina Solanki

Completed her Master's degree at the University of Groningen and worked as a translator before joining IamExpat. She loves to read and has a particular interest in Greek mythology. In...

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