The Hague expat cost of living 2021

The Hague expat cost of living 2021 – that will be the topic of today’s article.

Many people assume that the Netherlands is an expensive place to live as an expat, but is that really the case?

We will also look at some of the other factors about living in the city.

Nothing written here should be considered formal tax, or any other kind of advice, and some of the things might change over time.

For any questions, or if you are looking to invest as an expat, you can contact me using  this form, or use the WhatsApp function below.

The best time to review your situation is often when you are moving to a new country.


The Netherlands is one of the most highly developed countries in Europe: the main offices of many industrial giants are located here, and local companies are successfully working for export. At the beginning of 2020, the unemployment rate in the state was only 3% – one of the lowest in Europe. 

Thanks to the progressive taxation system in the Netherlands, there is no strong social stratification, and the special conditions for foreigners attract more and more specialists, especially those with high qualifications. How much is the cost of living in one of the beautiful and developed cities after Amsterdam? We will try to show you all the types of expenses a resident or a non-resident can face while traveling or living in the Hague

About the city

The Hague (Den Haag) – seat of government, parliament and royal court, the third largest and one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands. But above all, it is known for the fact that it houses the Peace Palace, which is the seat of the UN International Court of Justice.

The Hague is much quieter and quieter than Amsterdam. The streets here are slightly wider, which gives it a more continental look. The city is full of typical 17th century Dutch Renaissance buildings, as well as 18th century baroque and classic houses. 

Surprisingly cute and eclectic houses from the 19th century are found in the surrounding area – a striking example of the Art Nouveau style. In the last 10 years, buildings of modern architecture have also begun to appear in The Hague. 

For example, the Town Hall Central Library by the American architect Richard Meyer, the Snoeptrommel shopping center, popularly known as the “Candy Box”.

The population of the Netherlands in March 2015 is 16,908,443 people. In the list of countries by the number of inhabitants, the Netherlands occupies 65th place. With an area of ​​41,526 km², according to 2010 data, the Netherlands has a population density of 496 people per square kilometer.

According to the Central Bureau of Statistics of the Netherlands, in the first quarter of 2012, 42 921 people were born in the country, 37 806 people died, immigration was 35 084, emigration – 24 219. Thus, the total population growth for the selected period was 7 825 people. The average life expectancy is 78.81 years. The Netherlands has a very high level of urbanization: 89% of the population lives in the city.

The Netherlands is the 15th most densely populated country in the world and is ranked 4th in Europe for this indicator after Monaco, the Vatican and Malta. Largely due to this, the Netherlands is one of the countries with the most developed transport and information infrastructure. The Internet is used by 14.872 million people or 89.1% of the country’s population – the 27th indicator in the world.


In 2019, the average cost of housing in the secondary market in the Netherlands increased by 6.9% and amounted to just over € 300,000.

Meanwhile, prices in the country vary greatly depending on the municipality. The most expensive offers are in North Holland, where Amsterdam is also located. In this region, the average selling price was € 485 thousand. At the same time, the most expensive city for buying a secondary property in this region is Bloemendal. There, the average sale price is € 832 thousand. The top ten expensive cities also include Blaricum (€ 775,900), Laren (€ 768,100), Wassenaar (€ 711,300), Rosendal (€ 667,400), Hemstade (€ 626,600), Amstelveen (€ 525,200). Rounding out the list are Guiz-Mehren (€ 510,200), Ouder-Amstel (€ 494,100) and Bergen (€ 488,400).

If you are interested in more affordable options, then they are located in Groningen, where the average cost of housing is € 219,000.

Unlike other European countries, students in the Netherlands rarely live on campuses, as most Dutch universities simply do not have them. Some universities book hotel rooms or rent from the private sector, but this option is only available to first-year students. Then you have to look for housing on your own.

