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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,
I am trolling for requirements to live long Term in Amsterdam. I am retired with a significant other for 7 years. When going online I didn't see a income requirement for retirees. I live in the SF Bay Area and will make an appointment to the embassy. Has anyone here retired to the Netherlands and have some information on their experience?
Just a note that I have visited Amsterdam before and enjoyed the city. The expense is about the same as the Bay Area so I do understand that aspect.
Thank you very much for any info from experience expats!
 

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I don't know about retiree visa requirements, but just to give you my 2 cents after living in Amsterdam for nearly 5 years. I do not recommend it.

It is a very uncomfortable place to live (buildings with very narrow staircases, made worse by people leaving baby strollers or bikes right in the middle!, tiny supermarkets where it's very stressful to shop), very expensive compared to other parts of Europe, bad weather most days of the year. Poor public transport, the trams are an inefficient way of getting around and the metro does not cover the city well (although the new line should open soon). So best transport is bike...but at least for me biking in dark, rainy, windy weather is not my thing!

By bad weather I mean a combination of grey skies with wind/rain/hail. Even if it's sunny you might get wind so bad that is just makes it too uncomfortable to go for a a walk. When the weather is nice it's great of course.

Also, Amsterdam is now commonly referred to as Airbnbdam, you can see a timelapse here how bad the situation is: Visualisation of Airbnb through the years: Amsterdam

So, in my case, the guy above me rented his apt on Airbnb. This made living there very unpleasant, I would get strangers shutting my building door right in my face as I was arriving home! And constant noise.

Most of these things apply to NL in general. I now live in The Hague and find it nicer, more livable, have the beach, and Amsterdam is a short train ride away...but every time I go to Amsterdam I am so glad I don't live there anymore!

I plan on moving to Spain and will likely come to NL to visit on holiday...so my opinion would be to retire to a cheaper, more comfortable country with nicer weather and come to NL just for holidays!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you Expat16! I ran that video you in your post and it is quite troubling. I rented apartments and had small and narrow stairs with no hand railings. Being stuck with an airbnb above you is a real problem. Amsterdam weather reminds me ofBritish Columbia, Canada.

I am trying to get a foothold in Europe to stay long Term. I would not sell my house in the Bay Area and go blindly at such a drastic change in life. But I do embrace change. I never visited The Hague and would be interested in your first hand knowledge of the quality of life you experienced. I have been to Spain in the summer and it was quite warm and humid. I read a couple of days ago of the drought and heatwave in the Mediterranean. Heat and humidity but more so from the wife. She has experienced humidifier on the East Coast of the US and

What part of Spain are moving to if you leave the Netherlands? Do you have a passport from Europe or are you have long Term residency with the freedom to live anywhere in the Eu?

Thank you for responding to my post!
 

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Long post ahead!

Hello again,

In a few months I will get a decision on my request for EU long term residence (known as permanent residence). This is something you can apply for after legally residing in (most) a EU country continuously for 5 years coupled with any other reqs. In NL case I had to take integration exams/interview.

The Hague is less crowded than Amsterdam. Shopping (supermarkets and eg street clothes shopping) is far more pleasant. If you have been in the Kalverstraat in Adam (the shopping street) you probably have seen it can be a nightmare. So it feels more dignified, or just normal.

The crowds get so bad in Adam it just becomes a race to try to get out. The stores looked like zoos, eg. the Zara with clothes all over the floor and long lines to try out clothes. The Hague has all the same stores and even better (Primark which is cheap but a favorite, now Topshop/Topman opening soon), TK Maxx (TJ MAXX in US), it still has Marks&Spencer but that will be closing soon (it closed in Amsterdam already). Decathlon sports store right in the center whereas in Adam you have to go out of the way to get to that store.

Going for a coffee in Adam also felt like a race, better go early or you won't find a seat! The bike/scooter traffic where I lived (near Kinkerstraat) at rush hour was insane. Just crossing the street was a feat, reminded me of Indonesia.

The locals will tell you they prefer The Hague (unless they are really young).

Rents are cheaper in The Hague and much more offer (and better). My apt in Adam is 1400 eur/month now, here I pay 1150 eur for a much nicer design apt (and somewhat bigger), with an extra storage room. With the money you save renting you can get a hotel room for a weekend in Amsterdam each month.

This place is renting very cheap studios to expats (anti-squatting) so could be a base to give The Hague a try: https://www.minvm.nl/

I walk to the beach (Scheveningen) along the incredibly beautiful tree-lined Scheveningseweg, about an hour walk. Although I heard they will take down some trees due to preparing the tracks there for newer trams. There are restaurants all along the beach serving from breakfast till dinner. It's quite a long beach at 17 km.

I find The Hague more beautiful and more elegant, the squares to sit and have a drink/eat eg. Grote Markt, Plein, Plaats, one along the Lange Voohourt, imo are far nicer than the Leidseplein (tourist kitschy and overdone), and Rembrandtplein, where you will also constantly be battling the tourists.

Yes, the small area of canals with bridges are postcard-perfect, but that's about it. There really isn't any atmosphere to it. They just look good in pictures. To me Adam is one hectic, overcrowded, 'has been' center, surrounded by the quieter neighborhoods which almost feel like suburbs. I find The Hague more city-like.

