Costs of living for expats

The TopDutch region boasts one of the lowest costs of living in the Netherlands, whilst maintaining a great quality of life. Still there’s some costs you shouldn’t forget about.


Market day at the Vismarkt in Groningen ©Stella Dekker Fotografie

Housing costs

Rent, in particular, is much more affordable than bigger cities such as Amsterdam. However, of course, your biggest expense is still likely to be your rent. Below you can find a guideline of costs of renting in the TopDutch region:

Single rooms€300 - 600
Studios€600 - 1000
1 bedroom apartments€900 - 1100
2 bedroom apartments€1000 - 1500
3+ bedroom apartments/houses€1300+

Other living costs

Alongside rent, you should keep in mind there’ll be other housing costs. These may include for example: 

  • Energy: 1-2 people: approx. €210; 4 person family: approx. €280 per month
  • Water: 1-2 people: €15-20; 4 person family: approx. €28 per month
  • Garbage disposal: 1 person household: €255; 2 person household: €298; 3-7 person household: €362 per year
  • Water taxes: 1 person household: €168 or more people: €308 per year.

Your cost of living, of course, depends on your lifestyle. Like many other European countries, eating out is considered a treat, for example, whereas going to a bar to socialize is more common.

  • Supermarket groceries: Around €200 per month for a single person, around €600 for families.
  • Health insurance: Basic insurance is around €130 a month. However, if you are older than 18, you will have to pay an additional €385 yearly to cover your "own risk" (eigen risico). This is the amount to be paid for special care yourself. If you do not have medical costs in a year, you do not have to pay the €385.
  • Entertainment: On average around €250 a month including eating out, socializing and expenses such as sports/gym.
  • Biking: With distances being relatively short, getting around by bike is common in the Netherlands. There are various types of bikes, ranging from a simple, classical “Dutch bike” to a cargo bike (bakfiets) or motorized e-bike. So you can be sure to find the right bike for your preferences and budget! If you start your biking career in the Netherlands with a basic bike, expect to pay between €75 and €200. If you don’t want to buy your own bike right away, it’s worth checking out Swapfiets, which offers a low-cost monthly bike subscription.
  • Public transportation: The Netherlands also has an extensive public transportation infrastructure, making travelling by train or bus cheap and easy. When using trains or buses, you can simply use your debit card to check in and out at the station. If you’re travelling more frequently, getting a personalized OV-Chipkaart may be useful for accessing discounts and renting bikes at the train stations.