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The Hague, The Netherlands

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By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Feb 03, 2023

Summary: The approximate population of The Hague, Netherlands is 545,000. People describe The Hague as a vibrant city with a rich cultural heritage, a beautiful coastline, and a strong international presence. Expats love the city's convenient location, its excellent public transportation system, and its diverse range of activities and attractions. The weather in The Hague is generally mild, with temperatures ranging from the mid-30s to the mid-60s Fahrenheit (1-18 Celsius) throughout the year. The average cost of living in The Hague for an expat is estimated to be around $2,000-$2,500 per month. The cost of a one bedroom apartment is estimated to be around $1,000-$1,500 per month, while a two bedroom apartment is estimated to be around $1,500-$2,000 per month.

What do I need to know about living in The Hague?

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to The Hague, they said:

"Before retiring in The Hague, it is important to understand the cost of living, the healthcare system and the tax system. Cost of living in The Hague is relatively high, but it can be affordable with careful budgeting. The healthcare system is well-developed and accessible for retirees. Retirees in The Hague may be liable for Dutch taxes depending on their status, so it is important to understand the relevant tax laws. Additionally, it is helpful to do some research into housing options, learn some Dutch language, and get to know the local culture and customs," added another expat in The Hague.

"With its international flavor and resources supporting expats, The Hague is what I think is a relatively easy city in which to find your way. It's also an easy starting place to travel throughout the Netherlands and a great place from which to visit other countries," remarked another expat who made the move to The Hague.

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What do I need to know before moving to The Hague?

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to The Hague, they said:

"The Hague is the third largest city in the Netherlands and is known for its international environment. Before moving to The Hague, it is important to note that the cost of living is high, particularly in comparison with other Dutch cities. The city also has a highly regulated housing market, so it is important to plan ahead and start looking for accommodation months in advance. Cycling is the preferred transport mode in The Hague and the city is well connected through public transport, so a bike and a public transport pass are essential. Additionally, The Hague is a very diverse city, so it is important to familiarise yourself with the different cultures and be respectful of others. Learning some of the Dutch language may also be useful," explained one expat living in The Hague, Netherlands.

"Think long and hard about how you would live your life, what kind of life you really want. I chose to transition from working outside the home (US) to working at home (writer), so we wanted an urban, Dutch lifestyle. I actually enjoy wandering up to the shopping street to buy my daily groceries and run errands in the late afternoon. We use public transportation for everything except my picking up the kids from school (20 min. away) 3 days a week when they're in the middle of sports and activities (as they're in high school and have tons of homework). My husband walks to/from work, and we're able to eat meals as a family. My friends who live in the 'expat enclave' near the school 1) have no Dutch friends, 2) don't really speak any Dutch and 3) their husbands are 'ghosts' in their families - never around due to long commutes," said another expat in The Hague.

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How do I find a place to live in The Hague?

We asked expats how they chose their neighborhood and found a place to live. They answered:

"There are many options for finding a place to live in The Hague. If you are looking for an apartment, you can search online resources such as Craigslist, Pararius and Funda. Additionally, if you are looking for roommates and renting a room, there are websites such as KamersInHague, Room-Rotterdam, and Roomorama. You can also search on-campus at the universities in The Hague, such as The Hague University of Applied Sciences, Leiden University The Hague, and Inholland University of Applied Sciences. Additionally, there are housing websites specifically for The Hague, such as Den Haag Kernstad and Locata, which offer apartments and rooms for rent. Lastly, many real estate agents specialize in The Hague and offer services for finding a home in the city," wrote a member in The Hague.

"We were fortunate in that my husband was here 6 months ahead of the family. He used that time wisely visiting neighborhoods and nearby towns to get the 'vibe'. He also spoke with anyone and everyone - where did they live, did they like it, did they wish they lived elsewhere, what did they wish they'd done differently. Through this we made the tough decision that we wanted an urban, Dutch experience, not 'expat suburbia' as if we were counting the days until we left. Then we honed in on the best neighborhoods within easy walk/commute, and went for best layout on a quiet street near (but not too near) good shopping and public transportation. We used a rental agency but we'd done the tough work," commented one expat who made the move to The Hague.

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What is a typical expat home or apartment like in The Hague?

"Expat homes and apartments in The Hague range from renovated traditional homes to modern and stylish apartments in renovated buildings. Depending on the area, expat homes and apartments vary in size and style. Expat homes tend to have updated kitchens with stainless steel appliances, as well as open-plan layouts that offer plenty of light and space. Some properties in The Hague have outdoor terraces and gardens, while apartments typically have balconies. Expat housing can often be found in the city centre and popular expat neighbourhoods, such as Statenkwartier and Archipel," remarked another expat who made the move to The Hague.

