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06/02/2024
7 min

Best Amsterdam Neighborhoods for Expats: Top 9 Picks

06/02/2024
7 min

Amsterdam neighborhoods: A City of Canals, Culture, and Charm

Amsterdam, the captivating capital of the Netherlands, is renowned for its picturesque canals, rich history, and vibrant cultural scene. With its enchanting architecture, world-class museums, and laid-back lifestyle, Amsterdam has become a magnet for expats and locals alike. Whether you're seeking a bustling urban hub or a tranquil haven, Amsterdam's diverse neighborhoods offer a home to suit every preference.

The city's compact layout and excellent infrastructure make it easy to navigate, whether you're biking along the canals or taling a tram to the city centre. Amsterdam is also known for its progressive values, eco-friendly initiatives, and a vibrant expatriate community, making it an attractive place for those seeking both adventure and a high quality of life.

Introducing the best Amsterdam neighborhoods

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into nine of the best neighborhoods in Amsterdam for expats, each with its own distinctive character and benefits. From the historic heart of the Centrum to the up-and-coming areas of Noord and Zuid, discover the ideal neighborhood to match your lifestyle and budget.

  • City Centre: "CENTRUM"
  • De Pijp: "DE PIJP"
  • Old West: "OUD WEST"
  • East: "OOST"
  • North: "NOORD"
  • South: "ZUID"
  • Old South: "OUD ZUID"
  • Westerpark: "WESTERPARK"
  • River area: "RIVIERENBUURT"

1. Centre: The Historic Heart of Amsterdam

Amsterdam city centre (centrum), home to iconic landmarks like the Anne Frank House, the Royal Palace, and the lively Dam Square. This historic district offers a captivating blend of old-world charm and modern amenities, making it a popular choice for expats seeking a central location. It also includes the popular areas: Jordaan and the Canal district.

Nestled between the Prinsengracht, Brouwersgracht, and Singel canals, the Jordaan exudes a bohemian vibe with its narrow streets, quaint cafes, and trendy boutiques. Once a working-class neighborhood, the Jordaan has transformed into a sought-after area for its charming atmosphere and proximity to the city center.

Housing in the city centre

City centre offers a diverse range of housing options, from charming canal houses to modern apartments. However, due to its central location and high demand, housing prices tend to be on the higher side. Housing in Jordaan is characterized by its traditional canal houses, often featuring unique architectural details and cozy interiors. However, due to its popularity, housing prices in Jordaan are generally high.

  • Pros: Central location, abundance of historical attractions, vibrant cultural scene, excellent public transportation, charming atmosphere, picturesque canals, abundance of cafes and shops, close to the city center.
  • Cons: High housing prices, bustling atmosphere, limited green spaces, can be crowded during peak seasons

Amsterdam city centre view

2. De Pijp: A Trendy Neighborhood with a Village Feel

Amsterdam De Pijp, once a working-class district, has evolved into a trendy neighborhood known for its multicultural atmosphere, lively nightlife, and abundance of restaurants and bars. With its mix of historic architecture and modern developments, De Pijp offers a vibrant and welcoming environment. For many this is one of the best neighborhoods in Amsterdam, as it has a good mix of expats living, amongst the locals and hardly any tourists.

Housing in De Pijp

Housing in De Pijp ranges from spacious apartments to charming row houses. Prices tend to be more affordable compared to Centrum and Jordaan, making it a popular choice for young professionals and families.

  • Pros: Vibrant atmosphere, diverse dining and nightlife options, good public transportation, relatively affordable housing.
  • Cons: Can be noisy due to nightlife, limited green spaces, increasing gentrification.

3. Old-West: A Mix of Old and New

Amsterdam Old West, translated as "Oud West", is a dynamic neighborhood that blends historic charm with modern developments. Once known for its industrial past, Old-West has transformed into a trendy area with a diverse mix of residents, including young professionals, families, and artists. The neighborhood is home to the Vondelpark, Amsterdam's largest and most beloved park, offering a tranquil escape from the city bustle.

Housing in Old-West

Housing in Old-West offers a variety of options, from spacious apartments in converted industrial buildings to charming canal houses. Prices are generally more affordable compared to Centre and Jordaan, making it an attractive option for those seeking value for their money.

  • Pros: Diverse and vibrant atmosphere, abundance of green spaces, including Vondelpark, good public transportation, relatively affordable housing.
  • Cons: Some areas can be noisy, increasing gentrification, limited historical attractions.

Amsterdam Vondelpark entrance gate, with bike pathVondelpark, in between Old West and Old South

4. Oost: A Hipster Haven with a Bohemian Flair

Amsterdam East, translated as"Oost", has emerged as a hipster haven known for its independent shops, art galleries, and trendy cafes. With its laid-back atmosphere and mix of old and new architecture, Oost offers a unique blend of urban living and bohemian charm.

Housing in East

Housing in East ranges from affordable apartments to spacious family homes. Prices tend to be lower compared to Centre and Jordaan, making it an attractive option for budget-conscious individuals and families.