Prices fluctuate depending on the location, baseline conditions (apartment / house or room), housing condition, etc., but start, on average, from € 250-300. For example, a furnished room in Amsterdam will cost € 300-600 per month, taking into account utilities and the Internet. The cost of living in a student hostel (own room, but the kitchen, shower and toilet are shared) will be € 275-500 per month. For long-term rental housing, foreign students require registration. It is also more profitable to conclude a lease agreement, taking into account utilities. And do not forget about city taxes (for garbage disposal, maintenance of the local area, etc.) – either you or the lessor pay them by agreement.

This also includes mandatory insurance costs (standard, € 100 per month), prepaid mobile communications (€ 0.21 per 1 minute), cable Internet (if not included in the rental price, € 20 per month) and utilities (if not included in the rental price, from € 150 euros per month).


The bets in Amsterdam, to put it mildly, bite. Therefore, most people rent an apartment with two or three neighbors. Prices vary greatly in different areas of the capital. For example, an equipped one-room apartment in the center will cost € 1.80 thousand per month, and a three-bedroom unfurnished apartment on the western outskirts will cost € 1.65 thousand. For € 1.0-1.2 thousand it is really possible to find a tiny studio in a remote area, for a good room in a well-located apartment – pay € 700-800.

The most expensive rent is in the south and in the city center, the cheapest – in the north, since the housing is located across the strait. Nevertheless, prices there are now growing, since in 2018 the metro appeared and it became easier to get to the center.

Features of the apartment rental

  • To find rental housing, use the resources of Funda, Pararius, Kamernet, Amsterdam apartments 4 rent.
  • You can use the services of an agent, but be prepared to pay one monthly payment for his work. One way or another, you will have to face an agent from the homeowner. Despite the fact that in this case you do not have to pay a commission by law, many agents still take money from the tenant (€ 200-300), often adding VAT (21%) for the execution of the contract. Since the demand for rent in the city is very high, tenants do not pay attention to such manipulations.
  • Remember that in Amsterdam, the decision is made by the owner, not you, as there are always many requests for one apartment. Therefore, if you liked the property, send a motivation letter to the owner through the agent, in which you mention stable work, the absence of bad habits, pets, a promise not to make noise and pay everything on time. It would be useful to add a salary statement. If you really liked the option, you can offer a higher price (plus 10-15%).
  • The contract is concluded for 12 months. Before termination, the owner must notify of his decision one to two months in advance. The deposit is required, in the amount of one or two monthly payments.
  • Most of the apartments are rented unfurnished, only with a kitchen set.

Utility bills

In most cases, these bills are not included in the rent – you pay extra for water, gas and electricity. Suppliers in all three cases are different: for water – only Waternet, for gas and electricity – a lot, you need to google and compare reviews, rates. Make your choice wisely, as the contract with the supplier can only be terminated after a year.

The amount you will pay per month directly depends on the area of ​​the property and the number of residents. For example, if there are two of you, and the apartment is spacious and double, cold water will cost about € 15 per month, gas and electricity – € 100-110. An additional item is the Internet – € 35-40.

Communication and Internet

There are four main operators: KPN, Tele2, Vodafone, T-Mobile. The rest of the providers use their network. Tele2 and T-Mobile have the highest ratings for the quality of coverage, communication and service.

Prices vary depending on the operator and package. For example, the largest national provider KPN 5 GB + unlimited calls and SMS will cost € 25 per month. A purely card for calls and messages costs € 5, and the connection fee is € 25.

Tele2 has more loyal requirements: for connection – € 20, for a package of 7 GB and an unlimited number of minutes – € 15-17 (depending on the wishes regarding the terms of tariff change).