Re Spain I am deciding between Madrid and Barcelona, Madrid from what I've experienced and heard does not have a humidity problem. Madrid seems to be the better choice for living, the nightlife is supposedly better than Barcelona. Barcelona has aspects similar to Amsterdam from what I've heard. I've lived in Madrid in the past and really enjoyed the nightlife which is why I became infatuated with Spain. So I think I will go for Madrid and Barcelona is just a 2.5 hr train ride away for holidays.

Let me know if you have any more questions.
 

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Wanted to add, the police now send emergency alerts when the city gets too crowded, actually asking people not to come to the city center.

They sent one recently after a soccer/football match where people were celebrating in Amsterdam.

During King's day and other events it also gets so crowded, you become part of a slowly walking mass and just can't get out of it. I guess it's fun and interesting to at least see it once. I stopped going out on King's day and learned to just get everything I needed from supermarket TWO days before (as day before is also a mess) and go on lock down in my apt :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you for your insights! This is why I ask for the experiences of others who actually lives in countries that I have only visited. I guess the same goes if someone visited San Francisco and fell in love with it's charm and character, they would be drawn to try to live there. There are many pitfalls with housing, traffic and homelessness that would pop your proverbial bubble in no time.

I do like Spain and Italy. I spent a month in Italy in March and have liked it a lot. However it is chaotic and inefficient that I would need help just to navigate through the system of long term residency. I enjoyed Verona and Bologna but for different reasons. Verona seems to have enough interest and culture with very nice residents. It has a good train station but I don't know about the health care. Cost of living could be tolerable. Bologna is a crazy college town with so much history. However it is a lively city that has its charm. However it is really hot in the summertime with humidity to boot. Did I mention the food? Fantastic is all I can say! Pluses and minuses no matter where you live!

I don't know about Spain's requirements for retirees. I have stayed in Valencia for 8 days and found it not too big or not too small. It has a fantastic market, not far from the beach, and major transportation nearby. I assuming the cost of living to be at a fair price compared to other major cities.

So we plan to go to Portugal and northern Spain next spring to see what these areas offer.
I plan to move and stay put wherever we land.
Thank you again for thoughts.
 

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My wife and I are giving Paris a try as to living in the EU permanently. After 4 months, it's been pretty tough - getting a bank acct as a US person was a major ordeal, finding an apt was another. And, I'm beginning to miss wide open green spaces like the countryside, birds, and a house with a garden. We thought about applying to the FR natl health system but learning that it's a long wait and another bureaucratic maze. We still have health coverage in the states, and a contingency fund to cover Dr's expenses in FR and a flight back if something major happens. Don't get me wrong I love Paris, it's an amazing place but it seems to becoming as expat 16 has described Amsterdam (I love Adam too!) - a great place to come on holiday. The Hague sounds like a great choice - I'd go to the Mauritshuis everyday! I like Utrecht too but doesn't have the sea. Friends rave about Lisbon and Portugal but I haven't been. I know they have the 'golden passport' thing if you have deep pockets. There's something about Spain that doesn't grab me but that's my problem/ignorance. We were in Verona - Lake Garda a couple of summers ago and thought it really nice but I don't think I could settle in Italy - it is such a lovely country though.

I don't know, we've made such an investment trying to learn French - still a ways to go - that I think we'll stick it out here. We've decided to travel next summer and give up our rented apt here. Mostly in France with a look to find that perfect village where we can have that house and garden, maybe a dog too. But I wonder about other places to live in Europe.
 

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My wife and I are giving Paris a try as to living in the EU permanently. After 4 months, it's been pretty tough - getting a bank acct as a US person was a major ordeal, finding an apt was another. And, I'm beginning to miss wide open green spaces like the countryside, birds, and a house with a garden. We thought about applying to the FR natl health system but learning that it's a long wait and another bureaucratic maze. We still have health coverage in the states, and a contingency fund to cover Dr's expenses in FR and a flight back if something major happens. Don't get me wrong I love Paris, it's an amazing place but it seems to becoming as expat 16 has described Amsterdam (I love Adam too!) - a great place to come on holiday. The Hague sounds like a great choice - I'd go to the Mauritshuis everyday! I like Utrecht too but doesn't have the sea. Friends rave about Lisbon and Portugal but I haven't been. I know they have the 'golden passport' thing if you have deep pockets. There's something about Spain that doesn't grab me but that's my problem/ignorance. We were in Verona - Lake Garda a couple of summers ago and thought it really nice but I don't think I could settle in Italy - it is such a lovely country though.

I don't know, we've made such an investment trying to learn French - still a ways to go - that I think we'll stick it out here. We've decided to travel next summer and give up our rented apt here. Mostly in France with a look to find that perfect village where we can have that house and garden, maybe a dog too. But I wonder about other places to live in Europe.
Interesting... I really enjoy reading other people's stories about looking for the right place...a bit of a luxury problem so I don't find many people IRL I can relate to.

How is the weather in Paris?