"We rent a 'rijtjeshuie' which is basically a 3-story brick 'town house' on a quiet street in a relatively upscale neighborhood, near a popular shopping street that is a great mix of everyday requirements (good grocery store, hardware stores, drug stores, great specialty stores and also fun boutiques and upscale stuff to window shop). It's fairly typical in this part of Den Haag/The Hague, although probably a bit on the bigger side than some," explained one expat living in The Hague, Netherlands.

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What is the average cost of housing in The Hague?

If you are thinking about moving to The Hague, cost of living in probably a key consideration. Expats commented about the cost of housing:

"The average cost of housing in The Hague varies depending on location, size and other factors. Prices for a standard one-bedroom apartment can range from €750 to €1,200 per month, while larger family homes may range from €1,200 to €2,000," explained one expat living in The Hague, Netherlands.

"Factoring in space/square footage, probably a little less. Depends on what you came from and where you settle here. It isn't cheap," said another expat in The Hague.

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How do I meet people in The Hague?

When we asked people living in The Hague about club and activities where newcomers can meet others, they responded:

"The Hague is a great place to meet people! One way to meet people would be to get involved in local activities such as sports clubs, art classes, language classes and other social clubs. Joining a gym is also a great way to meet people, as you can interact with fellow gym-goers. Another option is to join a Meetup group, an online platform where you can discover events and activities related to your interests and hobbies. You could also attend local events such as music festivals, food markets, film screenings and art exhibitions. Interacting with people at local cafes, bars and pubs is an easy way to meet people, as well as making conversation with locals while you’re walking around your neighbourhood. Finally, you could look into volunteering with local organisations in The Hague, as this is a wonderful way to meet new people while making a positive impact in the city," added another expat who made the move to The Hague.

"I'd start with ACCESS (access-nl.org) and The Hague Online (thehagueonline.com), and go from there," explained one expat living in The Hague, Netherlands.

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What should I bring when moving to The Hague?

People living in The Hague were asked what three things they wish they had brought and three they wish they had left behind. They wrote:

"For a successful move to The Hague, you should pack a variety of items. Clothing suitable for all seasons such as sweaters, jackets, raincoat, and umbrella will all come in handy in the varying climate. Kitchen items including bowls, plates, cups, pots and pans, utensils, and small kitchen appliances will help to make a house a home. Moving supplies such as boxes, bubble wrap, packing tape and markers, heavy-duty garbage bags, permanent markers, and packing paper will ensure all of your items make it safely to your new home. A laundry basket, cleaning supplies, and bathroom necessities such as a shower curtain, towels, and toilet paper will help to get things organized right away. Last but not least, be sure to bring along personal items such as your documents, computer, electronics, and family mementos to make your new house a home," remarked another expat living in The Hague, Netherlands.

"We downsized and generally packed well, but I'd say we should have brought more jeans, running shoes, voetbal cleats. (Items are much more expensive here and there is less selection.) Left at home? More of the 'stuff' that may fit in American closets (but you really don't use). I continue to weed out clothes that are too big/small/never worn. We find that we like to update our photos/paintings and artwork based on our travels, so we need to downsize some of that. (Tom Frost at Expat Alley wrote a great post about living with less because you outgrow your stuff and have new experiences.) I thought I was being ruthless but I need to be more so as closet/storage space (especially the hanging kind) is at a premium," added another expat in The Hague.

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Where should I setup a bank account in The Hague?

We asked expats in The Hague what banks they use and there advice about banking. They advised:

"There are several banks and financial institutions in The Hague that offer both personal and business banking services. The main banks in The Hague include Rabobank, ING, ABN AMRO, Triodos Bank and ASN Bank. Other private banks with branches in The Hague are Van Lanschot and Van Delden Bankiers. Additionally, many of the larger banks in the Netherlands, including SNS Bank, ABN AMRO and ING, have international branches in the city. There are also several local credit unions, such as De Morgan Credit Union and Huismann Credit Union, that offer competitive banking services," remarked another expat living in The Hague, Netherlands.

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Will I be able to find a job in The Hague?

When we asked people about industries and career opportunities in The Hague, they reponded:

"It is possible to find a job in The Hague. The city is full of a variety of businesses and industries and there is a strong international presence. English is widely spoken and foreigners are welcome. There are ample job opportunities from local and international employers in the area. If you are looking for a job in The Hague, it is advisable to look for vacancies online or contact recruitment agencies for various job opportunities. You may also use professional and social networks to connect to other professionals in the city," remarked another expat living in The Hague, Netherlands.

"As previously mentioned, many people work for international organizations and businesses, the Dutch government, or foreign embassies," added another expat in The Hague.

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What is life like in The Hague?

