What salary should you expect when applying for or accepting a job in the Netherlands? What income is considered good, and what is needed for a comfortable life in Amsterdam? Bad news for expats from the US and UK – salaries in the Netherlands are on average lower than in your country.
What is a good salary in the Netherlands? A monthly net wage between 2,800 EUR and 3,500 EUR is considered a good wage. This corresponds to an annual gross salary of above 45,000 EUR. Everyone getting between 3,750 EUR and 5,000 EUR gross per month is a good earner.
The Netherlands and particularly Amsterdam is a popular destination for expats and students. It’s a very culturally diverse place with many large international companies to work for. Read this article to learn what to expect regarding salaries and costs when moving to the Netherlands in 2022.
What is considered a good salary in the Netherlands?
In the Netherlands, a monthly net income between 2,800 EUR and 3,500 EUR is considered to be a good salary. With that income, you can afford a two-bedroom apartment not far away from the city center, eating out, and traveling around on weekends.
Are you thinking of taking a job in the Netherlands? Salary is an essential aspect of any job ad doesn’t matter what others say. The Netherlands isn’t known for particularly high salaries, but they aren’t low either.
The Netherlands is an attractive place to work for skilled international professionals. Only Amsterdam alone is home to over 2,000 multinational companies.
Foreign employees, in particular, can boost their income by benefiting from some reasonable tax exemptions.
Salaries in the Netherlands range from 1,480 EUR (lowest average) to 23,400 EUR (highest average). 50% of all employees earn less than 5,590 EUR gross per month or 67,000 annually.
For instance, the median Expat salary in Amsterdam is 48,000 EUR gross or 34,882 EUR net. That translates to 2,907 EUR monthly after tax. At the same time, the ordinary median income in the Netherlands is 2,100 EUR net.
It’s a good salary for a single person, giving you a decent standard of life. A family will likely need two incomes to have a good standard of living.
Usually, expats spend around 1,500 EUR on rent, around 500 EUR on groceries, 200 EUR on eating out, and the rest is spent on leisure and savings.
Example of the decent salary in the Netherlands:
Base gross salary: 56,500 EUR including 8% holiday pay. That’s 4,359 EUR gross per month plus 8% holiday pay: 4,185 EUR.
Gross vs Net salary
Taxes in the Netherlands are quite high. So you need to be aware how much of your the salary will be given away to the government each month. Here are exact numbers for gross annual and net monthly wages.
|€20,000 – €1,535||€25,000 – €1,810||€30,000 – €2,050||€35,000 – €2,285|
|€40,000 – €2,500||€45,000 – €2,700||€50,000 – €2,920||€55,000 – €3,135|
|€60,000 – €3,345||€65,000 – €3,560||€70,000 – €3,765||€75,000 – €3,950|
|€80,000 – €4,135||€85,000 – €4,320||€90,000 – €4,505||€95,000 – €4,690|
|€100,000 – €4,900||€125,000 – €5,955||€150,000 – €7,005||€200,000 – €9,110|
Bonuses, holiday pay and remuneration packages
In addition to your standard monthly salary, employees receive a holiday allowance in May, which is equivalent to 8% of annual earnings (roughly one month’s salary). It’s intended to cover expenses for your summer holidays.
Furthermore, some companies also offer performance-based bonuses, which may be paid out monthly, quarterly, or annually. Other benefits can include a company car, mobile phone, or the coverage of your monthly costs for transportation.
Salary expectations in Amsterdam
What should you earn in the Dutch capital to have a good life? Many expats from the US and UK are coming for work in Amsterdam. They often get surprised that Dutch salaries are significantly lower than the US and slightly under the British average.
Read more about salaries in the UK.
Unfortunately, salaries in the Netherlands are also lower than in Germany, but the cost of living is higher.
Of course, wages will vary significantly based on industry, education, and experience, but in general, salaries in Amsterdam are rather the Dutch average – around 36,000 EUR to 40,000 EUR gross annually.
However, expats often earn more than average, where the median salary for a foreigner in Amsterdam is 48,000 EUR gross or 34,882 EUR net. A comfortable lifestyle is easily manageable with that income.
For university graduates, average starting salaries in Amsterdam by industry:
- Legal sector between 2,500 EUR and 2,800 EUR gross
- Economic sector between 2,500 EUR and 2,800 EUR gross
- Technology sector between 2,200 EUR and 2,500 EUR gross
Some facts about work perspectives in Amsterdam:
- Has more than 2,000 international companies.
