The urban smackdown: Is London or Amsterdam better?

Caught in a dilemma between the allure of London and the captivating charm of Amsterdam? 

London, as a dynamic global city, offers a fast-paced lifestyle, diverse cultural experiences, and endless career opportunities. On the other hand, Amsterdam, with its relaxed atmosphere and picturesque canals, boasts a vibrant art scene and a high quality of life.

Both cities have their own unique appeal, so it’s important to consider your personal preferences and priorities. To assist you in making a choice, we’ve conducted a detailed comparison of the two. 

Cost of living in London vs. Amsterdam

Cost-of-living-in-London-vs.-Amsterdam
Photo from Unsplash by CardMapr.nl
London surpasses Amsterdam in terms of the cost of living, with an average monthly expense of £3,161 compared to Amsterdam’s (converted value of) £1,481.25. 
This translates to London being 113.34% more expensive than Amsterdam, prominently reflected in housing, utilities, transportation, and childcare expenditures.

We obtained data from LivingCost.org to determine the average monthly living costs in both London and Amsterdam. 

The table presented below presents a comprehensive overview of the expenses associated with residing in these cities, facilitating a more in-depth examination of the calculations.

Expenses London Cost Amsterdam Cost 
Housing (Average Rent per Month) 
1-bedroom apartment  (downtown)£1,557£1,182
Cheap 1-bedroom apartment£1,132£1,182
3-bedroom apartment (downtown)£2,880£2,025
Cheap 3-bedroom apartment£1,962£1,536
Utilities (Average Monthly Bill) 
Utility bill for one person £139£129
Utility bill for a family £213£199
Internet plan £27.3£37.3
Transportation (Fare)
1-way ticket (local transport ticket)£2.51£2.76
Monthly pass (local transport ticket)£119£76.6
Taxi Start (normal tariff)£18.2£21.5
Gasoline (1 litre)£1.66£1.8
Childcare (Tuition Fee)
Private Preschool/Kindergarten (full day)£1,488 per month £1,287
International Primary School £17,374 per year £9,144

In conclusion, Amsterdam offers a cost of living that is 53.13% lower than London, mainly due to factors such as more affordable rental prices, reduced utility expenses, and lower transportation fees.

Real Estate Prices in London vs. Amsterdam

Real Estate Prices in London vs. Amsterdam
Photo from Unsplash by Étienne Beauregard-Riverin
London’s real estate prices are higher compared to Amsterdam. As of the current market data from Zoopla and Brxs, single-family homes in London are approximately 151% pricier than in Amsterdam.
In contrast, condos in Amsterdam are priced 6.42% lower than in London.

To delve deeper into this comparison, refer to the table below, which highlights the intriguing contrast in average sold prices for single-family homes and condo apartments in these two unique cities.

Property TypeLondon Amsterdam
Single-Family Home £1,325,555£523,028
Condo Apartment £489,303£523,028

Diversity and Demographics in London vs. Amsterdam

Diversity and Demographics in London vs. Amsterdam
Photo from Unsplash by Amy Elting
London’s racial composition boasts a higher percentage of visible minorities, accounting for 46.2% of the population, in contrast to Amsterdam where visible minorities make up 24.3% of the population.

London’s prominence is evident through its expansive geographic area, larger population, and higher life expectancy at birth. 

These disparities highlight the unique qualities of each region, accentuating the diversity and disparities between the two cities.

London Amsterdam 
Geographic LocationGreater London, EnglandNorth Holland, Netherlands
Size (Area)1,572 km square kilometres 219 square kilometres 
Population 9,648,0001,174,000
Female Population 50.6 %53.6%
Male Population 49.4%46.4%
Median Age 35.9 years old42.4 years old
Life Expectancy at Birth 82.8 years old 79.25 years old 

On the other hand, London is considered more diverse than Amsterdam due to its higher proportion of non-white residents.

Racial Composition LondonRacial Composition Amsterdam 
White53.8%White75.7%
Asian 20.8%Asian11.6%
Black13.5%Black4.5%
Mixed4.6%Mixed3.5%
Arab1.6%Arab2.8%
Other4.7%Other1.9%

Career Opportunities in London vs. Amsterdam

Career Opportunities in London vs. Amsterdam
Photo from Unsplash by Scott Graham
Sourced data from Statista and Trading Economics, shows that Amsterdam offers more job opportunities than London. In fact, the employment rate in London is a mere 76.2%, compared to Amsterdam’s 82.20%.

Notably, the average annual salary in London stands at £33,825, whereas it amounts to £44,280.89 in Amsterdam. 

This comparison highlights Amsterdam’s superior performance in terms of both employment rate and average annual salary, surpassing London as an attractive place for jobseekers.

