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Tech Career Insights: Lower cost of living commuter cities outside Amsterdam
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Lower cost of living commuter cities outside Amsterdam

30 June 2023, by Simone Markham

Amsterdam is one of Europe’s largest tech hubs with many software engineering job opportunities on offer. Although there are plenty of developer positions to explore, you may find living in Amsterdam too costly, or maybe you have struggled to find accommodation, or perhaps city life doesn’t appeal to you.


The good news is that the Netherlands has a great transport system, meaning you can find a home in a more cost-effective town just outside Amsterdam’s borders.

Here is our list of the best commuter towns to consider if you are working in Amsterdam.


Haarlem is great for those looking for a slightly cheaper and smaller city compared to Amsterdam. Rent prices are 9.5% cheaper in Haarlem and there are larger homes available. This makes it ideal for those with a family. There are also picturesque canal homes to choose from if you’d prefer to live on the water.

The capital of Northern Holland will also appeal to those interested in history. The city has its own district dedicated to museums and galleries. In between your museum visits, there are lots of cafes and eateries situated in small, charming lanes and courtyards that you can walk through and enjoy.

If you’re looking for a beach-day getaway, the city conveniently sits halfway between Amsterdam and the beach. It should take you around 36 minutes via train and only 12 minutes in a car to get to the nearest beach.

Commuting to Amsterdam from Haarlem will take you about 13 minutes via train and 34 minutes in a car, making it an ideal location for those working in a hybrid or in office setup. However, it isn’t ideal to own a car in this city since there is quite a bit of traffic leaving and entering the city, and there are plenty of public transport options available.


Since Hoofddorp is situated close to Schiphol Airport, property prices are usually kept quite low. The town offers a suburban atmosphere with large homes and apartments to choose from, with rental prices around 5.3% less than Amsterdam.

There are many green spaces to explore, making it ideal for families and those who enjoy being outdoors. If you’d prefer to look through some shops, you can visit Hoofddorp Shopping City, or the weekly market that opens on a Friday.

Travelling in a car to Amsterdam will take you around 29 minutes from Hoofddorp, and about 16 minutes via train, making it ideal for those working in office daily or only a few times a week. Considering the great public transport options and since Hoofddorp is a town, it may be easier and cheaper to get around without a car. However, most homes will offer parking so it is an option to consider.


Purmerend is a quiet but relatively large town offering some of the cheapest cost of living rates on this list. It is significantly cheaper than living in Amsterdam and there are bigger homes on offer that makes it ideal for families.

There are also lots of family-orientated and outdoor activities available, but few cultural and entertainment events to choose from.

Travelling to Amsterdam on a train will take you around 24 minutes and 33 minutes in a car, which may make the town a better option for those working in a hybrid setup. Owning a car in Purmerend is doable since traffic is usually quite light around the town, but there are public transport options available if you’d prefer to use those.


Zaandam is another town that offers a significantly cheaper cost of living than Amsterdam, with rent prices that are 40% lower. There are mostly apartments on offer and a few houses on the outskirts.

Zaandam has a small-town feel with a traditional Dutch atmosphere. It was once an industrial town that served as a milling centre, so there are still a few factories around. Today you can enjoy this part of its history by visiting the windmills at Zaanse Schans.

The historic Czar Peter House known as the Zaans Museum is also available to visit for those interested in history. Or if you’re craving some art, you can check out the Claude Monet Museum. The Inntel Hotels are a spectacle to admire, even if you’re not particularly interested in architecture or buildings. Besides these cultural sites, there aren’t a lot of entertainment events happening in Zaandam.

Commuting to Amsterdam via train will take you about 6 minutes, making it perfect for those working in office or hybrid setups. Driving in a car to Amsterdam will take you around 27 minutes and it’s not ideal since the traffic getting inside and out of the city is quite heavy.


Almere is the newest city in the Netherlands, so most of the buildings and homes are modern. There are large homes that come with gardens to choose from, or you can even design and build your own.

Even though most of the homes are big and newly built, rent in Almere will likely be 37.1% lower than in Amsterdam. It is, however, a little more expensive than living in a town like Zaandam or Purmerend.

Considering the larger homes on offer, this is a great city for families. There are also family-focused events to attend. If you’d prefer to explore the outdoors, there are plenty of green spaces and a lake to visit.

It’ll take you about 41 minutes to get to Amsterdam from Almere via train and 31 minutes in a car. Owning a car in Almere is doable since most houses come with off-street parking, but there are also great public transport options available. Whether you choose to own a car or make use of public transport, it may be a better city for those working in a hybrid setup that means you only have to go into office twice or three times a week.


You’ll find the oldest university in the Netherlands in Leiden, with their historic buildings scattered around the city. There are also plenty of museums to visit, including one for windmills, a biodiversity centre, an antique museum, and even a weaver house. If you’d prefer to be outdoors, you can visit the oldest botanical garden in the Netherlands.

This city is rich in culture and history, and it offers an international atmosphere due to the variety of students that travel to attend the esteemed Leiden University. Considering the student population, there will be a lot of evening events to attend.

There are large, old houses on offer and some homes come with gardens making it ideal for families. It’s quite a popular city due to the university, but rent prices are still 2.8% lower than in Amsterdam.

The city offers a great public transport system meaning it’s not really necessary to own a car. There are also lots of locals that opt to ride bicycles instead. Also, commuting to Amsterdam in a car will take you around 43 minutes, but it takes about 33 minutes via train. This will be a great city for those working in a hybrid setup where you go into office twice or three times a week.

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