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Amsterdam popular with expats and students

DutchAmsterdam.nl — The quality of life, culture, the balance between work and leisure and the central European location, are among the main reasons for expats and foreign students to come to Amsterdam.

So says a study by Ernst & Young among ‘internationals,’ of which Amsterdam has some 90,000 — twelve percent of the total urban population.

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This group is growing, primarily due to an increase of so-called ‘free-movers’ from other countries within the European Union. Free-movers are not sent out by a company but instead come to Amsterdam, for study or work, on their own initiative.

After finishing their studies many student continue making the city their home, Amsterdam daily Het Parool reports.

The study, performed at the request of the municipality, Amsterdam Region Business Association ORAM and the Amsterdam Chamber of Commerce, shows that the city’s healthy lifestyle — such as the emphasis on bicycling as a public mode of transportation — and the challenging educational environment also act as big draws.

Negative aspects are the lack of affordable apartments, the unfriendly treatment in restaurants, shops, and public transport, and the expensive taxis.

The study also notes complaints about the lack of information in English and the limited number of international schools. Foreigners also have considerable difficulty finding their way in the Dutch health care system. In addition they have trouble understanding the intricacies of the housing rental system.

Most of the internationals are positive about Amsterdam’s Expat Center — which is billed as “a one-stop-shop service for highly-skilled migrants arriving in Amsterdam or Amstelveen.”
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This post was last updated: Sep. 11, 2011