- Has 475 international headquarters.
- 12% of total job listings are in English.
- Amsterdam has one of the lowest unemployment rates in Europe.
- There is increasing demand for highly skilled international workers.
Average salary in the Netherlands in 2021
The average gross salary in the Netherlands is 2,959 EUR per month or 2,400 EUR net. Overall, salaries range from 2,520 EUR to 3,405 EUR per month.
According to the Dutch Central Planning Bureau (CPB), in 2020, the annual average gross salary was 36,500 EUR, which is about 3,041 EUR gross per month, net about 2,400 EUR. This number includes holiday pay and other benefits.
Moreover, the median gross salary in 2020 was 36,000 EUR, meaning a monthly net pay of around 2,400 EUR. Yet, the median expat salary is 48,000 EUR in Amsterdam.
A working person in the Netherlands typically earns between 2,400 EUR – 3,000 EUR net per month. The most common salary in the Netherlands is 37,000 EUR or 27,900 EUR net (including an 8% holiday allowance).
The amount is the same throughout the Netherlands.
Moreover, the average salary in the Netherlands ranges significantly among different age groups. Here are some detailed numbers:
|Age group||Average income per month (net)||Average income per year (net)|
|Up to 25 years||€1,083||€13,000|
|25 to 35 years||€2,292||€27,500|
|35 to 45 years||€2,550||€30,600|
|45 to 55 years||€2,800||€ 33,600|
|55 to 65 years||€2,825||€ 33,900|
|65 to 75 years||€2,425||€29,100|
|75 years and older||€2,291||€ 24,500|
You can see more on average salaries in the Netherlands on the website nl.talent.com.
Median salaries for common jobs
- Teacher Primary School €44,650
- Marketing Assistant €43,200
- Graphic Designer €41,700
- Head Chef €40,200
- Train Driver €38,800
- Lab Analyst €37,400
- Secretary €34,300
- Bus Driver €33,600
- Builder €33,500
- Plasterer €32,800
- Electrician €31,800
- Taxi Driver €31,800
- Photographer €30,400
- Printer €30,200
- Waste Collector €29,000
- Courier €27,400
- Receptionist €27,000
- Cleaner €24,800
- Hairdresser €24,500
- Soldier €24,500
- Packer €22,000
Location and average salaries
The average salary in the Netherlands ranges depending on the location. Interestingly, Amsterdam doesn’t provide the highest salaries yet has the highest cost of living.
|2||Well (GE)||€ 3.955|
|4||Den Haag||€ 3.411|
|8||Den Bosch||€ 3.086|
Education and average salaries
Highly educated and skilled expats can expect higher salaries while working in the Netherlands. School definitely pays off in this country.
People with a low level of education (primary education, high school) have an average income of 25,900 EUR.
Someone with vocational training earns an average of 37,100 EUR. The education should be equal to one of the Dutch qualifications such as HAVO/VWO, MBO-2, MBO-3, or MBO-4.
Finally, employees with a high degree have the highest income of around 61,200 EUR on average. Most expats and foreigners usually fall into this category since they need a residence permit to work in the Netherlands. This factor on itself requires them to have high qualifications.
Wages in the Netherlands
With an average salary of 36,500 EUR, Dutch wages still vary significantly depending on the employer, position, and experience.
For example, foreign software developers make between 45,000 EUR and 65,000 EUR gross per year.
Minimum wage in the Netherlands in 2021
The national minimum wage for 2021 is set at 1,684.80 per month (20,218 per year) for adults over the age of 21. From 1 July 2021, it has increased to 1,701 EUR.
Minimum salary for the residence and work permit
In 2021, the minimum monthly gross salary for a highly skilled migrant age 30 or older is 4,752 EUR (57,024 an.). For candidates under age 30, the amount is 3,484 EUR (41,808 an.).
Graduates of Dutch universities and highly educated migrants will need a lower income level to receive a residence permit. A monthly gross salary is 2,497 EUR (29,964 an.) will be enough.
Non-EU workers moving to the Netherlands will need to fulfill the minimum salary requirement when applying for a residence permit. Otherwise, a visa won’t be granted to them.