Public transport

  • Bicycles. Perhaps the main mode of transport in the city: there are more bicycles in the city than residents (according to official data). In the center, near the train station, there is the largest concentration of cyclists, so you should walk carefully. The rental costs € 9-12 per day, in the case of renting for a month, the price tag will be much lower. But keep in mind that bicycles are constantly stolen, so you better choose the most unsightly option. For the same reason, do not buy it from your hands on the street: it is probably stolen, and you may be attracted for facilitating theft.
  • Metro, trams, buses. An hour trip – € 3.2, on a night bus (runs from 00.30 to 7.00) – € 4.5, the ticket is valid for an hour and a half. Travel pass for a day – € 8.5, for three days – € 19.0, for a week – € 36.5, for a month – € 97.5. Residents can get a special personalized card that allows them to move around the country by any means of transport. The fare is based on distance, within Amsterdam – always less than € 3.
  • Taxi. It is expensive, rarely less than € 20. This is the amount you will pay for a 10-minute ride around the center; from the center to the airport (22 km) – € 35-50 depending on the taxi service. The official rate per kilometer is € 2.35. You have to wait for a car for a long time, for 20-30 minutes, and during rush hours, drivers often drive at a double rate.
  • Trains. They run frequently, precisely according to the schedule, routes – from local to intercity and international. Tickets – at the machine, box office or through the official website. The fare from the airport to the station is € 4.5, for the same you can get to Haarlem, for € 8.0 – to Utrecht, for € 16.0 – to Rotterdam.
  • Car. It is very expensive, as the authorities do their best to motivate people to switch to bicycles and public transport. A liter of gasoline costs € 1.7, there are very few parking spaces, and the closer to the center, the more expensive: from € 1.4 per hour on the outskirts to € 7.0 near the station.

Food and Cafes

The most budgetary chain of stores in the Hague is Groszek XL. AH Grote Marktstraat is also popular, as its stores are everywhere and are open until 21:00 and the quality of the products is always high. The variety of products is large, there is a minimum of household goods – they are sold in specialized stores.

Average food prices in supermarkets in the Hague:

  • Milk, 1 liter – € 1.0
  • Chicken fillet, 1 kg – € 10.8
  • Lightly salted salmon, 300 g – € 5.0
  • Eggs, 10 pieces – € 3.0
  • Loaf of bread – € 1.5
  • Sur gouda (400 g) – € 3.0
  • Apples, 1 kg – € 2.2
  • Bananas, 1 kg – € 1.7
  • Oranges, 1 kg – € 1.8
  • Peaches, 1 kg – € 2.4
  • Potatoes, 1 kg – € 1.7
  • Cucumbers, 1 kg – € 2.0
  • Strawberry, 400 g – € 2.4
  • Sweet cherry, 500 g – € 3.0
  • Wine (bottle) – € 6.0-8.0
  • Dutch beer (0.5 liters) – € 1.2
  • On average, a meal per person per month costs € 150-200


The prices in food establishments in the Hague are far from the lowest. The most budgetary options are Turkish and Asian eateries. You can have an inexpensive snack at cafes (sandwiches – from € 4), as well as in small cafes. Fresh burgers and croquettes from the vending machine are a good option for a snack. This “wall food” (as the locals call it) can be found under the signs FEBO and Smullers. A local delicacy is sold in the malls – herring with pickled cucumbers and onions, a portion costs € 2.5–4.0.

Prices in a mid-range cafe:

  • Soup portion – € 5.0-6.0
  • Full hearty breakfast – € 10.0-15.0
  • Dinner for two (three courses plus a drink) – € 50.0-60.0
  • Glass of wine or beer – € 3.5-5.0
  • A cup of cappuccino – from € 3.0

Other expenses

The medicine

All Dutch citizens have health insurance. The system is similar to many European countries: first you go to an appointment with a therapist (huisarts) who refers you to a specialist. The cost of the basic package starts from € 110 per month, this includes consultations with a family doctor and specialists, as well as an emergency call.

  • It is not uncommon for a general practitioner to prescribe paracetamol for almost any disease and recommends being outdoors more often. Antibiotics are usually switched over if symptoms persist for more than two weeks. But this can often be heard from expats in Spain, Italy, Germany. Despite this, Dutch citizens live on average 81 years.
  • Pregnancy monitoring begins no earlier than the 13th week; analyzes and examinations (including ultrasound) at least. Paid maternity leave lasts up to 16 weeks, then – only at your own expense for up to six months (both mother and father can take).
  • Dentist services can be added to the basic package: if you cover € 450 per year, you will have to pay an additional € 20-25 per month. Without insurance, a scheduled check-up with a dentist costs € 50, and a tooth extraction costs € 200–300. Dental insurance can be purchased separately – € 37.5 when services are covered for € 1,150 per year.
  • An ambulance call is only covered if the doctors think it is reasonable. For example, in case of severe blood loss. If you broke your leg, you will most likely have to pay a fine, since in this condition you could call a taxi and get to the hospital yourself.

