Amsterdam scores as expat happiness central in spite of high tax rates

Published:  25 Jul at 6 PM
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Many would-be expats would balk at the thought of paying 52 per cent income tax on their earnings overseas, but the charm of Amsterdam is such that no-one seems to mind.

Most expats living in the historic Dutch capital were lured by the promise of a choice of literally thousands of jobs in the tech, oil and other sectors. In spite of losing over half their salaries to the tax man, most have stayed due to the benefits and lifestyle they’ve learned to love.

The Netherlands ranks consistently in the top ten tworld 's happiest nations listings, according to the Economic Co-Operation and Development Agency. A recent study by an international bank ranked the country the sixth-best world destination for expats, and few in Amsterdam would disagree with the rating.

State benefits are a major attraction, especially for expats with families, and the city’s schools give a high standard of education, cutting out the need for expensive private schooling. The city itself is simply stunning, with its canals and historic houses dating back to the country’s glory days as a major player along with Britain in the opening up of trade with Asia.

Migrants arrive in Amsterdam from across the world to fill the strong demand by international companies for non-Dutch speaking professionals. Most expats stay with their contracts until they end, and attempt to find other contracted work rather than leaving for another country.

Entry for citizens of EU member states is straightforward and, although it’s more complicated for those from non-EU states, the government is trying to make it easier for immigrants with the required skills. Above all, Amsterdam is a creative city, welcoming start-ups and new ideas arriving from a variety of countries.
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