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Amsterdam Rankings: Quality of Life, Cost of Living, Crime Rate, Culture…

How does Amsterdam rank?

On this page we keep track of all manner of Amsterdam rankings — in local and international surveys, and on a wide variety of topics. Quality of life, cost of living, crime rate, public transport, livability, and so on.

Bookmark this page, as it is updated frequently. Below you’ll find the following topics, with the most recent ranking listed at the top.

Dynamic City
Cost of Living
Quality of Life
Popularity Worldwide
Popularity within the Netherlands
Public Transport

Updated March 3, 2019

Amsterdam remains the least safe city in the Netherlands, according to the 2019 edition of the Crime Index1 published annually by Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad.

The city held on to its position in the index even though there was a reduction in the number of the most common type of crimes.

For instance, in 2018 there were 1000 fewer home burglaries in Amsterdam than the year before. Police also recorded some 1300 fewer cases of pick-pocketing (from 6609 in 2017 down 20% to 5257 in 2018).

However, the number of shop robberies increased by 23% from 184 to 226. Street robberies are up as well: 1235 victims verses 1194 a year earlier.

Amsterdam’s crime figures are skewed in large part by the fact that the city is visited by masses of tourists.

The rankings in the Misdaadmeter are compiled on the basis of police reports for 10 common crimes which have a high impact on people’s perception of safety.

These offenses are offset per municipality against the number of inhabitants. As a result, ten burglaries in a small municipality count more heavily than ten burglaries in a large one. Moreover, the offenses are weighed according to the impact on the victim, based on research by the Netherlands Institute for Social Research (Sociaal en Cultureel Planbureau). Thus incidents of maltreatment weigh heavier than threats, and home burglary is considered worse than pick-pocketing.

Eindhoven takes second place in the Top 3 of least safe municipalities in the Netherlands, while Rotterdam occupies the third spot.

Note: the Crime Index does not take into account organized crime — though burglaries, car theft and pick-pocketing crimes may well be committed by roving gangs.

But Amsterdam, like other municipalities throughout the Netherlands and beyond, also sees a high instance of so-called plofkraken — the practice of trying to break open ATMs with explosives. Though seldom successful, criminals have been using increasingly more powerful explosives, which often cause substantial damage to shops and nearby homes.

Moreover, hand grenades have become a weapon of choice for criminals attempting to intimidate or assassinate their enemies.

Coffeeshops (the cannabis-selling type) are increasingly targeted — usually just by placing a grenade on or near the door of a business.

Business properties are sometimes hit by gunfire in the middle of the night.

Since the City tends to close2, at least temporarily, businesses thus targeted these attacks could be a way to get rid of competitors. It has also been suggested that criminals are trying to hurt each other’s white-wash operations.

Still: In the Safe Cities Index 2017, published by The Economist, Amsterdam ranks sixth globally and first in Europe when it comes to safety.

Incidentally: that infamous ‘Scam City‘ broadcast about Amsterdam was, well, a scam.

police on horseback

Man argues with Amsterdam police officer over a traffic ticket. The horse seems more interested than the cop.

Dynamic City

Updated July 14, 2018

Amsterdam again ranks fourth place on the Savills IM Dynamic Cities index of the most dynamic cities in Europe.

Compiled by Savills Investment Management, the list — now in its second edition — ranks Europe’s top 40 cities by six categories: Investment, Innovation, Inspiration, Inclusion, Interconnection and Infrastructure.3

Dynamic Cities identifies six factors, modeled using 60 indicators, that make cities attractive to talent, resilient to disruptive technology and a leader in the knowledge economy.

The company says that future commercial real-estate market performances are dependent on strong economic growth, wealth, technology and positive population trends.

The top cities for real-estate investment have strong infrastructure investment and well-developed knowledge networks, boast a global talent pool and have strong cultural amenities to help retain that talent. Furthermore, they continue to attract highly skilled labour that creates wealth over the longer term.

Hence the Dynamic Cities project allows investors to choose cities where most people want to work, rest, and play.

Like last year, Amsterdam makes the top 10 for interconnection, inspiration, innovation, and investment.

All of the top 10 cities saw an increase in their overall scores this year, apart from London, which declined by 1 point.

London still leads the list, followed by Cambridge and Paris — which swapped placed. Berlin remains in fifth place.

In this year’s report Savills notes the evolution of Amsterdam’s Zuidas, which is increasingly becoming an urban hub and residential area. Sustainability plays a key role in the district’s evolution, which over the next few years is expected to grow with 300,000 sqm of office space, 400,000 sqm of facilities and 7,000 new homes.

Also highlighted is the infrastructure project which will allow for the expansion of the Zuidas train station. The train station will benefit from a public transport terminal, additional tracks and greenery. The number of travelers passing through the station is expected to grow from approximately 80,000 today to up to 300,000 by 2030.

