Where to live near Amsterdam

Where to live near Amsterdam

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Excellent transport links mean that living outside of Amsterdam and commuting daily is a viable option, opening up your options for finding a Dutch property.

From traditional Dutch villages to student cities, there are many great places to live close to Amsterdam, while still being accessible enough to commute and work in the Dutch capital.

Housing in Amsterdam and its suburbs tends to be densely packed, so if you're looking for a large family home or perhaps need space for animals or a hobby, expand your search to the countryside around the city.

The excellent cycle path network makes even long cycle commutes safe and practical. Additionally, the Netherlands has a reliable and effective train network, making it easy to commute from one town or city to another. This is particularly advantageous if you and your partner want to work or study in different cities. It's not uncommon for students to live at home and travel the length of the country to attend lectures. Bicycles are welcome on most trains, although not at rush hour, and stations have extensive cycle parking. Travelling by car is typically fraught with expensive parking and often rare parking spaces.

If you're looking for a home in Amsterdam itself, check out our article on where to live in Amsterdam and our guide to Amsterdam's neighbourhoods. If you're looking for the best of both worlds, a lower rent and a vibrant city life, several nearby cities wll fit the bill.

Where to live near Amsterdam: Great for night life and culture

Living in Haarlem

A popular choice if you want a small city feel while still being close to Amsterdam. Haarlem has been a city since 1275 and now has a population of over 150,000. It has a strong culture and nightlife. Great transport links make it easier to get into the centre than from some of Amsterdam's own suburbs. Read about where to live in Haarlem.

Haarlem at a glance:

  • Location: 20km west of Amsterdam.
  • Housing costs: Prices tend to be higher in the centre and near the station. Rents typically range from EUR 700–1,500 per month for a two-bedroom apartment. 
  • Commuting options: Train to Amsterdam takes around 15–20 minutes, buses take somewhat longer depending on the route. Driving is possible, depending on your destination.
  • Cars: Very limited parking in the city centre but the suburbs have better parking.
  • Recreation: A cultural centre in its own right, Haarlem has museums, theatres, restaurants and bars in the centre. Lovely walks and green spaces along the River Sparne.
  • Neighbourhood: Various neighbourhoods, including city centre and suburbs.
  • See the Haarlem municipality website for more information.

Where to live in the Amsterdam suburbs
Living in Leiden
Home to the country's oldest university, Leiden has a beautiful historic city centre, and plenty of life. The young and diverse population give the city a vibrant feel without being overwhelming. The population is around 100–120,000 people, 20 percent of which are students. Read about where to live in Leiden.

Leiden at a glance:

  • Location: 45km south-west of Amsterdam.
  • Housing costs: Moderate, from EUR 750–1,500 for a two-bedroom apartment.
  • Commuting options: To Amsterdam it's around 35 minutes by train or 40 minutes by car, if the roads are clear.
  • Cars: Driving and parking in the city centre is difficult.
  • Recreation: Museums, theatres, bars and restaurants are found throughout the city centre. The two rivers and many parks provide a pleasant outdoor space.
  • Shopping: The city centre is a shopping destination for the whole region. Large supermarkets and big box stalls are on the outskirts.
  • Neighbourhood: The town houses and apartments in the city turn into modern apartments and family homes as they sprawl outwards.
  • See the Leiden municipality website for more information.


Where to live near Amsterdam: Great for students and tight budgets

Living in Hoofddorp

It was founded in the 1850s on land from a large inland lake, and the area is now home to many family homes. Although the town is small and peaceful, with a low crime rate and good schools, it is directly in the Schiphol flight path and very close to the airport, meaning property prices tend to be lower.

Hoofddorp at a glance:

  • Location: 20km south-west of Amsterdam.
  • Housing costs: Lower than average, particularly in the Schiphol flight path. Typically from EUR 1,000–1,500 per month for a four-bedroom house.
  • Commuting options: Train takes around 20–30 minutes to Amsterdam, buses somewhat longer. Schiphol airport is nearby.
  • Cars: Easy motorway access and many homes have parking.
  • Recreation: Little entertainment beyond a few bars and restaurants. Plenty of attractive green parks, even in the city centre.
  • Shopping: Large shopping area in city centre as well as big box stores on the outskirts.
  • Neighbourhood: Many single-family homes and low-density apartments.
  • See the Haarlemmermeer municipality website for more information.


Living in Utrecht
It's the fourth largest city in the Netherlands, and Utrecht has a historic city centre, sprawling suburbs and a world top 50 university. As well as cultural events, theatres and museums, it's also known as a bit of a party town, thanks to its 75,000 strong student population. Find out where to live in Utrecht.

