Amstelveen – essentially a small city on the edge of Amsterdam – is an expat favorite and it’s easy to see why.
A stroll through Amstelveen takes you past a few Indian stores and a row of blossoming cherry trees.
Hundreds of lilac cherry blossom trees turn the Bloessempark in Amstelveen into a colorful spring ensemble. The park within the Amsterdam Bos (Amsterdam Forest) is a token of the large expat community in Amstelveen, the trees gifted to the city by the members of the Japanese Women’s Club.
The club helps the many Japanese women who move to Amstelveen feel welcome and at home.
Emi Nepper is one of the members.
When she walks through the park in Amstelveen the many cherry blossom trees remind her of her home in Japan which she left in 2009 to move to the Netherlands. Amstelveen, rather than big brother Amsterdam, was the obvious choice.
“We heard that there was a huge Japanese community in Amstelveen,” Nepper said. “I joined the Japanese Women’s Club and could make friends easily. There are also a lot of expats from other countries with whom we can communicate in English.”
Amstelveen’s expat community
Amstelveen has a population of around 88,000 people of which 7.55 percent are expats. It is only a 15-minute ride from the city center of Amstelveen to Schiphol. Amstelveen’s very convenient location makes it an expat favorite.
When you are living in Amstelveen, you are only a short plane ride away from pretty much every other capital or major city in Europe.
However, Amstelveen is not just an expat favorite; locals love the city just as much.
The town made it to the Top 3 most livable cities of the Netherlands last year.
Research center Atlas voor gemeenten (Atlas for the Municipalities) compared the Netherlands’ 50-largest municipalities on 50 different points. Amstelveen came in third after Amsterdam and Utrecht.
Amsterdam is still number one. However, Amsterdam’s popularity also drives up housing prices. The cost of living is considerably cheaper in Amstelveen. When you buy a house in Amstelveen you pay an average of 2,911 euros per square meter. In Amsterdam? 3,590 euros.
Apart from the more affordable prices and the perfect location, it is Amstelveen’s international feel, high-end shopping and welcoming atmosphere that makes the city deserving of a spot in the top three.
Amstelveen has many facilities to help expats get settled in their new environment. Not only is the International school of Amsterdam located in the city, there is also a Japanese kindergarten and dentist and a Korean school.
Amstelland Hospital has an Indian and a Japanese desk, which is a huge help to expats who do not speak Dutch yet and are not so fluent in English.
The only downside?
Amstelveen lacks the big city feel of Amsterdam, according to expat Adnan Mohammed from India:
As compared to Amsterdam, I do really miss the liveliness of the city with people on the road, shops open especially during winter time when it is dark and seems a very lonely place to live in for an expat. Probably more tourist attractions can be built in coming years to grow Amstelveen and make it a much better place to live in.
Willeke van Doorn is a journalist and graduate of Fontys University of Applied Sciences in Tilburg, Netherlands. Willeke’s journalism experience includes an internship and special projects at National Geographic Traveler in Amsterdam.