Expats in the Netherlands prefer The Hague over Amsterdam

Expats in the Netherlands prefer The Hague over Amsterdam

This year, just two Dutch cities feature in InterNations’ ranking of the top 50 cities around the world according to expats - but which one came out on top? Well, according to internationals in the Netherlands, The Hague is a better place to live than Amsterdam.

The Expat City Ranking 2022

As part of the annual Expat Insider Survey, InterNations - a network of expats around the world - asked almost 12.000 expats living in 181 different countries representing a total of 177 nationalities for their opinion on five key areas of expat life:

  • Quality of Life (public transport, healthcare, crime, etc)
  • Ease of Settling In (culture, local friendliness, etc)
  • Working Abroad (salaries, jobs, work culture, etc)
  • Personal Finance
  • Expat Essentials (housing, language, bureaucracy, etc)

Encompassed within each of these areas were 16 sub-categories, together covering 56 aspects of urban living. Those taking part in the survey were asked to rate their city on a scale of one to seven for each of the different aspects. 

This year has seen the top and bottom 10 switch up quite a lot, with Valencia beating out Kuala Lumpur to be named the best city for expat living. Various European cities feature in the ranking, with cities like Lisbon and Basel even managing to secure places in the top 10. Down at the other end, Johannesburg has fallen a few places to be ranked the worst place for expats, with two German cities claiming spaces in the bottom six.

Which Dutch city is the favourite amongst expats?

While last year saw four Dutch cities make an appearance in the Expat City Ranking, this year only two made the cut: Amsterdam and The Hague. Sadly, neither managed to nab a spot in the top 10 - but luckily they weren’t featured in the bottom 10 either. So how did they do? And which city do expats living in the Netherlands prefer?

26. The Hague 

The Hague has seen its position slip slightly since 2021, but has managed to hold on to its place as the highest-ranking city in the Netherlands for the fourth year in a row, coming in 26th place overall. The city achieved decent scores across all five indices, but performed best in the Expat Essentials and Working Abroad categories, falling just outside of the top 10 to come in 11th place in both. The Hague's worst score was in the Personal Finance Index (31st).

The results reveal that, on the whole, expats find The Hague a good place to work, but an expensive place to live, with respondents praising the city for its infrastructure and green spaces. However, others did criticise the city for its bad weather, while one explained that they'd found it difficult to make friends with locals, especially during the coronavirus pandemic: "I am working from home alone all week and don’t ever see other people, and I have been unable to make a single friend.”

30. Amsterdam

Unlike The Hague, Amsterdam has managed to rise a place in this year’s ranking, up from 31st place in 2021. There was only one category in which the Dutch capital out-ranked The Hague: the Working Abroad Index, where Amsterdam came in seventh place, significantly improving the city's overall average. Respondents did have good things to say about Amsterdam, complimenting the cycling culture and infrastructure and the international environment.

A likely unsurprising result was Amsterdam's score in the Ease of Settling In index, where the city came in 34th place, with respondents complaining about the unfriendliness of locals. “The Dutch people are kind of friendly but cold and distant towards expats," one expat from Bulgaria said. "To me, they very often seem discriminating towards others with questions about their origin and social life.” Respondents also criticised the Dutch healthcare system and the inaccessibility of the housing market.

The best cities for expats in 2022 

According to the results of the 2022 Expat Insider Survey, the top 10 cities around the world for expats are: 

  1. Valencia
  2. Dubai
  3. Mexico City
  4. Lisbon
  5. Madrid
  6. Bangkok
  7. Basel
  8. Melbourne
  9. Abu Dhabi
  10. Singapore

The worst cities for expats in 2022

From worst to best, the cities found to be the worst places for expats to settle in 2022 are:

  1. Johannesburg
  2. Frankfurt
  3. Paris
  4. Istanbul
  5. Hong Kong
  6. Hamburg
  7. Milan
  8. Vancouver
  9. Tokyo
  10. Rome

To find more information about the Expat Insider survey, visit the InterNations website.

Victoria Séveno


Victoria Séveno

Victoria grew up in Amsterdam, before moving to the UK to study English and Related Literature at the University of York and completing her NCTJ course at the Press Association...

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Leave a comment

Leonardo Vomend... 14:31 | 29 November 2022

You can't really trust any of these, to start with, all the info was gathered from people who willingly sign up to the expat website to be marked and counted as an expat. And fill in the survey as if they weren't just an immigrant or international student. Then covid skewed results like with the guy complaining about a city being unfriendly because he doesn't see people at home during lockdown. And as proof i present the list in the end, with mexico city in number 3 for best cities fir expats, but google that right now and you'll be faced with nothing but articles about mexicans hating expats amd asking them to go home.