Amsterdam Neighbourhood Guide – Which city district is the best to live in?


Planning on moving to Amsterdam, but not sure in which Amsterdam neighbourhood to live? Here is the ultimate Amsterdam neighbourhood guide which can provide you with some guidance, inspiration and answers. 

Amsterdam’s Neighbourhood Guide

Amsterdam consists out of 7 city districts and is home to around 800k inhabitants, of which half of them are foreigners. Actually, around 180 different nationalities are settled in this cosmopolitan European city.

Amsterdam Neighbourhood – the rich and famous

Amsterdam Center

City districts of Amsterdam Centrum include: Jordaan, De Wallen, Nieuwmarkt and Grachtengordel. 

As you can imagine this is the busiest, most expensive and crowded neighbourhood in Amsterdam. However, it is also the most picturesque part with all the canals, historic sights, and cafes/restaurants.

Amsterdam’s City Center District is home to beautiful, traditional warehouses and mansions. Apartments are often rather small, overpriced and come with expected issues, e.g. tilted floors or mould every now and then. 


De Wallen is the famous Red Light District in Amsterdam and always very crowded with tourists. It is a network of small streets and canals. You will find loads of souvenir shops, bars, coffeeshops and the famous red lights with prostitues standing inside the window.

Houses or apartments in this area are usually over prized, rather small and old. Plus, there will be constant noise of drunk people. Maybe not your first choice of neighbourhood when moving to Amsterdam.

Jordaan is characterised by very narrow streets, quirky houses, and a famous spot for tourists as well as locals to hang out. Everything is very tight, houses are cramped and renting prices are hight, so it might not be an option for everyone. 

Amsterdam Zuid

City districts of Amsterdam Zuid include: Buitenveldert, Zuidas, Rivierenbuurt, De Pijp, and Oud Zuid. 

Amsterdam Zuid is a very residential neighbourhood in Amsterdam and rather fancy. It is home to well preserved 19th century houses and spacious apartments. It is perfect for families as the international school is located in this neighbourhood as well.

De Pijp is a very popular district among young people as it is very colourful, vibrant and full of restaurants and things to do. Just be careful when looking for a place there as some apartments are rather cheap and poor quality (bad insulated). 

Rivierenbuurt is more expensive than De Pijp and home to curvy houses designed by famous Dutch architects.

The Zuidas is Amsterdam’s business district and made for international people with very modern apartments to live in. It is surrounded by loads of businesses and high buildings. 

Buitenveldert is another residential area with a good mix of locals and foreigners. It is surrounded by lots of open and green space. It actually is part of Amstelveen, a suburb of Amsterdam, but very well connected by tram and metro.

Amsterdam Zuid is probably amongst the most famous ones, which makes it also rather pricy. Plus, if you were planning on getting a car, the parking situation is pretty impossible. 

Finally, this neighbourhood is also home to the famous Vondelpark, Olympic Stadium, Amsterdam Convention Center and Royal Concertgebouw. 

Amsterdam Neighbourhood – the upcoming ones

Amsterdam Oost

City districts of Amsterdam Oost include: Indische Buurt, Transvaalbuurt, and Watergrafsmeer.

Amsterdam Oost offers a nice mix of older and more modern neighbourhoods in Amsterdam (Eastern Docklands). It is ethnically diverse, much more spacious than the west, and offers a wide variety of shopping streets, shops and markets. 

Watergrafsmeer is a very green neighbourhood and rather residential with many houses and sport fields. 

Amsterdam Noord

Amsterdam Noord is reachable by ferry from the Central Station and metro. It is/was Amsterdam’s industrial area for a long time, and you can still feel/see the working class neighbourhoods there. However, lots of newly built family houses and apartments were added to the scenery. 

The Noord is perfect if you prefer a bit more peaceful atmosphere, space and lower rents. Don’t be fooled though, there is a lot going on – biggest flea market of Amsterdam, festivals and other events. 

Amsterdam West 

City districts of Amsterdam West include: De Baarsjes, Oud West, Westerpark, Bos en Lommer, and Spaarndammerbuurt.

De Baarsjes and Bos en Lommer (BoLo) are multicultural neighbourhoods and popular among students and families since rents are lower over there. It is characterised by loads of markets, mosques and big green open spaces.

Westerpark is a very lively neighbourhood and loved by young families and artists. Rents are pretty affordable and you are only a 5min bike ride away from the city center.

In Westerpark (the park itself) are lots of events and festivals taking place all the time. Inside you will find several restaurants, clubs, cinemas, music venues, but also industrial buildings that were turned into an arcade games room.

Spaarndammerbuurt was ignored a long time, but becomes more popular these days with its charming little shops and cafes. Rents are still affordable, but it might be hard to find something that is available.  

Amsterdam Neighbourhood – the lesser famous

Amsterdam Nieuw West

City districts of Amsterdam Nieuw West include: De Aker, Slotermeer, Slotervaart, Nieuw Sloten and Osdorp.

Amsterdam Nieuw West has a reputation of being one of the more problematic districts of Amsterdam. It deals with topics like unemployment, crime, poverty and gangs. 

On the other hand it is a very spacious there and green neighbourhood in Amsterdam with a beautiful big lake. Apartments are very affordable and often times modern. 

Amsterdam Zuidoost

City districts of Amsterdam Zuidoost include: Bijlmer and Gaasperdam.

Amsterdam Zuidoost has a reputation of being a poor neighbourhood in Amsterdam with vandalism and crime. However, it improved a lot in recent years as lots of entertainment and office districts were built. 

It is a very affordable place to live in Amsterdam, very residential and diverse mix of nationalities. Bijlmer is home to many people. From South America, West Africa, and the Caribbean.

I hope this Amsterdam neighbourhood guide is useful to you. For more tipps of moving to Amsterdam, check out those 15 useful apps when moving to The Netherlands and the expat guide on moving abroad to The Netherlands.


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