Life as Digital Nomad in Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Amsterdam! The city of the open minded, the free spirits and the international attitude. With it's ancient canals, rich cultural history, Red Light District and coffeeshops at almost every corner, you must have visited this city at least once in your life. You will learn about the old famous painters (like Van Gogh or Rembrandt), hear about the reason why the Dutch travel so much and experience the Dutch directness in communicating.

And yes, Amsterdam is also a great city for Digital Nomads. I can tell you that up front, no need to read all of it below, it's one of the best cities to find like minded people and work while traveling. Here is why:

 

PRO 1. Co working spaces and fellow nomads

The Dutch love to travel, like A LOT. I might be a bit biased of course, since I'm a Dutchie myself, but OR I keep meeting many other Dutch people while traveling OR I hear many stories about people meeting Dutch travelers abroad. And no, the Netherlands is not a big country (there are only 17 million of us). The reason why traveling is in our blood probably started a few hundred years ago, when we had a huge fleet to discover the world and traded goods (and people sadly) with foreign cultures. It made the Netherlands rich. So to be rich and back in the days, therefor happy, we needed to travel. At least, that's what scientist tell us. It's also the reason why most Dutch persons speak multiple languages. Since nobody else in the world speaks Dutch, we kind of had to learn other languages. 

All of this is in our nature now. Being international is in our culture. And that makes it super easy to feel at home as a Digital Nomad in Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands. It attracts many more remote workers and there are a lot of expat communities. Check facebook only for 'expats Amsterdam' or 'digital nomads Amsterdam'. You will be making new friends before you know it.

 

PRO 2. Good and consistent and free WIFI everywhere

The Netherlands is probably one of the fastest developing countries when it comes to internet. They're government has an award winning hacking team (they went undercover in an dark web Russian hacking group, how awesome!) and their digital bureau of intelligent is insanely good with solving digital crimes. Now you're thinking 'what does that have to do with my digital nomad life?'. Well, nothing much directly. But indirectly it shows us what the common people in the Netherlands expect of their online life. If a website doesn't load in 2 seconds, they're pissed about a slow connection. If they're Instagram feed doesn't update, they get upset. If they can't reach to their email inbox for more than a day, it freaks them out. Ok, maybe that is a bit exaggerated, but you get the picture. We Dutch people can't life without internet. And therefor you will find good and free WiFi in almost every coffee bar I know. 

Best places for good coffee and work: check this post :)

 

PRO 3. Festivals, parties, nightlife

As you might already know, Amsterdam has a crazily huge party scene with the annual Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) as climax. Throughout the year you will find music festivals (from deep techno to house to hardcore and live bands), food festivals (wine fest, meat lovers, beer parades) and themed parties like the Gay Pride, KingsDay and Halloween. This scene is even that big that in summer times you have to chose between 4 or 5 festivals a weekend! 

If you're not much of a festival lover, which almost can't be true, you can eat your heart out at many bars and clubs or just attent a nice home party as many nomads do (got to save money too you know ;-)) 

 

PRO 4. European cities are around the corner

From Amsterdam you can take the train to Paris, or a one hour flight to London or Berlin, drive 10 hours and go skiing in Austria. Everything is so close by, you can do your Euro trip from here! 

Even if you're not interested in Europe (which is impossible), you can visit other Dutch cities easily by train. The network of public transport is very well organized and since it's such a small country, you will be at the other side of the country in within two hours. Go explore! 


I know, I know, I said Amsterdam is the best etc. But every city has it's cons too, so I've got to be real here.

 

CON 1. Expensive

Amsterdam is an expensive city. Not expensive like Australia, gladly, but you shouldn't expect Asian prices here neither. For a nice 1 bedroom apartment in the city centre you pay easily over € 800 euro a month, and then you're probably lucky. A normal cup of coffee is around € 2,50 and you should expect that same price for a normal (250 cl) beer in a random bar. Working all day in a coffee bar and have lunch there too, might get expensive if you're planning on that every day.

 

CON 2. Weather

As a real Dutch girl I have to complain about the weather. The first thing we talk about in a random chitchat: the weather. And it's never positive. Or it's raining too much, or it's too hot, too windy, too foggy, too humid, too.. whatever... Don't get me wrong, there are many lovely days to be outside, but don't expect long and dry summers. 

So if you're looking for a nice, sunny, warm, and cheap country: go to Bali. If not, you will have a blast in Amsterdam for sure!