Video: Kiran Patel, global chief investment officer at Savills Investment Management, provides an overview of the Dynamic Cities project and its value for commercial real estate investors.

Cost of Living

Updated June 28, 2018

Amsterdam has become more expensive for expats, according to the 2018 edition of Mercer‘s annual Cost of Living Survey. The city ranks 50th in the world — a significant advance from its position at 85 last year.

The high cost of rental properties in Amsterdam is primarily responsive for the jump. Prices on the housing market have risen significantly.

Another reason is the strong position of the euro against the dollar, according to Mercer. This makes it more expensive for companies that work in dollars to send their staff to Amsterdam. That is also why many cities in Western Europe have advanced on the list.

Seen over a 20-year period (1998-2018), the cost of living in Amsterdam has increased by 8 percent.

Despite the 35-place jump on the list, among Western European cities Amsterdam remains at 12th place — just like last year.

The top ten most expensive cities in the 24th edition edition of Mercer’s Cost of Living Survey:

  1. Hong Kong, HKSAR
  2. Tokyo, Japan
  3. Zurich, Switzerland
  4. Singapore, Singapore
  5. Seoul, South Korea
  6. Luanda, Angola
  7. Shanghai, China
  8. Ndjamena, Chad
  9. Beijing, China
  10. Bern, Switzerland

Mercer’s survey includes 375 cities across five continents. It measures the comparative cost of more than 200 items in each location, including housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods, and entertainment. New York City is used as the base city for all comparisons, and currency movements are measured against the US dollar.

The comprehensive survey helps multinational companies and governments determine compensation strategies for their expatriate employees.

Video: Mercer’s 2018 Cost of Living City Ranking

On the Cost of Living Index published by Expatistan, a website that tracks over 200 cities worldwide, Amsterdam ranks 35th — up from 42nd in June of last year.

Expatistan is a Collaborative international cost of living index. Last time we checked (June 30, 2018) the site included 2,479,000 prices entered by 278,500 users in 2,282 different cities. The site uses Prague, Czech Republic, as its reference city.

It is a handy website to check the cost of a range of goods and services in Amsterdam — in Euro or in the currency of your choice.

Numbeo, which has a similar approach to Expatistan, in June 2018 ranks Amsterdam 33th out of 546 cities in the world.4


Updated December 29, 2018

Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, in 2018 also remains the country’s ‘murder capital’.

According to Moordatlas (Murder Map), fourteen murders took place in Amsterdam this year. (2017: 16; 2016: 24). The city also saw three liquidations in the criminal circuit.

Rotterdam is in second place with 12 murders.


Updated May, 2018

Amsterdam is the second most LGBT-friendly city in the world, says Nestpick5, a Germany-based online platform for furnished rental homes and rooms in the mid-range. Madrid takes first place, while Toronto, Tel Aviv, and London round out the Top 5. These cities are followed by Berlin, Brighton (UK), Barcelona, New York City, and San Francisco, along with 90 other cities in the company’s Top 100 Best LGBT Cities 2017.

The list is compiled by polling the LGBT communities in 80 countries on three factors: the strength of their city’s gay dating scene, the quality of its LGBT nightlife, and the openness of their fellow citizens. Nestpick adds a fourth category of safety, determined by public statistics provided by police departments.

Finally, a fifth category considers the LGBT rights of citizens in each of the 40 countries included in the ranking.

The entire country of the Netherlands ranks 11th out of 49 European countries in the 2018 country ranking produced by ILGA-Europe — the European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association.

By the way: the hugely popular Gay Pride Canal Parade will take place Saturday, August 4, 2018

Amsterdam gay pride boat parade

Crowds gather on and along the river Amstel in anticipation of Amsterdam’s Gay Pride Canal Parade


Updated March, 2018

Nestpick notes that millennials care more about housing and human rights than about partying or, as sometimes perceived, a sense of entitlement.

In the introduction to its 2018 Millennial Cities Ranking6 report, Nestpick — a company that helps people find furnished apartments across Europe — says it has “witnessed first-hand a clear pattern in the way that young professionals flock to some of the most dynamic urban districts.”

In 2018, the second year the company publishes this report, Amsterdam ranks at number 4 in the Top Ten of Best Cities for Millennials.

The methodology included anything from looking at the median price of a 39m2 furnished apartment, to scores on transport, health, internet speed, LGBT friendliness, gender equality, and employment opportunities.

Quality of Life

These indexes can differ greatly as various firms use different criteria and statistics.

Updated March, 2018

The Deutsche Bank, in its report “Mapping the World’s Prices 2018,”7 ranks Amsterdam in 10th place in the Quality of Life index.

