Expats praise Amsterdam's quality of life, but feel left out

In spite of some social difficulties, expats in Amsterdam generally consider the quality of life in the city to be excellent, according to the first research study organised by the Amsterdam Expatcenter, along with Bureau Onderzoek en Statistiek. 

Expats on Amsterdam quality of life

Expats gave the quality of life in Amsterdam an average score of eight out of 10, with 46 per cent of respondents giving it a seven or eight, and 40 per cent a nine or 10. Social life in Amsterdam scored slightly lower, with a rating of seven.

Both results showed little variation between age groups and were not correlated with the length of time the respondent had lived in the Netherlands.

Welcoming city for internationals

The majority (60 per cent) of respondents think that Amsterdam is "certainly a welcoming city for internationals," whereas one third found this statement to be only "somewhat true." Just one tenth found the statement to be "untrue" or disagreed completely.

Social & cultural expat life

The vast majority of internationals value having an active social and cultural life: 43 per cent consider it "important" and 48 per cent consider it "very important." The most frequently mentioned activities in the socio-cultural life of internationals are hobbies, concerts, pubs, clubs and social groups.

Internationals are also generally involved in Amsterdam’s cultural scene, with over 75 per cent having visited an exhibition, museum or gallery during the past year.

Making friends in Amsterdam

Having friends in Amsterdam was considered to be (very) important by 80 per cent of the respondents, but the majority (58 per cent) were dissatisfied with the number of friends they had in Amsterdam.

Also, the majority of respondents (59 per cent) noted that their social network primarily consisted of other (non-Dutch) internationals.

Difficult for expats to integrate

Furthermore, 33 per cent of internationals found it "difficult," and a further 16 per cent found it "very difficult," to successfully integrate into Dutch society. The majority felt that they were not actually integrated and 57 per cent did not feel like they were a part of Amsterdam culture.

Survey participants

A total of 510 internationals participated in the research. More than half were European, nearly 20 per cent were Asian (with over 10 per cent from India), and 13 per cent were from Canada and the United States.

Eight out of 10 internationals had lived in the Netherlands for less than five years, and respondents were most commonly living in Amsterdam with their partner and without children (44 per cent).

Carly Blair


Carly Blair



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