Where to stay in Amsterdam?

Looking for a hotel in a good area? Or you want to live in Amsterdam and don't know which neighbourhoods are nice and which ones to avoid?

If you're looking for decent areas, the zipcodes to look for are (in my opinion !):

  • Very central and more expensive: 1015, 1016, 1017, 1018, 1019
  • Very central but red light district or very touristy and crowded:) 1011, 1012
  • Just around the centre, nice neighbourhoods: 1013, 1051, 1052, 1053, 1054 (west); 1072, 1073, 1074 (De Pijp); 1091, 1092, 1093, 1094 (oost / east); 1071, 1075, 1077, 1076 (more posh, Vondelpark-area). 1078 and 1079; 1097, 1098 are also still okay but a bit farther from the centre. Still within about 20 minutes' bike ride though.
  • Not so nice: 1055 (Bos & Lommer). 1056 and 1057 are OK (but a bit farther from the centre, but only a 20 min. bike ride).
  • You could also consider finding a place in Noord (north of the IJ water; you'll need to take the little ferry to get into town), I don't know the neighbourhoods there though. Zipcodes 1021, 1022, 1023, 1024, 1025, 1031, 1032, 1033, 1034, 1035.
  • Most other zipcodes are outside the A10 ringroad, personally I'd prefer living in another city altogether (like Haarlem for example) rather than there. Haarlem is a lovely city and only 20 minutes away by train.

Finding a hotel

I have no experience with hotels in Amsterdam so I cannot recommend any. I think it's best to find websites with lots of users' reviews.
And this website lists hotels by area: www.medialink.nl/amsterdam

Some booking websites:
www.booking.com/Amsterdam
www.Expedia.nl/Amsterdam

Some hotels that were recommended by travellers in the Lonely Planet Thorn Tree (forum) and are in good locations:
Hotel Brouwer, Brouwersgracht (near Central Station)
StayOkay hostel, they also have double rooms; several locations in Amsterdam, I recommend locations Vondelpark (in the lovely park, near Leidseplein with lots of restaurants and nightlife, and near Museumplein) and Zeeburg (in urban residential area with nice new cafe / cinema next door and lots of foreign restaurants and shops, and Dappermarket nearby)
Hotel Brian, Singel (near Central Station)

Finding a place to rent or buy (longer term)

The housing market in Amsterdam is crazy. Waiting lists are huge and lots of scams take place. Read more on Expatica.com.

I believe quite some expats also end up in other nearby cities like Almere or Purmerend (not my cup of tea, very modern and soulless).

Good luck on finding a place... it took me 6 years to get a legal rental contract of my own...

Renting

Basically, the more money you are willing to spend on rent, the more likely you are to find a place within reasonable time.

As for the scams, it's a bit hard to say who can be trusted, but in general big well-known agencies can be trusted. There have been incidents with one person (black market type of people) supposedly renting out an apartment and asking for a bond, even giving out keys and contracts..... but fake keys and fake contracts, to about 20 different people, all for the same apartment... so the conman walks away with 20x a bond and never sees those people again.

If you don't mind renting a room and sharing facilities, you may have a better chance of finding something. Try www.kamernet.nl. In this case you'll really have to be able to show your face of course. Also keep an eye on notes in supermarkets and bars, and hang up your own ads.

The ad-newspaper ViaVia is also a good source. Buy it on the day it comes out and call immediately. Or try www.marktplaats.nl. Through either of these sources you may find people who are going on a long holiday and want to sublet their place.

Buying
If you're planning on staying here for a number of years then buying can be a good option. Get a broker (makelaar) to help you find the latest new houses and figure out the market.


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