Sometimes, I think it is destiny when you return to a place, you think you wouldn’t come back to. Due to many circumstances and things not working out, I find myself again living in Amsterdam after a 5 year break.
What can I say? I am super happy and almost had tears in my eyes when I decided to move back here. For me it is the most beautiful, fun and best city to live within Europe. That’s why I will share with you my 10 reasons why I love living in Amsterdam so much.
Architecture & Houseboats
If there is one picturous city in Europe, then it must be Amsterdam. One corner is more beautiful than the other.
Just walk through the city and look at those cute, tiny houses with its big windows, surrounded by canals and bridges. It makes me feel like home, and my heart happy each time I come back from vacation.
Let’s also not forget those beautiful houseboats that fill up the canals, or this unique crane hotel in Amstermda Noord!
Ever wondered why the houses are tilted, so tiny, painted black or have this hook in the front? Find all your answers when checking out these fun facts about Amsterdam.
Let me start with a fun fact: I failed my bike exam back in school when I was like 8, but now consider myself the most skilled biker in Amsterdam.
Why I love living in Amsterdam is the fact that everyone goes everywhere by bike and also transports anything on it, be it groceries, furniture, children, pets or friends.
Believe me, you will be impressed the first time you see someone transporting a fridge on a single bike.
The most important is the right set up. Usually Dutch bikes have a luggage carrier on the back with some straps to secure items. Some people have baskets in the front or just a big metal thing to put stuff on it.
First of all, there are loads of companies based in Amsterdam, which makes it easier to find a job you like, but it also means high competition. The salaries are also pretty fair, with some exceptions, of course. From personal experience I can say that non Dutch or IT companies pay the best.
However, companies here usually offer great benefits and very often make sure you have enough free time to enjoy your life, and not just live for working.
Many people living in Amsterdam highly value their free time, and make sure to not work lots of overtime. They rather finish up early on Friday and go out for some drinks with colleagues.
It also doesn’t matter which day of the week it is. People here are also very active throughout the week since there are so many offers and things to do.
That means their day does not end when the work day finishes. Many join sport clubs, hit the gym, enjoy a yummy meal in a restaurant, visit museums, concerts or whatever, even if it is in the middle of the week.
Check out my Amsterdam City Guide for things to do in Amsterdam.
People & mindset
Another thing I love about living in Amsterdam is the mindset of the people here. They are very open minded, often speak at least 2 languages, are not change resistant at all, but rather embrace it. They also have an entrepreneurial way of thinking, and often make an effort to live more sustainable and healthy.
All the people I met so far, no matter if Dutch or foreign, are so happy and smiley which brings along very positive vibes each day. Also Dutch are known to be very ironic and sarcastic which I struggled with at the beginning, but now I am getting it.
Coming from Germany where we love rules, a Dutch once told me that for them “rules exist to be broken” and not to be followed along strictly.
The same goes for fear, while Germany is a more fear driven society, I noticed that the Dutch are not scared to fail or take a risk. If they fail, they try something else, while in Germany the approach is more like it has to be perfect first, tested a few times, and then show it to the world.
I learned a lot to step away from perfectionism and just try! Thank you Amsterdam people!
Infrastructure & Airport
Amongst Paris and London, I believe Amsterdam Schiphol is the best European airport as you can almost get everywhere directly from here.
The same goes for inside the city. The infrastructure is simply amazing. You find great metro, tram and bus connections to everywhere, no matter if it is day or night. It usually takes below 30 min to get to the other side of the city which is pretty fast.
Let’s also not forget the bike, which will always be the number 1 option since it comes with so much flexibility. The whole city is made for bikers. There are bike lanes everywhere, and you will usually have priority over cars or pedestrians.
Size of the city
As briefly touched above, the size of Amsterdam is perfect. It is not as big as Berlin with its 3 million inhabitants, but also not as small as my home town Erfurt with like 250k inhabitants.
For me, Amsterdam has the perfect middle size with a bit below 1 million inhabitants. It probably takes maximum 30 minutes if you want to visit your friend in the west while you live in the east.
Also the country itself is pretty small which makes travelling super fast and fun. You don’t have to wait hours to get somewhere.
Day trips on weekends are a big thing here since you can easily go and come back the same day. I think from Amsterdam to the southern border, or even Belgium it should take you no longer than 3 hours, probably less.
What I also love about living in Amsterdam, or rather the Netherlands is that everything seems to be digitalised already which makes life so much easier. Here are 15 useful apps, you should download when living in Amsterdam.
We all know the headache from administrative work like registering a car license, the yearly tax presentation, registering a new address etc. You will get rid of this headache here because things go very fast, no matter if you need to make an appointment, need a document, bank stuff etc.
Most of the time I solve things on the same day or at least in the same week. All online without needing to print stuff or sending it somewhere. Often you can do things yourself, and don’t even need to go anywhere.
As you know I love learning languages, and currently speak more or less 4. I also love the Dutch language, as for me, it sounds so cute.
Being German totally gives me an advantage and makes it faster to it pick up. I am currently learning it and can’t wait to be fluent.
Modern & Innovative & Sustainable
I really enjoy cities that are modern, innovative and sustainable. If one city combines all of the above, then it is Amsterdam.
I love how the city goes about changes in the world and responds to them. Instead of being resistant or against it, they develop with the change and find new solutions.
Amsterdam, for me, seems to be a city of “early adopters”, while Germany in comparison first needs to make a risk and security assessment with loads of hierarchy steps, before any decision can be made.
Just think of the fact that the Netherlands is below sea level and could be flooded any moment. The Dutch had to come up with an innovative and sustainable concept that this won’t happen, and even built their houses partly on wooden sticks. Impressive!
Finally, sustainability is one of the main topics here, and Amsterdam is improving more and more on it. It is probably in the top 10 list somewhere of sustainable cities.
The fact that many people bike totally helps, but also the offer in cafes and restaurants has changed a lot. You can more sustainable processes, food ingredients, food waste, decoration etc.
So many things to do
The last thing I love about living in Amsterdam is that it never gets boring here. There are so many things to do. From museums, to concerts, festivals in summer, unique food experiences, food/drink tours, leisure activities, sport clubs, SUP, Escape rooms, roof top bars etc.
You will always find something you like. Even after living here for years, it never gets boring. The scene always changes. Here are 11 activities you can do in Amsterdam on a rainy day.
I hope I made you fall in love with Amsterdam as well. In case you are interested in moving here now, download my expat guide on how to move to The Netherlands.