Discussion in 'Europe' started by larry_davis, May 10, 2006.
what are your pro's and con's of living there?
One thing you might enjoy about Amsterdam -- and most of Western Europe -- is that they are secular societies.
I live about 30 minutes from Amsterdam. It's a great city. According to the Economist's Intelligence Unit, Amsterdam ranks number 13 among the most liveable cities in the world. By comparison, the highest ranked U.S. city is San Francisco at number 28.
Personal freedoms are pretty high on the Dutch agenda. Prostitution is legal. You can buy and use soft drugs legally but you cannot grow or sell them legally. Don't ask me to explain that. Surprisingly, perhaps, gambling and alcohol are probably bigger problems here among the youth than drugs.
It's fairly expensive to live here. Taxes are high but so are salaries. Public services are high standard and university education is virtually free for the Dutch, if they qualify. The euro is still about 20 percent higher than the dollar. Average house prices are around 250,000 euro. Rentals in Amsterdam will cost you between 1000 (if you're lucky) and 5,000 euro a month in the free-market sector, depending on your luxury requirements. There is subsidized housing, but there's also a waiting list.
Health care is good, universal, inexpensive and subsidized (if you earn less than 36,000 euro a year). Gas is just under 6 euro a gallon (1.50 a liter), but many cars get 20 miles or more to the gallon. An average Sedan (Japanese or European) costs around 25,000 euro. Smaller cars are cheaper -- all the way down to 10,000 euro. But the Porches and Lamborghinis are probably cheaper in the States.
Food is cheap, dining out is not. At a restaurant with a good cuisine, you will probably eat and drink about 50 euro a person. There are of course less and more expensive restaurants. Public transportation is fairly cheap, good quality and widespread. Many consumer products carry a 19 percent VAT or sales tax. Some of this is deductible if you own your own business.
On the other hand, student life is quite cheap, with many restaurants, facilities and overnight accommodations (hostels) for backpackers. If you move to Amsterdam, you'll need a bicycle to get around easily and quickly. There are very few parking places in Amsterdam and the fines for illegal parking are steep.
But the cultural life is wonderful. There are many museums, theaters and art expositions. There are frequent street markets, the occasional free concert along a canal and plenty of colourful people lining the streets.
The Dutch are generally quite pro-American (except for Bush) and most people speak acceptable English and usually one or two other languages besides Dutch. The Netherlands is a pleasant, low-noise, low-profile, tidy little country, with very few police in evidence and relatively little poverty or crime. It has its share of social problems, but it also has more than its share of solutions.
I like many American and European cities -- Paris, London, Rome, New York and San Francisco, to name some that I'm more familiar with -- but Amsterdam is an original, a multicultural society that works quite well.
Hope that helps.
thank you, that info was very helpful...and interesting.
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