Read more about salaries in Europe.
Salaries for most common in the Netherlands jobs
What are the highest paying jobs in the Netherlands?
Some of the highest-paying jobs in the Netherlands are in politics, high-level management, law & taxation, and science.
|Member of the board of directors medium organization||363,900|
|General manager medium org.||274,900|
|Pilot Boeing 747||218,500|
|Director of the major hospital||173,000|
|President of the supreme court||159,800|
|Mayor of the large city||152,800|
|Director research and development||147,200|
|Secretary of state||146,900|
|Director of business development||121,800|
|Professor at university||65,750|
Benefits of 30% ruling for expats
As an expat in the Netherlands, you can save on taxes by benefiting from a 30% ruling. In a nutshell, it’s a tax advantage for highly skilled migrants working in the Netherlands.
Your taxable income will be reduced from 100% to 70%, meaning 30% of the wage is tax-free.
Example of 30% ruling:
Base gross salary: 56,500 EUR, including 8% holiday pay.
- Salary 70%: 39,550 EUR
- Per month taxed: 3,295 EUR
- Per month net: 2,548 EUR
- Salary 30% untaxed: 16,950 EUR
- Per month net: 1,412 EUR
- Total net salary: 3,960 EUR
As an expat under the 30% rule, you will get 3,960 EUR net salary while the average Dutch person will receive 3,268 EUR, which is 8,304 EUR less annually.
Who are eligible for a 30% ruling?
Expats conducting scientific research at institutions such as Dutch research universities are always eligible for the 30% ruling. In such cases, there are no salary level requirements.
Moreover, you can benefit from a 30% ruling when fulfilling the following requirements:
- You are an employee in the Netherlands.
- You have specific professional expertise that is in a high demand or not available in the Netherlands.
- You and your employer agree in writing that the 30% ruling applies to your situation.
- You have been recruited or transferred from abroad.
However, only exats with the following salary can apply for a 30% ruling (2021):
- Minimum taxable salary at 70%: 38,961 EUR
- For employees under 30 with a master’s degree: minimum taxable salary at 70% is 29,616 EUR
Cost of living in the Netherlands
How much do you need to make to have a comfortable life in the Netherlands?
The Netherlands is quite similar to other European countries regarding the cost of living. Amsterdam is the country’s most expensive city to live in.
Here is some data on average living expenses in the Netherlands:
- Family of four will need approximately 4,306 EUR
- Single person’s estimated monthly costs are 2,428 EUR
- Cost of living in Netherlands is higher than in 65% of countries in Western Europe (7 out of 17)
- Cost of living in Netherlands is higher than in 82% of countries in the world (13 out of 67)
- Cost of living in Netherlands is 15% more expensive than in Germany
- Cost of living in Amsterdam is similar to Paris
- However, Amsterdam is 26% more expensive than Berlin
With that said, there are some regional differences in the cost of living in the Netherlands, where Amsterdam and Utrecht are the most expensive and city Lelystad is the cheapest one.
Therefore, if you are planning to move to the Netherlands, you will also make more money in Amsterdam. A gross salary of around 40,000 EUR is recommended. With that, an employee gets 2,567 EUR net per month.
Keep in mind that living in Amsterdam’s central areas is particularly expensive, pushing residents to seek out accommodation in neighboring municipalities, such as Amstelveen.
Nonetheless, Amsterdam also offers some of the highest salaries in the country.
House prices in the Netherlands have surged in the last few years, and as a result, finding affordable accommodation in the main Dutch cities can be a challenge.
Especially when it comes to furnished apartments, Dutch people usually don’t rent furnished, so you can easily pay 400 EUR for a place with the furniture.
Many people in the Netherlands live in shared apartments with their friends or partners for all these reasons.
The rent for a studio or one-bedroom apartment in Amsterdam can range from 1,000–1,900 EUR a month, depending on which neighborhood you live in.
While three-bedroom apartments in central Amsterdam starts from around 2,100 EUR.
In other popular Dutch cities, including Rotterdam, Utrecht, Amstelveen, and Haarlem, you can expect to pay slightly less than in the capital.