  • Pros: Hipster haven with a bohemian flair, abundance of independent shops and cafes, laid-back atmosphere, affordable housing.
  • Cons: Can be less central than other neighborhoods, limited nightlife options, some areas undergoing gentrification.

Drone view over the Amsterdam Amstel river and connecting neighborhoodsAmstel river view

5. North: A Rising Star with a Waterfront Vibe

Amsterdam North, translated as "Noord", is a rapidly developing neighborhood across the IJ River from the city center. With its industrial heritage and waterfront location, North offers a unique blend of urban living and a sense of tranquility. The neighborhood is home to the NDSM Wharf, a former shipyard transformed into a cultural hub with art installations, restaurants, and events.

Housing in North

Housing in North offers a variety of options, from modern apartments to converted industrial spaces. Prices are generally lower compared to the city center, making it an attractive option for those seeking affordable housing in a trendy neighborhood.

  • Pros: Up-and-coming neighborhood with a waterfront vibe, abundance of creative spaces, affordable housing, sense of tranquility.
  • Cons: Less central than other neighborhoods, limited public transportation options, some areas still under development.

6. South: Affluent Living with a Cultural Edge

Amsterdam South, translated in "Zuid", is Amsterdam's most affluent district, known for its elegant architecture, upscale shops, and abundance of green spaces. Home to the prestigious Museum District, South offers a sophisticated lifestyle with easy access to world-class museums and cultural attractions.

Housing in South

Housing in South characterized by spacious apartments, luxury penthouses, and grand canal houses. Prices are the highest in Amsterdam, reflecting the neighborhood's exclusivity and amenities.

  • Pros: Affluent and sophisticated lifestyle, abundance of green spaces, world-class museums and cultural attractions, excellent public transportation.
  • Cons: Most expensive neighborhood in Amsterdam, limited nightlife options, can feel less authentic than other neighborhoods.

7. Old South: Elegance and Tranquility in the Heart of Amsterdam

Amsterdam Old South, translated in "Oud Zuid", is an affluent neighborhood adjacent to the Museum District, offering a blend of elegance, tranquility, and cultural attractions. The neighborhood is known for its spacious boulevards, upscale shops, and grand canal houses.

Housing in Old South

Housing in Old South is characterized by luxurious apartments, stately townhouses, and elegant canal houses. Prices are among the highest in Amsterdam, reflecting the neighborhood's exclusivity and amenities.

  • Pros: Elegant and tranquil atmosphere, upscale shops and restaurants, abundance of green spaces, close to Museum District.
  • Cons: Most expensive neighborhood in Amsterdam, limited nightlife options, can feel less authentic than other neighborhoods.

8. Westerpark: A Green Oasis with a Creative Edge

Amsterdam Westerpark, located in Amsterdam-West, is a vibrant neighborhood known for its namesake park, a sprawling green space that offers a welcome respite from the city bustle. The neighborhood is also home to the Westergasfabriek, a former gasworks transformed into a cultural hub with restaurants, theaters, and events.

Housing in Westerpark

Housing in Westerpark ranges from modern apartments to unique conversions of former industrial buildings. Prices are generally more affordable compared to Centrum and Jordaan, making it an attractive option for those seeking a mix of affordability and a creative atmosphere.

  • Pros: Abundance of green spaces, including Westerpark, creative and artsy atmosphere, unique housing options, affordable prices.
  • Cons: Less central than other neighborhoods, limited nightlife options, some areas still under development.

9. River area: Family-Friendly Living with a Historical Touch

Amsterdam River area, translated in "Rivierenbuurt", is a charming area known for its wide streets, family-friendly atmosphere, and abundance of green spaces. The neighborhood is characterized by its architecture in the Amsterdam School style, featuring brick facades and geometric elements.

Housing in River area

Housing in River area offers a variety of options, from spacious apartments to charming row houses. Prices are generally more affordable compared to Centre and Jordaan, making it an attractive choice for families and those seeking a more relaxed neighborhood.

  • Pros: Family-friendly atmosphere, abundance of green spaces, unique Amsterdam School architecture, affordable housing.
  • Cons: Less central than other neighborhoods, limited nightlife options, some areas undergoing gentrification.


Conclusion: Finding Your Perfect Amsterdam Home

The popular and best Amsterdam neighborhoods offer a diverse range of housing options to suit every lifestyle and budget. Whether you seek the vibrant energy of the Centre, the charming canals of Jordaan, or the up-and-coming vibe of North, Amsterdam has a neighborhood that will feel like home.

Ready to Find Your Amsterdam Dream Home?

Whether you're a seasoned expat or a newcomer to Amsterdam, finding the perfect neighborhood to call home is an essential part of your journey. With its diverse neighborhoods, Amsterdam offers a place for everyone to thrive.

Explore the neighborhoods mentioned in this guide, immerse yourself in the local atmosphere, and discover the Amsterdam neighborhood that perfectly matches your lifestyle and aspirations.

When choosing a neighborhood, consider your priorities, such as proximity to work or school, access to green spaces, nightlife options, and overall atmosphere. Explore different neighborhoods on foot or by bike to get a feel for the local vibe.

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