  1. Wellington, New Zealand
  2. Zurich, Switzerland
  3. Copenhagen, Denmark
  4. Edinburgh, UK
  5. Vienna, Austria
  6. Helsinki, Finland
  7. Melbourne, Australia
  8. Sydney, Australia
  9. Frankfurt, Germany
  10. Amsterdam, Netherlands

In its Quality of Living Index 2018, Mercer lists Amsterdam in 12th place. The rest of the list:

  1. Vienna, Austria
  2. Zurich, Switzerland
  3. Auckland, New Zealand
  4. Munich, Germany
  5. Vancouver, Canada
  6. Dusseldorf, Germany
  7. Frankfurt, Germany
  8. Geneva, Switzerland
  9. Copenhagen, Denmark
  10. Basel, Switzerland (shared place)
  11. Sydney, Australia (shared place)
  12. Amsterdam, Netherlands
  13. Berlin, Germany
  14. Bern, Switzerland
  15. Wellington, New Zealand

Basel is a newcomer in the list. It shares 10th place with Sydney Australia, which means Amsterdam drops one rank to number twelve verses number eleven in last year’s list.

Popularity Worldwide

Updated July 11, 2017

Amsterdam has entered the top ten of the world’s most popular cities as defined by IPSOS, a global marketing and research firm.

The company interviewed almost 19.000 adults across 26 countries. Participants were asked, “Based on what you have seen yourself, or heard about from others, which three
cities in the world do you think are the best to 1) Live in? 2) Visit? and 3) Do business in?

There were sixty cities to choose from. The sum of the three scores for each city was calculated (% live in plus % visit plus % do business) to arrive at the IPSOS Cities Index.

Amsterdam is the only newcomer to the list, moving up to tenth place from 14th in the previous version of the Index.

CitiesIndex Score20172013
New York5011
Abu Dhabi4624
Sydney365 (shared)5
Zurich365 (shared)6
Tokyo365 (shared)7
Los Angeles28910

Popularity within the Netherlands

As in its previous three editions, the 2017 edition of the biannual Cities and Regions survey published by brand consultancy firm Hendrik Beerda8 identifies Amsterdam as the most popular city in the Netherlands.

The survey notes that the city of Rotterdam has strongly gained in popularity, jumping from sixth place to second.

The growing popularity of Rotterdam is mainly due to the continuous renewal of the city — with a flow of striking, innovative construction projects.

Amsterdam is renowned for its canals, wide variety and selection of cultural offerings, attractive restaurants, and its many shops.

The top ten most popular cities, including their rankings in 2015, 2013, and 2011:

  1. (1,1,1) Amsterdam
  2. (4,4,6) Rotterdam
  3. (3,3,3) Utrecht
  4. (2,2,2) Maastricht
  5. (5,5,4) Den Haag
  6. (7,7,7) Groningen
  7. (8,9,10) Nijmegen
  8. (6,6,5) ‘s-Hertogenbosch
  9. (14,14,-) Delft9
  10. (12,15,12) Haarlem
Public Transport

Updated May 26, 2017

Worldwide, Amsterdam ranks 6th in the list of cities where public transportation costs the most, says the World Economic Forum.10 Reported in dollars, the monthly cost of using public transport in Amsterdam is $108.60, vs $174 in London (1st place), $102.70 in Toronto, Canada (10th), or $86.10 in San Francisco (16th).11


Updated May 4, 2017

As part of its Quality of Living Index, in 2017 Mercer also ranked cities based on their infrastructure — the availability of electricity, drinking water, telephone and e-mail services, public transport, the amount of traffic jams and the supply of international flights.

Amsterdam scored well on all points, except for the degree of traffic jams. Mercer notes that “[b]y addressing this problem, Amsterdam will become more attractive to foreign organizations.”


Updated April 3, 2017

Amsterdam is the most cultural city in the world according to credit broker TotallyMoney12.

The company used TripAdvisor to determine the number of theaters (in Amsterdam: 96), museums (81), art galleries (54), World Heritage sites (2), concert halls (8), and Michelin-starred restaurants (43) in the 30 cities worldwide that received most international overnight visitors.


  1. Dutch: Misdaadmeter
  2. The closures are motivated by the need to safeguard
  3. Savills IM Dynamic Cities
  4. Numbeo’s rankings are based on user-contributed data.
  5. Best LGBT Cities 2017, Nestpick
  6. 2018 Millennial Cities Ranking, Nestpick
  7. Report published March, 2018
  8. Steden & Streken Merkenonderzoek, Hendrik Beerda, in cooperation with the University of Utrecht
  9. In 2011, Delft was not listed because in that year the 25 largest municipalities were measured (now the 50 largest)
  10. World Economic Forum, These are the cities where commuting costs the most, May 26, 2017. Figures used are based on Mapping the World’s Prices 2017, a report by Deutsche Bank (May 3, 2017) and Expatistan — a site that tracks the cost of living in over 200 countries.
  11. Prices do not take into account discounts.
  12. The World’s Most Cultural Cities, TotallyMoney. The report uses visitor numbers from 2013 through 2015.
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