Why Is The Netherlands So Expensive?

November 5, 2020

How expensive it is to travel to a country is subjective. It mostly depends on someone's personal travel style and their financial status. But even if travelling is not expensive to some, a conscious and frequent traveller will be able to agree on the spike in travelling costs of the Netherlands, in recent years.

European countries with a thriving economy are usually expensive to visit, the Netherlands is no different. Because Amsterdam has decided to increase the tourist tax by 5% to 6%, a visit to the city has become more expensive. This was done to cover the extra costs incurred because of the crowds.

Accommodations are not the only sector that makes traveling and staying in the Netherlands expensive. If you want to find out more about the travel expenses of the Netherlands and why it is expensive, read on. This article might also help you to plan out your budget for your trip to the Netherlands.  

Why is Amsterdam so Expensive to Visit?

If you have ever been to Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, you will notice that the city is overcrowded and teeming with tourists. Amsterdam is a tourist hotspot and was visited by 9 million tourists in 2019. The whole of the Netherlands saw a whopping 46 million tourists in 2019. 

Although there is no shortage of tourists in Amsterdam, their contribution to the city’s economy in 2017 was only 80 million euros (93 million dollars). By increasing the tourist tax, Amsterdam wants to increase the tourist income by 105 million euros (123 million dollars) annually. This move is one of the reasons why Amsterdam is so expensive to visit.

The reason the city has increased the tourist tax is that the city is overrun with tourists. That costs a lot of money to keep the city clean and safe. By raising the tax, Amsterdam tries to cover these costs.

Another reason why Amsterdam, Netherlands is so expensive is its upkeep. The whole city is like a historical museum worth visiting. To construct roads and buildings there is hence difficult. The upkeep of the infrastructure, buildings, and roads is thus expensive which in turn increases the prices of everything related to it.  

Plus, food and local transportation in Amsterdam, Netherlands is pretty expensive compared to some EU countries. Along with that, local governments cracking down on low-cost tourism with its new tax regulations make it difficult for budget travelers to visit the Netherlands. 

Street view of Amsterdam:

Why is The Netherlands so Expensive - Pic #1

Are you planning to visit Amsterdam? Then be sure to check out our blog about this city. Then you know exactly what the best places to visit are.

How Much Does It Cost to Visit the Netherlands? 

How much it costs to visit the Netherlands depends on where you are travelling from and when you are visiting. For example, if you are visiting the Netherlands from Germany, your travelling expenses will not be too high. But if you are travelling from a third world country, your travelling expenses will be higher.

If you are traveling from outside Europe, you will fly direct to the Netherlands. Ticket prices vary from where and when you book your flight.

 For example, if you fly from New York to Amsterdam, your ticket prices will be from €86 ($100) to €257 ($301). If you are flying from India, your tickets will cost you between €260 ($304) to €860 ($1008).

If you are on a Euro trip, I suggest you travel to the Netherlands via high-speed trains. From Paris to Amsterdam, it will cost you €67 ($78) to €155 ($181) depending on whether you go for comfort or standard fare. From Berlin to Amsterdam it will cost you €39 ($45) to €60 ($70).

The high-speed trains also stop at Utrecht and Rotterdam, so it's also possible to get off the train in one of these cities. If you want to get cheaper tickets for the high-speed train, you will need to book in advance.

When traveling from England to Amsterdam, you can also opt for taking the ferry. The fare varies on the time of the day or year you are traveling.

If you are driving to the Netherlands from within the EU, then you will not have to pay any additional costs! Only vehicles above 12 tons need to buy a Euro vignette.

High-speed train between The Netherlands and Germany:

Why is The Netherlands so Expensive - Pic #2

When is a Visit to The Netherlands Most Expensive?

The worst time and most expensive flights to the Netherlands are during the summer. There is an influx of tourists and thus prices increase in every sector in the months of summer. 

June, July, and August are thus the high seasons. Flights will be expensive during this time. Moreover, you will not enjoy your stay in the country as all tourist places will be overcrowded. Flights from mid-December to early January are pretty expensive too.

You can get moderately priced plane tickets in March and September. But you can catch the cheapest tickets in February.

If you do not want to experience the Dutch winter, not even for cheap flight tickets, then you should visit in May or April. It is the best time to visit Amsterdam and go sightseeing. You should book your tickets three months earlier to get the best-priced tickets. 