Entertainment and care

  • Manicure – from € 30, haircut – from € 30, face cleaning – € 70.
  • Unlimited gym membership – € 25–40.
  • Museum card (residents only) – € 65 per year. One-time entrance to museums starts at € 11.

Salaries and taxes in the Hague

It is also important to get to known with the salaries in Netherlands, to have an idea how much you can earn while living there.

Minimum wage in the Netherlands

Every employee in the Netherlands between the ages of 21 and 65 who is employed during standard working hours (36–40 hours per week) is entitled to the statutory minimum wage. According to official information from the Dutch government, from January 1, 2021, the minimum wage in the Netherlands is 1,684.80 euros per month (388.80 euros per week and 77.76 euros per day).

For persons aged 15 to 20 years, lower rates are provided, calculated as a percentage (from 30 to 80%) of the basic minimum wage.

The Dutch minimum wage is reviewed by the local government twice a year – on January 1 and July 1. According to this indicator, the Netherlands is ahead of most of the EU countries, including countries such as France (1,554.58 euros) and Belgium (1,625.72). For violation of labor law norms related to the understatement of the minimum wage, Dutch employers may be subject to fines ranging from 12 to 40 thousand euros.

Average salary in the Netherlands

According to the Dutch Central Planning Bureau, the average salary in the Netherlands in 2021 is 2,855 euros per month before taxes. The local worker has an annual income of 37,000 euros. After all the required deductions, the monthly average salary in Holland is about 2,152 euros. It is noteworthy that specialists in the public sector, including the television industry, are legally prohibited from earning more than 181 thousand euros per year.

In order for the local employer, when hiring a foreign specialist, not to have to prove to the authorities that the Dutch or EU citizens are not applying for the vacancy, highly qualified foreign workers planning to obtain a residence permit in the Netherlands for the purpose of employment are required to conclude a work contract with a monthly salary in 2021. less:

  • 4,612 euros for residents over 30 years old
  • 3,381 euros for residents under 30
  • 2,423 euros for foreign graduates of local universities (first year after graduation)

The average salary in the Netherlands depends on qualifications, experience, profession, economic sector and specific region. For example, a job in Amsterdam brings in an annual income of 50.1 thousand euros for men and 40.8 thousand euros for women. On the eve of the summer vacation, it is customary in the Netherlands to pay a holiday allowance in the amount of 8% of the annual salary. In the context of individual professions, the range of salaries in Holland is very different. For example, secretaries receive in the range of 26-40 thousand euros per year, and programmers from 30 to 85 thousand.

Income taxes in the Netherlands

In the Netherlands, payroll taxes are quite high. For example, the income tax rate for persons with an annual salary of more than 68.5 thousand euros is 49.50%. But thanks to various tax incentives, the lion’s share of earnings (about 75%) still remains at the disposal of the local worker.

Personal tax credit (for people with low income) in the Netherlands – 2,477 euros.

The tax rate on income from savings and investments is 30%. In addition, workers are charged a National Insurance Contribution (27.65%). In some cases, for example with minor children, the Netherlands provides additional tax incentives to reduce the burden on wage deductions.


The Hague isn’t the cheapest place to live as an expat, but with a bit of planning you can live here for less than expected.

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Further Reading

In the article below I looked at the following issues

  • Can I apply for a mortgage in the UK as a non-resident? This answer applies for both UK expats living overseas and other nationalities.
  • Why is China cheaper than Japan? Is the premise of the question even true? I explain why China is no longer as cheap as people assume, at least in the big cities.
  • What’s the biggest cause of irrational investment behaviour? The media, peer pressure or something else?
  • Is it a good idea to lend money to friends and family members?
  • Am I willing to take a risk in the stock market? Are the stock markets even risky to begin with?

To read more click on the link below.

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