Housing prices in Amsterdam:
- Social housing: up to €737
- Room flat share: €400-1,200
- Studio apartment: €700-1,300
- 1 bed apartment: €900-1,700
- 2 bed apartment: €1,100-2,400
- 2-3 bed house: €2,000-4,000
|2-bedroom apartment in Amsterdam will cost you|
|Rent for 85 m2 apartment in the city center||€2,622|
|Rent for 85 m2 apartment outside the center||€1,975|
|Utilities for 2 people in 85m2 apartment||€168|
|1-bedroom apartment in Amsterdam will cost you|
|Rent for 45 m2 apartment in the city center||€1,536|
|Rent for 45 m2 apartment outside the center||€1,230|
|Utilities for 1 person in 45m2 apartment||€129|
Food in the Netherlands is on the European average but more expensive than in Germany. Eating and drinking can be pricey, depending on your consumption and tastes.
A beer costs 3 EUR, a cocktail 10 EUR, and having a meal will set you back on 20-40 EUR per person.
Groceries are available at more affordable prices at the discounts like Albert Heijn, but regular and high-level supermarkets are more expensive.
Prices of some items:
- Friet (chips) €2.50
- Big Mac (McDonalds) €3.95
- Combo Meal (McDonalds) €7.25
- Sandwich/Bagel (cafe) €4.00-8.00
- Main Course Meal (standard eetcafe) €10-20
- Meal+Wine+Dessert (per person) €30-100
- Beer (250ml) €2.50
- Beer (500ml) €4.50
- House Wine (glass) €4.00
- Mineral Water/Soft Drink (glass) €2.00-2.50
- Espresso €2.00-2.50
- Cappuccino/Koffie Verkeerd/Latte €3.00
- Starbucks Caffe Latte Grande €3.75
- Tea (cup) €2.30-2.80
As a general rule, expats should budget around 300–500 EUR per month for grocery shopping, while singles and students will be able to live off significantly less.
The monthly ticket for public transport will cost you 97,50 EUR in Amsterdam, while a one-hour tram or bus ticket costs 3,20 EUR.
Is 100k a good salary for a couple in Amsterdam, Netherlands?
A salary of 100,000 EUR is considered to be very good in Amsterdam. It’s much higher than the average salary. This amount will leave you 59,339 EUR annually or 4,945 EUR monthly after-tax.
With that income, you and your partner can live a comfortable but not extravagant lifestyle. For a family with kids, it’s still solid income but doesn’t leave you much room for saving and leisure.
Your monthly expenses might look as follows:
|Rent for a 3-bedroom home||2,000–2,500 EUR|
|Health insurance||240 EUR (2 person)|
|Public transport||200 EUR (2 person)|
|Going out||400 EUR|
|Disposable income:||920 EUR|
|Savings||around 500 EUR|
Consequently, 100,000 EUR annually gross is a decent amount of money in the capital of the Netherlands, Amsterdam.
Is 60k a good salary in the Netherlands?
A salary of 60,000 EUR is considered to be good in the Netherlands. It’s 70% above the national average wage. 60,000 EUR will leave you 40,993 EUR annually or 3,416 EUR monthly after-tax as a single person.
60,000 EUR is the salary of someone with at least an undergrad university degree and many years of experience in their industry.
Earning 60,000 EUR gross as a single will give you a great lifestyle in the Netherlands, while a family with kids will barely make ends meet with such income.
If you don’t rent a place in the city center but choose areas outside of the downtown, your living costs can be reduced significantly.
In the more affordable neighborhoods of any Dutch city, rents range between 750-900 EUR instead of 1,500 EUR in the central area. After all expenses, you will have about 1,000 EUR for living and savings.
Taxes in the Netherlands
Before you make any conclusions about salaries in the Netherlands, you need to understand how much of it goes to taxes and social security funds. And taxes in Europe are pretty high.
As an employee, you pay the following taxes:
- income tax
- contribution for health insurance
- contribution for pension
- contribution for survivor benefits
- contribution for long-term care
Social security taxes are deducted directly from your salary. Contributions are made by both you and your employer in accordance with your earnings.
Personal Income Tax Rates in the Netherlands in 2021:
|Annual salary (EUR)||Tax Rate|
|0 – 68,508||37,10%|
Total tax and social security contributions deductions for employees in the Netherlands are high. If you don’t benefit from a 30% ruling, taxes will eat about 38% of your monthly income.
Furthermore, employees pay 27,65% of their gross salaries for social security contributions. Yet, this amount is split between employee and employer.