Thanks for reading my Amsterdam expat guide! My name is Marianne and I’m from Rio. I have always been passionate about new experiences and traveling is one of those passions. I started creating content to share tips with friends who were always asking me to help prepare travel itineraries, but in the end I concluded that a blog would make it much easier.
I had visited Amsterdam a couple of times before moving there. On those trips though, I didn’t fall in love with the city enough to want to make the move – if you can believe that?! The story of eventually moving here began when my husband and I decided to spend some time studying languages abroad. I was invited through my blog Profissão Turista to go to France to study French and share the experience with my readers and followers.
As we were already going to be spending three months in France for this, we chose to quit our jobs in Brazil to be able to study English as well. We later found the Netherlands. Despite it having Dutch as the official language, the locals are exceptional English speakers and once we found that out we decided to move to Amsterdam so we could study English!
Living in the De Pijp Neighborhood of Amsterdam
I live in the De Pijp neighborhood of Amsterdam, which is part of the southern area of the city. We have already lived in four different places in Amsterdam but I can definitely say that De Pijp is my favorite to live in. It’s close to the downtown and many tourist attractions, which is important for my work. The neighborhood also boasts a variety of shops, restaurants and bars. De Pijp is known for being one of the most bohemian spots in the city.
Another spot that I love is the Jordaan neighborhood. It’s where we can capture iconic photos of canals, flowers and bicycles. There are around 100,000 expats in Amsterdam. This is because the city is very welcoming, like the Netherlands as a whole, and because of the opportunities and incentives for foreigners. I know heaps of expats here – I work with people from all over the world and my neighbors are even of different nationalities.
How Dutch Cuisine Compares to Brazilian Food
The Dutch are healthy and the food reflects that. They eat whole peppers and cucumbers as if they were apples. However, the most touristy dishes are fried foods and sweets. I love bitterballen, kaassouffle, kaasstengels and appeltaart the most. In Brazil, we are used to rice and beans for almost every meal. So I always try to make these kinds of dishes at home.
Challenges & Rewards of Expat Life in Amsterdam
After undergoing cancer treatment, I think I have had to overcome all the challenges. Although I would say language is the most complicated thing. Despite English being spoken, all of the street signs are in Dutch and of course the locals speak Dutch. One of the biggest challenges for an expat in Amsterdam is learning the language in order to feel part of the culture.
The biggest reward of being an expat in Amsterdam is getting to feel like a tourist everyday. I’m forever passing through amazing places. Additionally, I like being able to cycle around the city – it’s a common mode of transport and the people embrace it. All of the city is reachable via bike and you don’t need to worry about parking or fuel. That is a great benefit of Amsterdam.
Tips for Moving to Amsterdam as an Expat
If you are thinking of moving to Amsterdam as an expat, my first suggestion is to get health insurance upon arrival. It’s really important. And forget about having to take a variety of medicines too. In Amsterdam they basically use paracetamol for everything. The main thing though is to come with an open mind. That way you can learn from the Dutch lifestyle.
Be sure to check out my YouTube channel because there I have videos talking about visas, registering in the city, renting an apartment, how to get a job, how to get the best health insurance plan and many other topics about life in Amsterdam as an expat. By following this advice, you will be able to seamlessly sync in with the locals and become an Amsterdammer!