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Excerpted from the Netherlands Career Guide

Cost of Living

The cost of living in the Netherlands remains reasonable by Western European norms, or even by global standards. No Dutch cities appear in consulting firm Mercer’s list of the top ten most expensive cities in the world. Amsterdam ranked 39th on the list of 211 cities worldwide. The ranking is the product of Mercer’s annual Cost of Living survey, which measures the comparative costs of more than 200 goods and services in each surveyed location.

In Eurocost International’s most recent survey measuring Europe’s most expensive cities for expats, Amsterdam ranks 12th and The Hague, 19th. However, no Dutch cities make Eurocost’s list of the top 30 most expensive cities worldwide.


The Dutch property market is unique in that historically it has had low owner occupancy and the largest social housing sector in Europe. Finding a place to live in the Netherlands can be a challenge, especially in the larger cities such as Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam and Utrecht. The current housing shortage in the Netherlands is approximately 3.5 percent, or roughly 250,000 homes, and that shortage is expected to increase further to around four percent by 2020.

Medical Care and Health Insurance

 The Dutch health care system has been rated the best in Europe. The most recent Euro Health Consumer Index ranked the health care systems of 34 European nations based on patient rights and information, accessibility to health services, health outcomes, the range and reach of provided services, and pharmaceuticals. Within this ranking, the Netherlands placed a strong first. In fact, the Netherlands is the only country that has consistently been among the top three in the total ranking of every European Index published by the Health Consumer Powerhouse since 2005.

Vacation and Leave

Under Dutch law, an employee is entitled to a yearly paid holiday of at least four times the number of specified working days a week. Typically, this means 20 days per year, calculated at five days per week multiplied by four. This is the statutory minimum for full-time employees. For employment that lasted less than one year, leave is calculated proportionately. Salary continues to be paid during holiday leave, and workers are entitled to a holiday allowance of 8 percent of gross annual salary. Holidays can usually be taken whenever a worker chooses.

This is just a short sample of what you’ll find in over 100 pages of information in the complete Netherlands Guide.

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