How Expensive Are Accommodations in The Netherlands?

You will find hotels of all ranges to stay in in the Netherlands. But due to the increasing number of tourists, the hotels are still a little in the higher price range. 

For a single person, the average price of hotels per night is around €40 ($46) to €80 ($93). The price can rise to over €150 ($175) too. For two people, the price of hotels is over €135 ($158).

Since the hotels are expensive, budget travelers opt for hostels or Air BnBs. But because of so many Air BnBs, the housing prices have increased in the Netherlands. 

Moreover, the local government in Amsterdam increased taxes by 5 to 6 percent so that tourists opt for hotels rather than Air BnBs. Their goal is to decrease the number of budget travelers.

Another goal of the local government is to direct tourists towards the hotels in the suburbs. Hotel prices in the center of the city or densely populated areas like the Red-Light District are high. So, it is better to opt for hotels in the suburb, which are much cheaper.  

Amstel Hotel in Amsterdam, The Netherlands:

Why is The Netherlands so Expensive - Pic #3

How Expensive is Public Transportation in The Netherlands?

The mistake some tourists make while traveling through the Netherlands is that they use taxis or car rentals. There are other cheaper but good quality public transports in the Netherlands other than taxis. 

Car rentals typically start from €17 ($19) to €40 ($46) a day. Also, the price changes throughout the year depending on the number of tourists. Car rentals are the most expensive during the high season.

 Taxi rides cost around €10 ($11) or more. Instead of expensive taxi rides, you should opt for other public transports like train, tram or bus. A ride on the tram will only cost you €3.20 ($3.75). You can travel by metro or bus for only €2 ($2.34). Instead of buying individual tickets, you can also buy a transport card that allows you to travel by any public transportation.

 The most effective way to travel in the Netherlands is by cycling. The country is super bike-friendly. You can rent a cycle for the whole day at €10 ($11) to €40 ($46), the price decreases the longer you rent the bike.

How Expensive is Food in The Netherlands?

If you dine at the restaurants near tourist attractions or in the center of the city, of course, the price of meals there will be expensive. But normal dine-in at normal restaurants are pretty expensive too. The average cost of a meal at a restaurant per person is €30 ($35).

Street food and eating at fast-food chains are much more budget-friendly than dine-in restaurants. Bitterballen, kroketten, and Broodje Haring are must-try street foods. On average you will have to pay around €2 ($2.34) to €10 ($11) on street food. 

You can also buy food from the supermarket to have budget-friendly meals, or you can visit a cafe, bakeries, and delis. Although they might be more expensive than the supermarket, you can catch some good deals here. 

Bitterballen, one of the most popular snacks in The Netherlands:

Why is The Netherlands so Expensive - Pic #4

How Expensive are Tourist Attractions in The Netherlands? 

The Netherlands is such a tourist-friendly country because of its manifold tourist attractions. It has over 400 museums all over the country. You will find entertainment of all price ranges in the Netherlands. 

Many museums have an accessible entrance fee. This is done to allow as many people as possible to enjoy Dutch culture and history. The entry price to most museums is between €4 ($4.69) to €25 ($29). You can easily view the current admission prices of all museums via the internet.

Keukenhof is one of the famous gardens in the Netherlands. The entry fee for it is from €9 ($10.55) to €19 ($22). A guided tour here is a bit expensive. It will cost you €69 ($80). 

You will also find various free things to do here. Many museums offer free entrée. Again, the Netherlands is a hiker’s haven, and there are 20 parks scattered all over the country.


The Netherlands may be expensive, but that does not mean you cannot travel to the country. Although the local government increased the tax regulations in Amsterdam, you can still travel to Utrecht, The Hague, and Rotterdam on a budget. You could also visit the oldest city in the Netherlands, Nijmegen.

With some top-notch planning, you can have your budget-friendly trip to the Netherlands. I hope this article helped you plan ahead for your trip. Happy traveling!

More about


Written by

Leo van den Berg
As a Dutchman I am extremely proud of the beautiful country in which I live. My goal is to convey my passion and love for the Netherlands to as many people as possible.

Read more articles

Copyright © 2020 – 2024 All Rights Reserved