Relocating to a new city can be an exhilarating and daunting experience. Amsterdam, the capital city of the Netherlands, is an attractive destination not just for individuals or couples but also for families. The city offers a diverse culture, stunning canals, and a family-friendly environment.

But, similar to any new place, it is crucial to contemplate various factors before moving. So, here are seven essential tips for families moving to Amsterdam. From selecting the ideal neighbourhood to obtaining a valid residence permit, this article has it covered.

Prepare to equip yourself with all the essential information required to move to Amsterdam with your family!

1. Get your paperwork in orderDepending on your nationality and the reason for your stay, you may need a residence permit and / or a visa when relocating to Amsterdam. 

To begin your move, it is crucial to ensure that your paperwork is in order and that you have a valid passport. Thoroughly researching the requirements for your specific situation is essential. Additionally, it is imperative to acquire a national citizen service number (BSN) and register with the Dutch authorities.

Moving to Amsterdam from a foreign country entails a considerable amount of paperwork. Therefore, organising all relevant documents before embarking on your journey is necessary.

Fortunately, the Dutch government has several websites in English which offer valuable information and assistance for expats.

2. Research to find the best neighbourhoodConducting thorough research on the diverse neighbourhoods of Amsterdam is a crucial step when moving with your family. Each area of the city possesses its own distinct ambiance and character, and some may cater more effectively to families than others.

Key factors to consider include accessibility to international schools, public transport options, and proximity to the city centre.

Several neighbourhoods, including De Pijp, Oud-West, and Jordaan, stand out as optimal choices for families. These neighbourhoods boast a harmonious blend of residential areas, parks, and family-oriented amenities, making them attractive options for families moving to Amsterdam.

3. Set up a Dutch bank accountIt is essential to establish a Dutch bank account when moving to Amsterdam. It facilitates the seamless payment of everyday expenses, such as a rental contract, utilities, and groceries.

Additionally, creating a bank account is essential for those intending to work in Amsterdam, as employers commonly prefer to pay salaries directly into a Dutch bank account. It is also necessary to set up direct debits for Dutch health insurance and pension contributions.

4. Consider international schools for your childrenFinding the right educational institution is crucial for families relocating to Amsterdam with school-aged children. Thankfully, Amsterdam boasts several exceptional international schools.

Enrolling your child in an international school offers them a quality education and provides a chance for cultural exchange as well as an expanding social circle. In addition, research is necessary to ensure that the chosen institution aligns with your family’s needs and values.

5. Apply for Dutch health insurance earlyOne thing I wish I personally started earlier was getting acquainted with how the health insurance system worked before I left my home country for the Netherlands. I did plenty of research but didn’t execute enough in advance. Make sure to set up your Dutch health insurance before you arrive so that you can jump right into the system when needed.

You’ll also need to be integrated into the DigiD system, which is the Netherlands’ identity tracking system. You’ll need to obtain your residence permit and citizen service number first in order for you to apply to be registered in the system. It can take a while to process the health insurance, so depending on your daily health needs, you’ll want to get this underway before moving to Amsterdam, if possible.

6. Get acquainted with the bike cultureAmsterdam locals perceive cycling as an integral aspect of their everyday lives, making it the most prevalent mode of transport. As a newcomer to Amsterdam, acquainting yourself with the traffic regulations is imperative before indulging in the local biking culture.

Though Amsterdam boasts an extensive network of bike paths and lanes, one must remain aware of other commuters, such as cars, trams, and pedestrians, thus it would help you to become familiarised with traffic signs and signals.

7. Understand the Dutch culture and learn the languageWhile it’s true that many Amsterdam locals are fluent in English, mastering the Dutch language can prove highly beneficial when handling day-to-day errands.

It can also enhance your understanding of Dutch culture, aiding communication and facilitating a smoother transition for your family. Consider investing in language classes or learning apps to start honing your skills.

Beyond the practical advantages, learning Dutch can help you build connections with the locals and deepen your understanding of their customs and traditions.


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