Deciding to move to another city can be really exciting, and if you decide to move to another country, now that’s a really huge step. Your future city and country must suit your needs and personality, so you should be careful when choosing your future home. However, if your home-to-be must be Amsterdam, because of a job offer or simply because some other reason that is imposed to you, do not worry because Amsterdam is always a great idea. In the next few passages we will prove that, with some useful tips that will ease your relocation.
First thing first: documentation. When you go to register to live in Amsterdam you should bring official proof of identity (birth certificate, marriage certificate and other legal documents). Make sure that your documents are legally translated because they may request that and of course that they are officially authenticated. If you get relocated by your company, you can easily rely on them because they are obligated to take care of everything for you, including any necessary paperwork and visas. However, in that case your visa will only be valid as long as you work for that company. If come from a country which is in the European Union you will only need your passport or national ID to enter the country; and for the people from outside the EU, the entry visa is required. As for the other requirements you need, you can check that easily by getting in touch with the nearest Dutch mission abroad. Also, non-EU nationals must apply for residence permit if they want to move to Amsterdam for a period longer than three months.
When it comes to accommodation, you should know that renting is the best option if you are planning to stay there up to five years. When you rent a home, it is possible that a landlord might ask you to pay a deposit. The reasonable deposit amounts to a rent of one or two months. Although house prices have been falling there since 2008, the same thing cannot be said for renting. The reason for this is probably because there is more and more demand for the city apartments. The most desirable locations for living are the Nine Streets, De Jordaan, De Pijp and Plantage. De Jordaan and the Nine Streets are the most expensive ones since they are within the city center where everyone wants to live. As for the other two, De Pijp and Plantage, they are just outside the city centre. They are the new, trendy and attractive places to live now, so hurry up until the prices go up there, too. The areas within the main ring of canals are the most expensive, but if you go outside the Grachtengordel, the prices are lower.
When it comes to language, you do pretty well if you are fluent in English. When you go outside the city centre, outside the tourist zone, you will need some Dutch to communicate with people around you. Nevertheless, there are many people who don’t speak Dutch and live there for years. If you know some German it will be easier for you to learn Dutch. The government offers a course on Dutch, so ask around to plan your classes.
Getting your health insurance is mandatory, no matter if you already have one in your country. You can at least get a basic insurance package.
Amsterdam is not a big city, and as you probably heard the bikes are really popular around here. Public transportation is excellent; you can get anywhere easily because of the great network of trams, buses and subways. The regular service stops after midnight, but there are night buses. The tickets can be bought at the subway stations, or right on the trams and buses. The other option is to get an OV-chipkaart, which you just top up and swipe when you get on and off a tram or bus. You can also use a taxi, but since there are many one-way streets and a lot of bridges, it is easier and quicker to use other ways of transportation. Download the 9292 application which works across the Netherlands that can help you for planning a route using public transport. As you all probably know, bikes are basically a symbol and the first thing that you think about when you hear Netherlands. If you rent a bike, you will see just how perfect Amsterdam streets are when we talk about cycling. Of course that locals prefer biking to any other way of transportation and they use their bikes no matter the weather. Choose whatever suits you the best; if you spend a lot of time in the city, getting a bike is the best and cheapest option. You can rent it or you can buy it and if you decide to buy it-invest in it. You will need a sturdy bike that will last and survive all weather conditions. No matter how much you are careful with your bike, do not count that others will be too; people placing their bike next to yours will not be that attentive probably, so don’t worry if you see some scratches every time you leave it in the city. What’s important here is that you should buy a very good lock, because no matter how low the crime rate in Amsterdam is, the bike theft is incredibly common.
Make sure that you cover the important stuff at the beginning: the documents, the apartment, health insurance. Then, try learning few phrases in Dutch, join some Facebook groups to find some contacts and go out and explore your new home.