Where to live in Amsterdam
If you're moving Amsterdam, discover which Amsterdam districts will suit your housing needs when looking where to stay in Amsterdam.
If you're planning to move to Amsterdam, you'll find Amsterdam is a vibrant, thriving city, with a low crime rate and good public transport. As with many large cities, Amsterdam is a study in contrasts, where a student squat can rub shoulders with an elegant mansion. For this reason, it can be hard to give an overview of Amsterdam's neighbourhoods, as the atmosphere can change from street to street. Our guide provides an introduction to the different city districts in Amsterdam to help you start your search for a new home, or if you want to search by specific neighbourhoods, read our Amsterdam neighbourhood guide.
Homes in Amsterdam are typically city apartments, so if you're looking for a bit more space, and perhaps a garden, it's a good idea to look further afield. An excellent tram and train network makes it easy to commute from nearby towns and villages. Find out more in our guide to Amsterdam suburbs and commuter towns.
Where to live in Amsterdam: Great for night life and culture
City centre district (Stadsdeel Centrum)
The heart of Amsterdam is a maze of beautiful canals and classic buildings. The area buzzes. Fine dining establishments rub shoulders with fast food joints, museums nudge up against clothes shops, and you can hear live music or visit a nightclub, theatre or bar any night of the year.
City centre at a glance:
- Location: Semicircular area within the Singelgracht Canal, around the central station.
- Housing costs: Very expensive, from EUR 1,200–2,000 per month for a two-bedroom apartment.
- Commuting options: Excellent public transport links as the nearby central station is the hub for trams, buses and trains.
- Cars: Parking is limited and expensive, driving tricky.
- Recreation: Wide selection of theatres, cinemas, bars, restaurants, nightclubs and museums within walking distance. Limited green space but easy access to nearby Vondelpark.
- Shopping: Primarily small boutiques and some small and medium supermarkets, but no malls.
- Neighbourhood: Dense, busy, and urban area. Mainly apartments, many in beautiful old buildings.
Largely made up of new, modern buildings on reclaimed land, Stadsdeel Oost is a mixture of new islands and old docklands. It's home to the University of Amsterdam, making it popular with students. Close to the city centre, it is developing a thriving nightlife as the students mix with young professionals and families.
Stadsdeel Oost at a glance:
- Location: Directly east of Amsterdam city centre.
- Housing costs: Expensive. Private rentals are around EUR 900–2,000 per month for a two-bedroom apartment. Student properties are typically through a central bureau, www.studentenwoningweb.nl.
- Commuting options: Easy cycle to the city centre, and buses and trams are also available. Some islands have ferries.
- Cars: Newbuild properties often have dedicated parking. Driving and street parking are not easy.
- Recreation: Opportunities for water sports abound and some properties have their own docks. Many green and open areas, notably Indische Burt Oost near the University.
- Shopping: Many neighbourhood shops, including supermarkets.
- Neighbourhood: Lots of newbuild accommodation, mostly apartments. Some fabulous views.
Where to live in Amsterdam: Great for students and tight budgets
Home to over 180 nationalities, Stadsdeel West is popular with students and artists, as well as young professionals and families. The blend often gives each street a different feel, and there are surprises around every corner. It's a great choice for expats who long to hear their own language when they order coffee.
Stadsdeel West at a glance:
- Location: Directly west of Amsterdam city centre.
- Housing costs: Vary from street to street, from EUR 750–2,000 per month for a two-bedroom apartment. Lower priced properties are often social housing, for which a strict income-based allotment applies.
- Commuting options: Easy cycle to the city centre. Numerous bus and tram connections to the centre and business parks.
- Cars: Not many properties have dedicated parking spots. Driving and parking are both difficult.
- Recreation: Close to Vondelpark and Rembrandtpark, the area has lots of street life as well as live music and bars. Restaurants cover dozens of cuisines.
- Shopping: Great area for outdoor markets, quirky boutiques and specialist food stores. Not many large stores.
- Neighbourhood: Primarily older housing, Stadsdeel West is a mix of up-and-coming streets and more downmarket areas.