For me, weather and culture are key...luckily I also speak Spanish. Lived in England for a year and liked it, but I wonder if the weather would have worn me out eventually if I'd stayed just as it did here in NL. Although NL imo is far worse in many respects, including the weather.

I also find myself valuing quiet and space more and more as I get older. I had to run an errand today in Amsterdam...pondered for 1 short second whether I should stay a bit but nah...took the train right back to the Hague.

Even in the Hague it is far from ideal....I find myself so surprised when I go to London and the supermarkets in the city and so spacious compared to NL and also not as crowded as here.

NL is one the most densely populated countries in the world. Interestingly, this seems to be a factor not taken into consideration in all of those quality of life surveys!
 

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How is the weather in Paris?

For me, weather and culture are key...luckily I also speak Spanish. Lived in England for a year and liked it, but I wonder if the weather would have worn me out eventually if I'd stayed just as it did here in NL. Although NL imo is far worse in many respects, including the weather.

I also find myself valuing quiet and space more and more as I get older. I had to run an errand today in Amsterdam...pondered for 1 short second whether I should stay a bit but nah...took the train right back to the Hague.

Even in the Hague it is far from ideal....I find myself so surprised when I go to London and the supermarkets in the city and so spacious compared to NL and also not as crowded as here.

NL is one the most densely populated countries in the world. Interestingly, this seems to be a factor not taken into consideration in all of those quality of life surveys!
The weather in Paris? Lately it's been very gray but the sun was out today. Coolish; not cold. It must be a fashion thing but many are wearing scraves, some have gloves, all have a jacket or maybe a coat. Really all that's needed is a light jacket or just a sweater.

I got her last April and it was absolutely gorgeous. April in Paris is the real deal. Chestnut trees blossoming; all the parks had incredible flower displays. It was a lovely introduction to living here. The summer for the most part was mild; lots of sun, some rainy days. There were three 'les canicules' heatwaves lasting 4 or 5 days - pretty uncomfortable. No A/C just an oscillating fan which made it bearable. I suspect the winter will be a long slog of cold, windy days and rainy nights. I'll have to muster some courage.

We've moved to a different area of the city so I'm in love with Paris again. Before, we were in a super heavy tourist area just a few blocks from Notre Dame and the Hotel de Ville. Noisy, hard to navigate the crowded sidewalks, it really got to me, re my last post. Now, the area is a real Parisian working man's setting. Pantanque courts on the boulevard nearby. I don't hear many english speakers walking the streets; and, it's a lot less dense then where we were.

We lived in the UK for seven years, my wife's from there. I loved it but my wife so-so. Yea, the weather sucks. I remember one March where you just keep looking for that one nice day to appear - it never did. Just a super cold wind out of the Urals for three straight weeks. But it was a magical place to me physically, so green and lovely hills.

Are you in Spain now? How is that?
 

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The weather in Paris? Lately it's been very gray but the sun was out today. Coolish; not cold. It must be a fashion thing but many are wearing scraves, some have gloves, all have a jacket or maybe a coat. Really all that's needed is a light jacket or just a sweater.

I got her last April and it was absolutely gorgeous. April in Paris is the real deal. Chestnut trees blossoming; all the parks had incredible flower displays. It was a lovely introduction to living here. The summer for the most part was mild; lots of sun, some rainy days. There were three 'les canicules' heatwaves lasting 4 or 5 days - pretty uncomfortable. No A/C just an oscillating fan which made it bearable. I suspect the winter will be a long slog of cold, windy days and rainy nights. I'll have to muster some courage.

We've moved to a different area of the city so I'm in love with Paris again. Before, we were in a super heavy tourist area just a few blocks from Notre Dame and the Hotel de Ville. Noisy, hard to navigate the crowded sidewalks, it really got to me, re my last post. Now, the area is a real Parisian working man's setting. Pantanque courts on the boulevard nearby. I don't hear many english speakers walking the streets; and, it's a lot less dense then where we were.

We lived in the UK for seven years, my wife's from there. I loved it but my wife so-so. Yea, the weather sucks. I remember one March where you just keep looking for that one nice day to appear - it never did. Just a super cold wind out of the Urals for three straight weeks. But it was a magical place to me physically, so green and lovely hills.

Are you in Spain now? How is that?
Hi there, sorry for taking so long to respond! I have been so busy, precisely dealing with preparation for the move.

The reason for Spain is that I lived there for some months about 10 years ago and absolutely fell in love with the place. I have been trying to go back ever since but the crisis hit and it became impossible for non-EU person like me to get a work permit there.

After 5 years in NL I now have gained permanent residence of the EU and can now move about the EU similar to how EU citizens do, with fewer options (not allowed to use that scheme for UK, Denmark and Ireland).

I also speak Spanish so it's easy for me to get around in Spain. To me, in my experience, a life without sun is less rich, and shorter! Life in NL feels so limited, both in quantity and quality. For me life in Spain feels much higher resolution.

I have a friend from Spain who lives in NL out of need. She told me "I think I am unlucky! I wish I had been born in NL and never seen how life is in Spain. But now, I know what I'm missing!".

I am sure I will encounter issues in Spain, as you would in any country. But at least I will have the sun!
 
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