When we asked people living in The Hague what life is like and how people spend their time, they said:

"Living as an expat in the area can be a rewarding and enriching experience depending on which city and country you choose. Despite the language barrier, many cities and countries offer a wide array of activities and attractions, as well as a variety of different cultural customs and experiences. There are many job opportunities available to expats which can be beneficial for those looking for both short and long-term international work assignments. Cost of living in most areas can also be attractive for expats, as many cities have low prices on common expenses such as food, housing, entertainment and transport. Expats can also expect to take advantage of the social activities and entertainment offered in the area, both for network opportunities and for fun. Many cities also have supportive expat communities that can help newcomers connect with each other, making the transition period much smoother," added another expat in The Hague.

"The Hague is the seat of government for the Netherlands. So in addition to the Queen, Ministries and Dutch Parliament, it is home to foreign embassies and a host of international organizations (many UN) as well as international businesses. I think of it as a capital city with a small town feel. Lots of greenery and park land, with beautiful dune beaches along the North Sea. Plenty to do, with fewer tourists than in Amsterdam," remarked another expat who made the move to The Hague.

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What do expats in The Hague appreciate most about the local culture?

"Expats in The Hague appreciate the diverse cultural attractions, the unique combination of old-world charm and modern convenience, the beautiful parks and public spaces, the relaxed atmosphere, the friendly and helpful locals, the great outdoor activities, the variety of museums, the vibrant nightlife options, the rich history, and the proximity to the North Sea beaches," wrote a member in The Hague.

"I like the whole idea of bike riding. The transportation is very quick and easy. I like most drinking tea or coffee somewhere outside when it is sunny. And people are sunny and with t-shirts even if it is +16, but it is sunny. Like there getting around when by very unimportant reason. Or how they sing in the pubs their funny dutch songs with holding drinks in one hand and trying to dance with another. Yeah! They are fun loving people in whatever age. That's what I like in them," commented one expat who made the move to The Hague.

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What do expats find most challenging?

"Expatriation can be challenging for many reasons, ranging from finding a job and adjusting to a new culture and language to missing friends and family. Expats often find it difficult to find their place in a new community and feel disconnected from the culture. Additionally, managing finances and visas can be complicated, as well as finding reliable healthcare and schooling for children. In some countries, bureaucracy and red tape can be a major source of frustration as well. Adapting to unfamiliar customs, food and social norms can also prove difficult. Finally, loneliness and a sense of isolation are common among expatriates," added another expat in The Hague.

"Most challenging thing is that you have to wait for two or three or four weeks until you finally get something. When you want to make an appintment wait one week, you want to order something wait one month...maybe I am too exaggerate things, but for me it seemed sooo long," remarked another expat who made the move to The Hague.

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Is there a lot of crime in The Hague?

We asked people if there is a lot of crime. They answered:

"The Hague is generally considered a safe city, with a relatively low crime rate. Although there are some neighborhoods in The Hague that have higher crime rates than average, violent crimes generally do not occur in the city center," added another expat who made the move to The Hague.

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Is there a lot of diversity? Are people in The Hague accepting of differences?

"The Hague is a multicultural city, and people in The Hague are generally very accepting of diversity. The city is becoming increasingly diverse as people from many countries have come to The Hague in search of work, education, and other opportunities. While it is not as diverse as cities in other parts of the world, it offers a wide range of cultural activities, and the Hague is home to a large international community. People in The Hague appreciate the differences between cultures and peoples, and this appreciation and respect for diversity is a big part of life in the city," said another expat in The Hague.

"The Hague is quite diverse on all levels, with lots of expats. It seems to be more accepting of differences than some places outside the Randstad (the area in which Amersterdam, The Hague, Utrecht and Rotterdam are located)," added another expat who made the move to The Hague.

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What are the schools in The Hague like?

"The Hague has many excellent schooling options for people of all ages. Primary and secondary education is provided by publicly funded schools, as well as a variety of international and private schools. Public primary and secondary schools offer a universal education system with well-equipped modern facilities, a variety of specializations, and professional teacher guidance. International schools in The Hague provide a broad range of curricula for children of all nationalities, such as the International School of The Hague, offering the International Baccalaureate Diploma, or the Den Haag International School. Those looking for private schools can choose from several non-government run schools, like F•A•C•T International School, which combines international curriculum with Dutch traditions. The Hague is also home to the internationally renowned Leiden University, the oldest university in the country, and several other higher education institutes," commented one expat when asked about in The Hague.

"Date: April 2017 Every school has issues and so has ISH. The school is big and growing; Secondary currently has 8 classes per year group. Having said that, my children feel at home at ISH. I am impressed with the way the school has responded to issues I raised. Their response was professional, efficient and personal. I can only recommend this school. Just make sure to sign up in time, the waiting-list can be long," remarked another expat living in The Hague with children attending International School of The Hague (ISH).

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About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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