An area under redevelopment, Stadsdeel Noord has a mix of modern and older housing. The outskirts retain their village feel, while closer to the centre industrial buildings and ship yards are giving way to artists, new media and modern apartments. The district is across the IJ harbour from the city centre, so commuting means taking one of three free ferries to the station, or one of three tunnels.
Stadsdeel Noord at a glance:
- Location: Directly north and north-east of Amsterdam city centre.
- Housing costs: Varied, mainly depending on the age of the buildings. Typically from EUR 750–1,500 per month for a two-bedroom apartment.
- Commuting options: Bus, bicycle or ferry. Metro line due to be completed in 2017.
- Cars: Parking is typically limited and driving into the city centre is via three tunnels.
- Recreation: Busy cultural life, with art galleries, live music and many restaurants. Parks, including Volewijkspark, host festivals and events in summer.
- Shopping: You can still find local butchers, bakers and grocers, as well as outdoor markets and a modern shopping mall.
- Neighbourhood: Big mix of housing, from experimental student housing in shipping containers through new apartments to traditional workers' cottages.
Where to live in Amsterdam: Great for families
Home to the British School and with easy access to Amsterdam's International School, Stadsdeel Zuid is popular for expats with growing families. The area is known for being safe and clean, and has some of the poshest (and most expensive) housing in Amsterdam.
Stadsdeel Zuid at a glance:
- Location: Directly south of Amsterdam city centre.
- Housing costs: Expensive, typically from EUR 1,500–2,500 per month for a three-bedroom property, usually an apartment.
- Commuting options: Easy cycle to the city centre and possibly Amstelveen. Many bus and tram routes connect the area.
- Cars: Not many properties have dedicated parking. Driving and parking are difficult.
- Recreation: The Vondelpark is a large and charming park, popular with all ages. The neighbourhood is also home to Amsterdam's museum quarter.
- Shopping: Upmarket boutiques and clothes shops are the norm and the area is home to the famous Albert Cuypmarkt, a large outdoor market.
- Neighbourhood: Quieter, residential neighbourhoods still close to the city centre; dense housing, often beautiful older buildings.
Where to live in Amsterdam: Great for being active
Home to the Ajax Arena as well as many sports grounds, parks and running trails, Stadsdeel Zuidoost is ideal for anyone who enjoys being active. Urban renewal over the last two decades has also given this area a vibrant cultural life and new housing.
Stadsdeel Zuidoost at a glance:
- Location: Approximately 10km south-east of Amsterdam city centre.
- Housing costs: From EUR 650 per month for a two-bedroom house or apartment.
- Commuting options: It's possible to cycle, take the bus or the train.
- Cars: Parking is easier than in other areas, and if you're heading out of the city, commuting by car may make sense.
- Recreation: Major sports facilities, music and theatre venues. Regular festivals and community events.
- Shopping: Bijmer station is home to a large mall with all kinds of shops as well as cinemas and concert halls. Otherwise, shops tend to be scattered and mainly chain stores.
- Neighbourhood: A quiet, green area, popular with families and gardeners as yards and allotments are common.
Where to live in Amsterdam: Great for peace and quiet
A sprawling suburb to the west of Amsterdam city centre, Stadsdeel Niew-West is a green and pleasant land with many parks and space for sports. Sloterplas and Nieuwe Meer are great for water sports.
Stadsdeel Nieuw-West at a glance:
- Location: West of Amsterdam, up to half way to Haarlem.
- Housing costs: Reasonable, from EUR 1,000–1,800 for a three-bedroom apartment or house.
- Commuting options: Numerous bus routes connect to the city centre, as do some trams. It's about 20–60 minutes to cycle.
- Cars: Many properties have parking either on site or on the street. It's possible to commute by car, particularly if you're going away from the city centre.
- Recreation: Public parks are numerous, theatres, cinemas and restaurants are not.
- Shopping: There are some small businesses but most people travel to larger malls or the city centre if they need something special.
- Neighbourhood: A quiet, primarily residential neighbourhood with many different types and styles of housing, including houses with gardens.
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