Author Topic: Moving to Amsterdam  (Read 2923 times)

MuDraconis

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Moving to Amsterdam
« on: December 31, 2014, 03:52:41 AM »
Hello and happy last day of the year to everybody!
Long time reader of the site here looking to leverage the wisdom of this wonderful community.

As the title of this post suggests I'm moving to Amsterdam for a new job that is starting in January.

I'd be grateful to anyone who could give me some advice on how to keep my living expenses low in that fine city, especially w.r.t. housing.

Living quarters:
  I already subscribed to 'kamernet' and other such sites, check regularly the relevant expatriates.com page and looked a bit into the 'anti-kraak' way of accommodating people but I still have to find something appropriate.
  I'm looking for an apartment or a room, ideally in the western side of town (inside the ring would be great) for an affordable price (let's say less than 700 euros / month, bills included).

Transport:
  I'll buy a bike (of course!) as soon as I land and would not use other forms of transportation very often, save for the occasional train trip to the airport.
  One way of reducing the train cost might be to buy one of these pre-packaged options: http://www.ns.nl/reizigers/producten/abonnementen .

Mobile phone:
  I already have my own unlocked smartphone so I'm looking only for a local SIM.
  The companies that seem to offer the best deals are:
   - Simyo: https://www.simyo.nl/sim-only#alles-over-sim-only
   - Ben: https://www.ben.nl/sim-only
  with prices ranging from 9.5 to 11 euros / month for 100 minutes + 100 sms + 500 MB of data (depending on the lenght of the contract).
  Does anybody have any experiences with them?
  Is there anyone else with better fares?
  I don't care that much about neither calling time nor sms but a data connection is very important.

Bank account:
  Either ASN or ING seem to offer the lowest costs for day to day business. The savings will be moved to my already existing investment account in my country of origin (Italy) so I'm just looking for the cheapest possible account for my wages and payments.

Health insurance:
  A person on another forum suggested I go with Anderzorg since they seem to have the best prices once you heighten your maximums and pay for the whole year upfront.

Is there anything I'm missing?
Some services that I have overlooked?

Any advice on the aforementioned (but also every other) topic would be most welcome.

Thanks in advance and may you all have a mustachian and happy end of the year / beginning of the new one!

train_writer

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Re: Moving to Amsterdam
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2014, 04:16:47 AM »
It seems you have a lot figured out already. How long are you planning on staying?

Some suggestions.

- Doesn't your employer have a health insurance plan at al? (like an Italian one or maybe AXA, which is common to have for expats). If not, Anderzorg is a good option.

- 700 euros for rent, bills included, is VERY low for Amsterdam! That is more or less the price of social housing in 'the ring' (excluding bills).
Some other options include antikraak by 'Ymere' (if you google antikraak + Ymere you 'll find smth, but probably not ready available); 'sloopwoningen' (also at DUWO or Ymere, sometimes they set an upper age limit of 30 years though). But the best options in Amsterdam are to be find 'via-via'. You can also opt to live in "Diemen", which isn't very pretty-looking, but very doable by bicycle and cheaper. (Diemen is especially a good option if your workgig is in Amsterdam-Zuid or Amstelveen, which i suspect?).

Anyways, good luck moving and happy newyears!

Iconoclast

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Re: Moving to Amsterdam
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2014, 04:19:58 AM »
Hello and congratulations on your upcoming move! Amsterdam is a great city to live in, there's lots of stuff to do there and in the surrounding areas.

This being said, I will reply to a number of points:

Have you tried Marktplaats.nl for a place to live? I think there are also rooms for rent there. Now is a good time to look for quarters, since a number of students will be dropping out of college by now.

Get a regular city bike, one that looks preferrably very shabby, and spend two or three times the amount of the purchase of the bike on a good lock. You'll need it, as bike theft is pretty common there. When you lock up, always connect the lock to a light pole or fence, which will make it harder to steal the bike.

As for a mobile plan, I'd wait and see how available open wifi is in the city. Also, you will probably have wifi or internet at work. Don't just sign up for some expensive data plan. Another option is to have internet at home, and then use the routers of people of the same provider for you wifi in the city. I think the provider UPC offers this possibility.

Health insurance will be somewhere in the 700-800 euro range if you take the highest maximum. Independer.nl does some comparison, but the differences are minimal (hello, price fixing!).

good luck!



Alfred J Quack

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Re: Moving to Amsterdam
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2014, 05:44:38 AM »
Have fun in Amsterdam, beware of pickpockets :P

Simyo: I've been using Simyo for a year and a half now, same for DW. Network is KPN which is generally good. I did swap my subscription to Choozze.nu (Network is T-mobile) because it's a freemium subscription (1 time fee and no additional costs if you don't go over the 100 MB+SMS+min), the data options might also be of interest.

