Making new friends in amsterdam
Community and Connections
Community and Connections
4 min

How to Make Friends in Amsterdam - Your Ultimate Guide

4 min

Moving to a new country can be a thrilling yet challenging experience, especially when it comes to building a social network. If you're an expat in Amsterdam, one of your top priorities might be figuring out how to make friends in Amsterdam. This comprehensive guide aims to help you navigate the social landscape of the Dutch capital, offering practical advice, fun facts, and a historical perspective on building connections.

A Brief History of Social Connections in Amsterdam

Amsterdam, known for its rich cultural heritage and vibrant history, has always been a melting pot of different cultures and nationalities. The city's history of tolerance and trade has made it a welcoming place for newcomers. From the Golden Age of the 17th century, when Amsterdam was a global trade hub, to the modern era as a cosmopolitan city, it has been a place where people from various backgrounds come together. This historical backdrop provides a fertile ground for making friends and building a community.

Why Making Friends in Amsterdam is Unique

Amsterdam offers a unique environment for making friends due to its international atmosphere, compact city layout, and diverse range of social activities. The Dutch are known for their directness and openness, which can be refreshing and intimidating at the same time. Understanding the local culture and social norms can greatly enhance your efforts in making connections.

Tips and Advice on How to Make New Friends in Amsterdam

1. Join Expat Communities and Social Clubs

One of the best ways to meet new people is by joining expat communities and social clubs. These groups are specifically designed to help newcomers connect with others who are in a similar situation. Your Expat Social Club, for instance, offers various events and activities tailored for expats, making it an ideal starting point.

2. Participate in Local Events and Festivals

Amsterdam is renowned for its vibrant cultural scene, with numerous events and festivals throughout the year. Participating in these events can be a great way to meet locals and other expats. From the King's Day celebrations to the Amsterdam Dance Event, there's always something happening in the city.

3. Take Language Classes

Learning Dutch can significantly improve your social interactions and help you understand the local culture better. Many language schools in Amsterdam offer courses specifically for expats. Language classes not only help you communicate better but also provide a platform to meet new people.

4. Use Social Media and Networking Apps

In today's digital age, social media and networking apps can be powerful tools for making friends. Platforms like Meetup, Internations, and even Facebook groups can connect you with people who share your interests. Joining groups related to your hobbies or profession can lead to meaningful connections.

5. Volunteer for Local Causes

Volunteering is a rewarding way to give back to the community while meeting new people. Many organizations in Amsterdam welcome volunteers, providing an opportunity to work alongside locals and fellow expats. Whether it's helping at a local shelter or participating in environmental initiatives, volunteering can be a fulfilling way to build your social network.

Fun Facts About Social Life in Amsterdam

1. Biking Culture: Amsterdam's biking culture is not just about transportation but also a social activity. Group bike rides and biking tours can be a fun way to meet new people.

2. Café Society: The Dutch love their cafés, and these establishments often serve as social hubs. Whether it's a traditional brown café or a modern coffee shop, spending time in these places can lead to spontaneous conversations and friendships.

3. King’s Day: Celebrated on April 27th, King’s Day is the biggest national holiday in the Netherlands. The city turns into a giant street party, providing an excellent opportunity to mingle and make new friends.

4. Cultural Diversity: Amsterdam is home to people from over 180 different nationalities, making it one of the most multicultural cities in the world. This diversity enriches the social fabric of the city and offers numerous opportunities to learn about different cultures and make friends from various backgrounds.

5. Waterways and Canals: The city's iconic canals are not just tourist attractions but also social spaces. Canal-side picnics, boat parties, and even casual strolls along the water can be social activities where you can meet new people.

Five Key Questions and Answers on Making Friends in Amsterdam 

1. What are the best places to meet new people in Amsterdam? 
The best places to meet new people include expat communities, local events and festivals, language classes, social media groups, and volunteering opportunities. Cafés, parks, and cultural venues like museums and theaters are also great spots.

2. How important is learning Dutch for making friends in Amsterdam? 
While many people in Amsterdam speak English, learning Dutch can greatly enhance your social interactions and help you integrate better into the local culture. It shows respect for the local customs and can open more social doors.

3. Are the Dutch open to making friends with expats? 
Yes, the Dutch are generally open and welcoming towards expats. They appreciate directness and honesty, so being straightforward in your interactions can help build trust and friendships.

4. How can I overcome the initial shyness or nervousness when trying to make friends? 
Starting with structured social settings like clubs, classes, or events can help ease the initial nervousness. These environments are designed to facilitate interactions, making it easier to approach and connect with new people.

5. What are some common social norms and etiquettes to be aware of in Amsterdam? 
The Dutch value punctuality, direct communication, and respect for personal space. It's important to be on time for appointments, be honest and straightforward in conversations, and respect others' privacy and boundaries.


Making friends in Amsterdam might seem daunting at first, but with the right approach and a positive mindset, it can be a rewarding experience. Whether you're joining a social club, attending local events, or volunteering, each step you take brings you closer to building a vibrant social network.

Ready to start your journey of making friends in Amsterdam? Join Your Expat Social Club today and take advantage of our events, activities, and resources tailored for expats. Connect with like-minded individuals and discover the joys of your new home. Let's make your time in Amsterdam unforgettable!

This comprehensive guide should provide you with all the information and inspiration you need to start making friends in Amsterdam. Good luck, and enjoy your time in this beautiful and vibrant city!