Amsterdam city centre

The City of Amsterdam

Amsterdam's story begins humbly as a small fishing village in the 13th century. Its strategic location at the mouth of the Amstel River, however, propelled it towards a glorious destiny. The city's fortunes truly soared during the Dutch Golden Age (17th century). This era witnessed a flourishing maritime trade network, making Amsterdam a global center for commerce, finance, and art.

Golden Age Grandeur

Fueled by wealth and innovation, Amsterdam experienced a period of unparalleled growth. Canals were dug, grand merchant houses were built, and renowned artists like Rembrandt van Rijn and Johannes Vermeer flourished. The city became a haven for intellectuals and persecuted minorities, further enriching its cultural tapestry.

Beyond the Golden Age

Amsterdam's history is not without its challenges. The city faced economic decline in the 18th and 19th centuries, followed by the Nazi occupation during World War II. Despite these hardships, Amsterdam persevered, emerging stronger and more resilient. Today, it thrives as a modern metropolis, fostering a reputation for tolerance, creativity, and a progressive social outlook.

Amsterdam - A City Defined

  • Population: Approximately 872,000 residents call Amsterdam home. This vibrant mix includes a significant expat community, contributing to the city's international flair.
  • Bridges: Amsterdam's iconic canals are spanned by over 1,200 bridges, creating a picturesque and unique urban landscape.
  • Nationalities: Dutch nationals naturally make up the majority, but Amsterdam boasts a multicultural population with over 170 nationalities represented.

    Famous for: 

  • Canals: The city's network of canals, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a defining feature.
  • Museum: Van Gogh Museum, Rijksmuseum, Anne Frank House, and numerous other world-class institutions.
  • Art & Culture: A vibrant scene with renowned architecture, street art, music, and festivals.
  • Cycling: Amsterdam is a cyclist's paradise with extensive bike lanes and a cycling culture deeply ingrained in daily life.
  • Tolerance: The city is known for its liberal social policies and welcoming attitude towards diverse lifestyles.

Famous Amsterdammers

  • Anne Frank: A young diarist whose story of resilience during wartime continues to resonate.
  • Rembrandt van RijnA master of the Dutch Golden Age, renowned for his portraits and use of light and shadow.
  • Karel Appel: A renowned abstract expressionist painter who helped establish the CoBrA movement.
  • Andre HazesA beloved Dutch singer known for his poignant ballads that captured the working-class spirit of Amsterdam.
  • Johan Cruyff: A legendary footballer considered one of the greatest of all time, who left an indelible mark on Ajax football club and the sport itself.
  • Ruud Gullit: A Dutch footballing legend, winner of the Ballon d'Or and a key figure in Dutch football's golden era.

Life in Amsterdam - Practicalities for Expats

  • Housing: Finding an apartment in Amsterdam can be competitive. Be prepared for higher rents and smaller living spaces compared to other European cities. Look into the Amsterdam neighborhoods like Oud-West, De Pijp, or Oost for a good mix of affordability and vibrant community life.

  • Transportation: Cycling is the undisputed king of transportation in Amsterdam. The Amsterdam public transport is really excellent, with trams, buses, and metros offering convenient connectivity. Owning a car is not essential for navigating the city.

  • Language: While English is widely spoken in tourist areas, learning the basic Dutch language is a thoughtful gesture and helpful for integrating into daily life. Many language courses are available for expats.

  • Living costs: Amsterdam offers a high standard of living, but be prepared for higher costs compared to the global average. Budgeting for housing, groceries, and transportation is crucial.

  • Lifestyle: Embrace the relaxed and social Dutch culture. Cafes are popular meeting spots, and cycling trips are a great way to explore the city and connect with locals.

  • Work culture: Dutch work culture is known for its emphasis on work-life balance, with shorter working hours and ample vacation time.


A Timeless City Awaits Amsterdam beckons with its rich history, vibrant culture, and a welcoming atmosphere for expats. This captivating city offers a unique blend of old-world charm and modern innovation.

Are you ready to embark on your Amsterdam adventure? Your Expat Social Club is here to guide you every step of the way. Join our online community to connect with fellow expats, access exclusive resources, and discover insider tips for a smooth transition to life in this captivating city.

We look forward to welcoming you to Amsterdam!