Crime and Safety in London vs. Amsterdam

Crime and Safety in London vs. Amsterdam
Photo from Unsplash by Tingey Injury Law Firm
Based on the data from Statista and NLTIMES  it’s safer to live in Amsterdam than in London. The crime rate in London is at 8.66%, while in Amsterdam, it’s at 7.22%. 
London exhibits a higher crime rate per capita than Amsterdam, potentially due to variations in socioeconomic conditions, population density, law enforcement efforts, and regional dynamics.

Amsterdam secures the 6th position as one of the safest cities globally, as reported by Go Visa Free. However, it is important to acknowledge that London, despite experiencing higher crime rates, still maintains to be a safe city, indicating that it is not inherently unsafe.

For a breakdown of details, see the table below:

CityPopulationCrime totalCrime rate per 100,000 peopleCrime rate (%)
London9,648,000835,8228,6638.66%
Amsterdam1,174,00084,7937,2227.22%

In order to offer additional insights, we have obtained data from Numbeo to depict the perceived relative crime levels between London and Amsterdam. 

Bear in mind that the information presented below relies on survey data and may fluctuate as more participants contribute over time.

Type of Crime London Amsterdam 
People using or dealing drugs61.62%43.75%
Property crimes such as vandalism and theft57.48%37.22%
Violent crimes such as assault or armed robbery 56.87%26.79%
Corruption and bribery 38.30%20.69%

Lifestyle in London vs. Amsterdam

Lifestyle in London vs. Amsterdam
Photo from Unsplash by Lucas Favre
London and Amsterdam are both rich in history, culture, and safety, offering a captivating blend of tradition and modernity. 
With iconic landmarks and hidden gems, these multicultural cities provide endless recreational opportunities, immersing residents and visitors in their remarkable allure.

For a comprehensive overview of the lifestyles offered in both cities, explore the in-depth comparison across factors including weather, recreational activities, and healthcare, enabling a deeper understanding of the unique experiences each city presents.

Weather in London vs. Amsterdam

Weather in London vs. Amsterdam
Photo from Unsplash by Osman Rana

Both London and Amsterdam have similar weather patterns. These cities have summers that are comfortable and partly cloudy and the winters are long, very cold, windy, and mostly cloudy.

London has a moderate climate, with temperatures ranging from 4°C to 23°C throughout the year. It is uncommon for temperatures to fall below -1°C or exceed 29°C.

On the other hand, Amsterdam experiences temperature fluctuations between 1°C and 22°C throughout the year, with infrequent occurrences of dropping below -6°C or exceeding 27°C/ 

Things to do in London vs. Amsterdam

Things to do in London vs. Amsterdam
Photo from Unsplash by Joanna Kosinska

London and Amsterdam offer distinct experiences with a wide range of activities.

In London, you can explore iconic landmarks like the Tower of London, visit vibrant markets like Camden Market, take a stroll in beautiful parks like Kensington Gardens, and shop at luxury stores on Oxford Street

In contrast, Amsterdam offers a unique charm with its picturesque canals and historic architecture. Here you can visit renowned museums like the Van Gogh Museum, discover the famous Anne Frank House and visit the vibrant Albert Cuyp Market.

Healthcare in London vs. Amsterdam

Healthcare in London vs. Amsterdam
Photo from Unsplash by Towfiqu barbhuiya

Both London and Amsterdam offer excellent healthcare services, but Amsterdam outshines London in terms of healthcare quality. According to Numbeo data, Amsterdam boasts a healthcare index of 75.96%, surpassing London’s index of 69.81%.

London Paris
Skill and competency of medical staff69%77.46%
Speed in completing examinations and reports65.91%74.76%
Equipment for modern diagnosis and treatment82.34%91.34%
Accuracy and completeness in filling out reports67.75%78.90%
Friendliness and courtesy of the staff72.44%79.88%
Responsiveness (waiting in medical institutions)43.56%67.30%
Satisfaction with Cost79.02%64.86%
Convenience of location79.30%84.27%

London and Amsterdam both have excellent healthcare systems. 

Just keep in mind that London’s NHS is free at the point of use but can have long waiting times. On the other hand, Amsterdam’s compulsory health insurance scheme means no waiting times, but it can be expensive for private care. 

London vs. Amsterdam: How they stack up

Now, the time has come to weigh the factors we’ve explored. Here are the winners for each category.

Factors The Better City Why 
Cost of Living AmsterdamThe living cost in Amsterdam is 53.13% cheaper than in London
Real Estate AmsterdamThe average prices for real estate properties in Amsterdam are significantly lower than in London.
Diversity and DemographicsLondonBoth cities have relatively high diversity, but overall, the London population has a higher percentage of visible minorities. 
Career Opportunities AmsterdamAmsterdam has a more favourable job landscape and a lower unemployment rate. 
Crime IndexAmsterdamThe crime index in Amsterdam is lower than in London. 
Lifestyle Tied (depends on what kind of lifestyle you prefer)London and Amsterdam almost have the same type of climate. 
Both cities have iconic landmarks that enable you to do various activities. 
On top of this, both Healthcare services in London and Paris are off the charts.
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