Regarding health insurance you've got it figured out, be ware though especially of the following:
  • The high deductible can be charged up to 3 years after using medical services. If you use healthcare be wary of this and keep the expected charge tucked away and ready to pay. Hospitals are notorious for their late invoicing. I know this because our hospital visit in febuary 2012 still has not been charged!
  • Not all base insurance is equal, the cheapest are usually with limitations on freedom of provider choice. Check up front if your health provider (hospital, physiotherapist) is contracted or your insurance will only pay say 75% of the market tariff.

Captain and Mrs Slow

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Re: Moving to Amsterdam
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2014, 06:01:32 AM »
Do the Dutch not have universal healthcare?

Or is it more like the German system where you have 165 different (public ) companies all offering healthcare. This vs the UK and Canada which have a single payer system.


MuDraconis

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Re: Moving to Amsterdam
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2014, 10:03:14 AM »
First of all thanks to everybody who took the time to reply!

It seems you have a lot figured out already. How long are you planning on staying?

At the moment the contract is one year long, we'll see how it goes from here and decide what to do for 2016.

Some suggestions.

- Doesn't your employer have a health insurance plan at al? (like an Italian one or maybe AXA, which is common to have for expats). If not, Anderzorg is a good option.

I asked them as they seemed to have one in the past but not anymore.

- 700 euros for rent, bills included, is VERY low for Amsterdam! That is more or less the price of social housing in 'the ring' (excluding bills).
Some other options include antikraak by 'Ymere' (if you google antikraak + Ymere you 'll find smth, but probably not ready available); 'sloopwoningen' (also at DUWO or Ymere, sometimes they set an upper age limit of 30 years though). But the best options in Amsterdam are to be find 'via-via'. You can also opt to live in "Diemen", which isn't very pretty-looking, but very doable by bicycle and cheaper. (Diemen is especially a good option if your workgig is in Amsterdam-Zuid or Amstelveen, which i suspect?).

Just to clarify because I don't know if I'm using the correct terminology: with 'inside the ring' I meant inside the A10 ring, not the canal one.
The antikraak solution seems fun and cheap but since the job will involve some travel, sometimes even a week or more, I don't know if it's the best way given that I read one has to be present for frequent visits by the owners.

The age limit should not be a problem for some months (I'm still 29) but I'm obviously excluded from anything that requires you to be a student.

What is this 'via-via' you mention?

As for Diemen: unfortunately it's not a viable option because I will work in the northwestern side of the city, near Westpoort.

Have you tried Marktplaats.nl for a place to live? I think there are also rooms for rent there. Now is a good time to look for quarters, since a number of students will be dropping out of college by now.

Thanks, I didn't know about it. I'll check it out.

As for a mobile plan, I'd wait and see how available open wifi is in the city. Also, you will probably have wifi or internet at work. Don't just sign up for some expensive data plan. Another option is to have internet at home, and then use the routers of people of the same provider for you wifi in the city. I think the provider UPC offers this possibility.

The first time I was there I had trouble finding open wifi spots in the city, some bars in the more touristy area had it but not all of them.
The UPC service is very interesting, in southern Europe there was/is something called 'Fon' (https://corp.fon.com/en) which does more or less the same thing.

Health insurance will be somewhere in the 700-800 euro range if you take the highest maximum. Independer.nl does some comparison, but the differences are minimal (hello, price fixing!).

Thanks, I did a basic check with that site and it also seems so suggest Anderzog as the cheapest one.

Have fun in Amsterdam, beware of pickpockets :P

It's the first city in which I saw signs on the streets reminding you to pay attention to your belongings...

Simyo: I've been using Simyo for a year and a half now, same for DW. Network is KPN which is generally good. I did swap my subscription to Choozze.nu (Network is T-mobile) because it's a freemium subscription (1 time fee and no additional costs if you don't go over the 100 MB+SMS+min), the data options might also be of interest.

Choozze.nu is very interesting indeed!
If I have a more stable connection in the house I think I can manage with 100mb per month of mobile data.

Regarding health insurance you've got it figured out, be ware though especially of the following:
  • The high deductible can be charged up to 3 years after using medical services. If you use healthcare be wary of this and keep the expected charge tucked away and ready to pay. Hospitals are notorious for their late invoicing. I know this because our hospital visit in febuary 2012 still has not been charged!
  • Not all base insurance is equal, the cheapest are usually with limitations on freedom of provider choice. Check up front if your health provider (hospital, physiotherapist) is contracted or your insurance will only pay say 75% of the market tariff.

Ok, noted, thank you very much.

Do the Dutch not have universal healthcare?

Or is it more like the German system where you have 165 different (public ) companies all offering healthcare. This vs the UK and Canada which have a single payer system.

From what I understand it's more like the second scenario, which is a lot different from what I'm used to in Italy where we all pay taxes and healthcare is provided by the state (up to a certain point).

Again thanks to everybody and happy new year!