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What is it like to live in Amsterdam?
March 15, 2011 11:23 AM   Subscribe

What is it like to live in Amsterdam? I will be doing a recce soon, but would really appreciate opinions on the following questions: Is it a fun place to go out in the evening? Are the clubs good? Is there a good gig scene (punk-rock/indie/folk)? Is the city fast- or slow-paced? Is it safe for a woman to walk alone at night? Is the public transport good? Does it run all night? Which are the interesting areas to live in? Is it a beautiful city? What is the cost of living? For example, for: an apartment, a gig ticket, a beer, a pint of milk, a sandwich at a take-away place. Is there a radical political scene?
posted by maryrosecook to Travel & Transportation around Amsterdam, The Netherlands (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Lived there for five years.

Is it a fun place to go out in the evening?
yes

Are the clubs good? Is there a good gig scene (punk-rock/indie/folk)?
Others will know.

Is the city fast- or slow-paced?
Depends on where in the city. For Northern-ish Europe quite fast actually.

Is it safe for a woman to walk alone at night?
I've heard very varying opinions about that one. There are definitely parts where it is not. Not sure whether "woman" makes that much of a diff, actually.

Is the public transport good?
There are trams, buses and a metro.

Does it run all night?
Sort of, yes.

Which are the interesting areas to live in?
Along the Amstel, the channels, in the Jordaan, or in one of the restored warehouses on Bickersijland etc., if you can afford it.

Is it a beautiful city?
Center: yes, outskirts: no.

What is the cost of living? For example, for: an apartment, a gig ticket, a beer, a pint of milk, a sandwich at a take-away place. Is there a radical political scene?
Passing these on to people who live there now.
posted by Namlit at 11:39 AM on March 15, 2011


There are lots of places to go out, and there is a good music scene. The city centre is quite fast-paced, but other parts are not. These are the also the least picturesque parts. I've never felt unsafe at night in Amsterdam (I'm female). As long as you're smart, it's pretty safe. Obviously there are areas that it's best to avoid at night, like the Red Light District and Zuid-Oost.

Public transportation is excellent (buses, trams, metro, train). It does not run 24/7, but it's close (like 3:00-5:00 you'll have trouble).

The Jordaan is a popular area, but it's expensive. I've heard good things about Zuid-West and Little Turkey.

Amsterdam is beautiful in some parts, not so beautiful in others. The most beautiful parts are the most expensive. But there are many side streets that are nice and also affordable. Anything within the canal rings is going to be pricey. And many of the most beautiful parts are also full of tourists.

Cost of living depends a lot on the part of the city. Most people I know pay €1100-€1500 for an apartment that's around 50-70 sq. meters. It seems to be somewhat common to include some or all utilities in rent.

In the city centre, you can pay €5 for a beer, but you don't want to go drinking at most of those places anyway. Beer isn't expensive at the supermarket (like €1 for a Grolsch). You can get a premade sandwich at the grocery store for around €3. Fast food is more expensive, like €5-€7 for a meal. On the whole, basic groceries aren't super expensive, especially because between the chain grocery stores, privately owned grocers, and outdoor markets, you have a lot of choice.

I don't know if the political scene counts as 'radical', but you can get involved in many areas. For example, proposed budget cuts for the arts prompted protests in The Hague not too long ago, and with PVV in the government (well, sort of) there are many people who want to prevent the country from becoming too right-wing.
posted by neushoorn at 1:32 PM on March 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you like dance music, Holland is pretty much the epicenter of euro-house and trance right now and has some of the best club Djs in the world,

All of the following DJs are from holland:

Tiesto, Armin Van Buuren, Ferry Corsten, Afrojack, Don Diablo, Fedde Le Grande, Laidback Luke, etc, etc, etc.

If you want to go to one of the worlds biggest parties, check out Sensation at Amsterdam Arena.
posted by empath at 3:21 PM on March 15, 2011


* I guess if you have lots of money, it's great to live in the Jordaan, but if you have a normal income, then you may prefer to live on the periphery of the city and rent a comparatively larger (or by American standards, "normal-sized") apartment for a reasonable rate -- though beware, finding an apartment in Amsterdam is no easy task. It's a very competitive housing market and lots more people than places, so start looking early... (and it goes without saying that there are tons of scams on Craiglist). Your work will be really cut out for you if you plan on renting an apartment by yourself...

* Public transport is great, but if you really move here, you'll buy a bike.

* If you find any good punk-rock/indie/folk clubs, please let me know. Techno, sadly, dominates this corner of the world.

* I think it is a pretty safe city and a fun place to live minus the weather, food, and bureaucracy... hmm...
posted by mateuslee at 3:30 AM on March 16, 2011


Here's one opinion on grocery shopping in Amsterdam
posted by screamingnotlaughing at 11:50 AM on March 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thanks a lot for the information, guys. It was very useful.
posted by maryrosecook at 5:26 AM on March 17, 2011


It's expensive to live here. There's good indie / rock scene going on. Bigger bands always play at the Melkweg or the Paradiso. It's fun, chilled, exciting, full of interesting people and reasonably safe.

an apartment in Amsterdam? Expensive. Anything from 1000-3000 euro. Which is why we live in Haarlem.
a gig ticket: 10-50 euro
a beer: 2 euro
a pint of milk: litre of milk 1euro
a sandwich at a take-away place: 3-5euro

Food is expensive, beer is cheap, housing is cheap, everybody speaks english, might have trouble finding employment. Beautiful inner city. Get a bicycle and don't worry about all the public transport.

'bout it, really.
posted by gonzo_ID at 11:48 AM on March 17, 2011


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