Utrecht at a glance:

  • Location: 40km south-east of Amsterdam.
  • Housing costs: Moderate, from EUR 650–1,200 for a two-bedroom apartment, depending on proximity to city centre and train station. Family homes are from EUR 1,000–2,000 per month, typically farther out.
  • Commuting options: Intercity train takes 27 minutes.
  • Cars: Parking is difficult in the city centre but easier in the suburbs. Roads typically busy during rush hour.
  • Recreation: Museums, theatres, culture and nightlife all focused in the city centre. Several small parks in central area.
  • Shopping: Many shops of all sizes in city centre. Big box stores at city's edge.
  • Neighbourhood: A mix including city centre apartments and suburbs.

Best places to live in Amsterdam
Where to live near Amsterdam: Great for families

Living in Amstelveen
A quiet suburb, and home to the International School of Amsterdam, Amstelveen is a popular choice for expats with kids. It provides easy access to nearby parks and countryside, as well as being within commuting distance of the centre. Read about where to live in Amstelveen.

Amstelveen at a glance:

  • Location: South of Amsterdam, near Schiphol airport.
  • Housing costs: Affordable, from around EUR 700–900 per month for a two-bedroom apartment.
  • Commuting options: An easy cycle to the many large companies located nearby. Trams, metro and buses connect the town to Amsterdam city centre with a journey time of about 45–60 minutes.
  • Cars: Make sure your property has allocated parking as public parking is limited.
  • Recreation: Bordered by the Amsterdamse Bos, a park the size of a neighbourhood, the area also has cinemas, restaurants and some decent bars.
  • Shopping: Several malls and shopping strips, mostly chain stores and large supermarkets.
  • Neighbourhood: Dense suburban housing with a mix of family homes and apartments.
  • Read more on Amstelveen municipality website.


Living in Diemen
A small town entirely surrounded by Amsterdam city districts, Diemen provides family housing within easy commuting distance of the city centre. The cultural life is overshadowed by Amsterdam, but there is plenty of family friendly entertainment.

Diemen at a glance:

  • Location: Around 9km south-east of Amsterdam city centre.
  • Housing costs: Moderate, from around EUR 800–1,200 per month for a three-bedroom apartment or small house.
  • Commuting options: Trains to the city centre take 15 minutes. Bus or bike also possible.
  • Cars: Street parking is available in many areas. Houses often have one parking space and apartment buildings tend to have some parking.
  • Recreation: Some cinemas, bars and restaurants. Plenty of green space including the main park, Diemerpolder, and walks along the river and canals.
  • Shopping: Many small shops in walkable neighbourhoods. Large shops and supermarkets also scattered throughout.
  • Neighbourhood: A mix of single-family houses and apartment blocks. Lots of families.
  • Read more on Diemen municipality website.


Living in Almere
A planned city, Almere has lots of parks and lakes, and pleasant, peaceful neighbourhoods. The housing stock is also very new, compared to the rest of the country, as the first house was built here in the 1970s. Around 35 percent of the population are immigrants. 

Almere at a glance:

  • Location: 35km east of Amsterdam, on an island.
  • Housing costs: Affordable, from EUR 800–1,500 per month for a four-bedroom house.
  • Commuting options: Trains to Amsterdam take 20–35 minutes and there are six railways stations. By car, the trip is about 35 minutes with clear traffic.
  • Cars: The city has plenty of parking and most homes have at least one parking space. Easy access to the A6 motorway.
  • Recreation: Pretty port area of Almere-Haven has restaurants and bars by the water.
  • Shopping: Boutique shops and larger chain stores clustered in several shopping areas. Some malls.
  • Neighbourhood: Growing rapidly with constant new developments. Primarily walkable, quiet neighbourhoods with family houses and low-density apartments.
  • Read more on Almere municipality website.

Where to live near Amsterdam: Great for being active

Living in Aalsmeer

Home to the world's largest flower auction, Aalsmeer is a popular tulip viewing destination. On the edge of a lake and surrounded by field of flowers in the spring and summer, it's a beautiful place to walk or cycle and the town centre is pleasant too. Schiphol Airport is nearby, so some areas are noisy.

Aalsmeer at a glance:

  • Location: 20km south-west of Amsterdam, between Amsterdam, Haarlem, Utrecht and Leiden.
  • Commuting options: The train to Amsteradm takes around 50 minutes, while on a clear road the car journey is just 30 minutes.
  • Cars: Many houses have dedicated parking, plus street parking is available. Easy motorway access to Amsterdam, Haarlen, Utrecht, Leiden and Rotterdam.
  • Recreation: A quiet town with little nightlife but plenty of sports and outdoor activities. Public parks throughout the city.
  • Shopping: The city centre shops are clustered near the station, while larger shops, supermarkets and malls are farther out.
  • Neighbourhood: The centre is denser housing, mostly apartments, while farther out are single-family homes and low-rise apartment blocks.
  • Read more on Aalsmeer municipality website.


