Only 222 miles apart as the crow flies, Amsterdam and London are very different cities, despite their close proximity.
A different culture, a different language (although most of the Dutch do speak excellent English), and some very different pricing levels…
Of course, the average salary also needs to be taken into consideration, and Londoners generally take home more than their Amsterdam counterparts. The average net salary in the UK capital is £1,982 (2,804 euro) against £1,711 (2,419 euro) in Amsterdam. That’s a difference of around 14%.
So with that in mind, let’s take a more in-depth look at the differences in the cost of living between the two cities. The figures are taken from crowd sourcing websites Numbeo and Expatistan, and are correct as of November 2015.
It’s way, way cheaper in Amsterdam than London to either rent or purchase property. Rental prices are around 45% – 52% less, either in the city centre or on the outskirts.
And when it comes to purchasing property, the divide becomes even greater. In Amsterdam you’ll pay between 74% – 78% less for your property than in the UK capital city.
Mortgage interest rates are less in Holland as well, by around 5.15%.
Once you’ve got your property, it’s time to work out the costs of running it. Heating, electricity, water… All these costs need to be factored in to the running of your household, and in Amsterdam, it’s going to cost you less than in London, by around 16%.
In London, with the exception of water, you can choose the company you’d like to supply you with gas and/or electricity. And don’t be confused by names, because most energy companies can provide both: just because they’re named British Gas doesn’t mean they can’t provide you with electricity as well.
Often these companies provide you with a discount if you take both electricity and gas from them.
Be sure to check with an independent comparison website such as U Switch before you sign up with any utility company in London. That way you can be sure you’re getting the best deal.
Continue to check on a regular basis that you’re still getting the best deal, and if not, switch suppliers.
Telephone and broadband are also cheaper in Amsterdam by around 14%. But never fear, because in London there are ways and means to get the cheapest offers possible.
First check out the various suppliers’ websites – such as BT, Sky, Talk Talk, and Virgin Media. Very often, if you take a package bundle that also includes a paid TV subscription, you can save enormously on the costs of your phone and broadband.
And whenever you buy any utilities in London, make sure you purchase through a cash back company such as Top Cash Back – because all big companies offer a commission to anyone who recommends them and ultimately gets them a customer, and these commissions can amount to hundreds of pounds.
Using one of these websites simply means that the commission is paid back to you, rather than a third party.
Both Amsterdam and London are great walking cities, and indeed, in both it can often be the most pleasant (and sometimes quickest) way to get from A to B!
However, if you’re in either city for any length of time, then you’re going to need to use public transport. And surprise surprise (not), Amsterdam’s system is much cheaper than London’s, by around 56%.
Taxis are also cheaper in Amsterdam by about 20%, and fuel is cheaper too, but only by about 2%. However, if you want to buy a car, it’ll cost about 4% more in Amsterdam than it will in London.
Whichever city you live in, you’re going to need to eat, and if you want to take advantage of the many restaurants found in either city, Amsterdam wins hands down, with prices around 15% – 18% cheaper.
For those of you who enjoy a daily specialty coffee, such as a cappuccino, then you’ll pay around 26% less in Amsterdam than you will in London.
But what about groceries? Do these price differences continue here as well? The short and sweet answer is yes they do, with Amsterdam winning the day yet again…
For example, milk is around 28% less, bread 13% lower, eggs 22%, apples 24%, chicken breasts 23%, and beef 28% lower. But bizarrely, you’ll pay more for both cheese and lettuce in Amsterdam – around 9% more in most cases.
It’s also going to cost you more to purchase some designer clothes in Amsterdam, with Levi jeans being around 10% more expensive. Men’s shoes are also more expensive by around 19% more.
When it comes to entertainment, there are some quite large differences between the two cities. We’ve already mentioned eating out, but it will also cost you less to go to the cinema in Amsterdam as well (by around 40%).
But never fear, movie buffs, because good old Cineworld (one of the largest cinema chains in the UK), offer an Unlimited Card that, as the name suggests, allows you to watch as many movies as you like every month.
And all for the cost of £16.90 per month – or £19.90 if you want to include the London West End cinemas… Now that’s a bargain worth having if going to the movies is your thing.
If you like the theatre, then you’re going to pay more in London than you are in Amsterdam (around 129% more), but if you’re happy to chance what you might be able to see, and are a sucker for a big discount, then head on down to the TKTS booth in London’s Leicester Square, where discount tickets for a huge selection of London show’s are put up for sale every morning.
Just be sure to get there early, because the secret’s definitely out about this little gem, and the tickets sell out early.
For those of you who like to keep fit, then your monthly gym membership is around 51% cheaper in Amsterdam, but if you’re in London, check out the new breed of “no frills” gyms that are sprouting up everywhere – such as Simply Gym and The Gym Group.
They keep their costs low by having automated receptions (you usually enter with a swipe card), and there aren’t loads of gym staff around all the time. But the advantage is far lower membership fees, and often the gyms are open 24/7 as well.