Living in Purmerend
Primarily a commuter town for Amsterdam, Purmerend has little nightlife and most of its inhabitants work in Amsterdam. Surrounded by agricultural land, Purmerend has a golf course, several public parks, waterways and is near the Markenmeer. It's a good choice for those who prefer to spend their leisure time outdoors.

Purmerend at a glance:

  • Location: 20km north of Amsterdam.
  • Housing costs: Affordable, from EUR 800–1,500 per month for a four-bedroom house.
  • Commuting options: There are three stations and the train to Amsterdam takes around 30 minutes. On a clear road the car takes the same. There are also buses.
  • Cars: Most houses have parking, and there's easy access to the A7 north/south motorway.
  • Recreation: Little nightlife and limited cultural events but plenty of possibilities for hiking, watersports and cycling.
  • Shopping: Good city centre shopping district plus supermarkets and malls farther out of town.
  • Neighbourhood: Rapid expansion means a good supply of new suburbs with family homes and low-density apartments.
  • Read more on Purmerend municipality website.


Where to live near Amsterdam: Great for peace and quiet

Living in Zaandam
This is a quiet commuter town outside Amsterdam, and Zaandam is full of pretty streets and houses with gardens. It has a main shopping street, a small museum and is home to Europe's first McDonalds. It's easy to get out of town to explore the Dutch countryside and waterways.

Zaandam at a glance:

  • Location: Approximately 12km north-west of Amsterdam's 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 easy with many houses having a garage and street parking. Commuting into the city is difficult.
  • Recreation: Zaandam has a small town feel with some cinemas, independent restaurants and chains.
  • Shopping: The town centre has both chain shops and independent boutiques and there are supermarkets scattered in the suburbs.
  • Neighbourhood: Attractive for its small town feel and its proximity to Amsterdam.
  • Read more on Zaanstad municipality website.


Living in Naarden
The old town is inside an amazing star fort, an earthworks in the shape of a star and surrounded by water. As a result, most housing is scattered around the town proper, in small, quiet and family-friendly suburbs.

Naarden at a glance:

  • Nicest places to live in AmsterdamLocation: 25km east of Amsterdam, by the water.
  • Housing costs: Affordable, from around EUR 800–1,500 for a four-bedroom house.
  • Commuting options: Trains take around 45 minutes to get to Amsterdam. Easy motorway access.
  • Cars: Most houses have parking, and this small town is quite car friendly outside the fort area.
  • Recreation: Quiet neighbourhoods with outdoor play areas and public parks. Little nightlife but plenty of watersports on the nearby Gooimeer.
  • Shopping: Quirky boutiques in the old town centre with larger shops and supermarkets scattered around the suburbs.
  • Neighbourhood: Mostly family homes and walkable suburban neighbourhoods.
  • Read more on Naarden municipality website.

 

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Photo credits: David Iliff (Utrecht), Ellywa (Almere), Janericloebe (Naarden).

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2 Comments To This Article

  • Faz posted:

    on 10th March 2015, 15:31:23 - Reply

    I live in Hoofddorp city centre and work in Amsterdam for 7 years now. Not all the areas in Hoofddorp are directly in the flight path as mentioned. It's not a cheap place either as mentioned. Of course the house prices are cheaper compared to Amsterdam, but most of the houses are new, so the quality of the houses you stay are in the highest quality. You spend less on energy bills/house maintenance because the housing is of top quality. It is very good for families, because it is quiet and safe with lot of children playing area. No highway noise as the highway is quite far from the city centre. Due to the absence of highway there is less air pollution in the centre. Very easily reachable to Amsterdam by public transport(30 mins) car (20 mins). By car there are 4 different routes to reach Amsterdam. In the morning traffic, I reach Amsterdam Slotervaart (My work place) in 20 mins by choosing the best route. You can also reach Amsterdam International School easily with public transport. The sprinter train running time from Hoofddorp station to Amsterdam centraal is 22 minutes
    The shopping centre is big with many variety of shops ranging from small budget to the highest budget. This is the biggest shopping centre next to Amsterdam in Noord Holland.
    Apart from this Hoofddorp has spaarne ziekenhuis, one of the cleanest hospitals I have ever seen.

    Summary:
    If you are expecting nightlife, then Hoofddorp is not the place for you.
    But If you want a peaceful and safe family life with kids, then Hoofddorp is a better place to live close to Amsterdam. Also if you love shopping and want to live close to the centre with affordable pricing, then hoofddorp is the best place for you.

  • CathyScott posted:

    on 9th February 2015, 13:55:11 - Reply

    I went to Haarlem this morning, and it was still situated to the north-west of Amsterdam (not the east). Apart from that (and the missing 'n' in 'Zaandam'), it's good to see Expatica taking some interest in areas outside Amsterdam. Thanks!