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Moving to Amsterdam Netherlands

As with all GSGI links, we only add the ones we like, have used, or think could be useful. These recommended links for expats in The Netherlands have been recommended by GSGI editors or readers. In some cases, the links take you to a website for which we provided some of the content (so naturally we think it's excellent!).

The books and films have been recommended by our readers and editors. Unless mentioned, most are available at booksellers or on line. If you have a recommendation we should add to this list, we'd love to hear it (contact us).

For a relatively small and flat country there are many distinct associations which are brought to life in its literature and good to have a basic knowledge of before you go: bikes, windmills, dairy products, orange, tulips, stroopwaffels, herring and not owning curtains. Incorporate the words ‘Lekker’ (nice) and ‘Gezellig’ (cosy) into your every day vocabulary before you travel and you will be well on your way to being a Dutchie. It is also host to a fair share of cinematic features so it is easy to acquire a visual recollection of your city before you travel. 

Useful Links and Information I amsterdam is the city’s official guide used by expats, tourists, locals and businesses. A key part of this service is the expatcenter which is a one stop shop for newcomers to the city. The office is based in the World Trade Centre in Amsterdam Zuid and is a starting point for most expats regarding residence permits, tax rulings, living arrangements and any queries for your expat journey in Amsterdam. A foundation that provides reliable information and support for international parents in Amsterdam and the surrounding regions. A valuable source of information regarding events in the city from their weekly newsletter. From restaurants to festivals and area guides. A good and up to date companion written by an Amsterdam lifestyle blogger.

 AngloINFO Netherlands- Really excellent resource for expats heading for --or already living in -- the Netherlands, with valuable no-frills listings of everything from dentists to plumbers, schools (basic info) to hair cuts, registering your car to tax problems as well as classifieds, discussions and details about what's on in your area. Useful directories, reliable information, intuitive site....goes exactly where it says it will, in exactly the country section where you'd expect to find it.

Literature about Amsterdam

Anyone wishing to spend any length of time in Amsterdam is encouraged to read The Diary of Anne Frank. This famous story of Anne Frank and her family, who were caught in hiding by the Germans in 1944 in truly part if the city’s heritage. Their house, now a museum, is one of Amsterdam's most popular tourist destinations. A visit to the House of Anne Frank will always be on the list of ‘to dos’ in Amsterdam so best be prepared and have the knowledge for when visitors arrive.

Guides to the City and the Dutch

Why the Dutch are Different: A Journey into the Hidden Heart of the Netherlands (2015) by Ben Coates. The hidden heart and history of the Netherlands explained from a modern perspective including what shapes the Dutch character and beliefs.

Stuff Dutch People Like: A Humorous Cultural Guide to the Netherlands (2014) by Colleen Geske. A celebration of the Lowlands and its peculiar inhabitants. The accompanying blog also sheds light on all things Orange

Amsterdam: A History of the World's Most Liberal City (2014) by Russell Shorto. The evolution of Amsterdam from the construction of its first canals.

The UnDutchables: An observation of the Netherlands, its culture and its inhabitants (2013) by Colin White and Laurie Boucke. All diverse aspects of Dutch life are covered here in satirical form.

In the City of Bikes: The Story of the Amsterdam Cyclist (2013) by Pete Jordan. An entertaining read weaving together personal anecdotes and details of the role that cycling has played throughout Dutch society.

Van Gogh: The Life (2012) by Steven NaifehGregory White Smith. A detailed and vivid recreation of Van Gogh’s life with co-operation from Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum.

Rijksmuseum Amsterdam the Masterpieces Guide (2003) by Marleen Dominicus Van Soest. Visitors come from all over the world to admire the collections in the Rijksmuseum including the great works by Rembrandt, Frans Hals, Jacob van Ruisdael, Jan Steen and Johannes Vermeer. The books stands you in good stead to appreciate the depth of the paintings in Amsterdam’s finest museum.

Amsterdam: A Brief Life of the City (1995) by Geert Mak. The classic account of Amsterdam past and present by the distinguished Dutch writer and commentator.

 Also pick up a copy of The Expat Journal, a lifestyle magazine issued 4 times a year, and the Holland Handbook which is issued annually.  Both include articles covering topics such as legal affairs, taxes, housing, health care, leisure activities as well as reviews of local sites of interest, culture and upcoming events.

Coffee Table Books

The 500 Hidden Secrets of Amsterdam (2015) by Guido van Eijck and Saskia Naafs. For tourists who want to avoid the well-known tourist spots and discover the locals' favourite addresses, and for residents who want to get to know their city even better.

The Amsterdam Canals through the eyes of Cris Toala Olivares. (Mendo 2014)  Truly exquisite story of the canals in pictures.

The Dutch and their Bikes: Scenes from a Nation of Cyclists (2014) by Shirley Agudo. A definitive photo guide to Dutch Cycling.

Quiet Amsterdam (2012) by Siobhan Wall. Reveals the city's hidden secrets and more than one hundred idyllic and rarely seen places. Entices the reader to wander away from the crowds and discover serene and restful spaces amid the hustle and bustle of this fascinating city.


The Miniaturist (2015) by Jessie Burton - An atmospheric and mysterious novel set in seventeenth century Amsterdam.

The Light of Amsterdam (2013) by David Park -Three separate stories which touch and cross and are lived out in the streets of Amsterdam.

Amsterdam: A Novel  (1999) by Ian McEwan - Human morality in a humorous and entertaining fashion.

Riddle of the Sands by Erskine Childers (1903) - Gripping early example of a spy story. 

Van der Valk series by Nicholas Freeling - Highly enjoyable 1970s crime novels, later made into a TV series.

Movies set in (or featuring) Amsterdam

Black Book (2014) WWII thriller largely shot in Amsterdam.

The Fault in Our Stars (2014). Two teenage cancer patients begin a life-affirming journey to visit a reclusive author in Amsterdam. Features some good canal shots and a trip to the Anne Frank House.

Oceans Twelve (2004). George Clooney and hiss crew pull off some heists around Europe including one in Amsterdam.

Layer Cake (2004). Tough assignment for a respected cocaine dealer primarily shot in London with scenes in Amsterdam. 

Girl with a Pearl Earring (2003). Based on the novel by Tracey Chevalier.  Although set in Delft much of the filming is set in Amsterdam.Scarlett Johansson stars as Griet, a young 17th-century servant in the household of the Dutch painter.

Anne Frank: The Whole Story (2001). Mini series of the voice of a generation. A compassionate and sensitive televisual portrait of the Holocaust's greatest diarist.

James Bond: Diamonds are Forever (1971). Diamond smuggling Bond classic set partly in Amsterdam notably along the canals and the Skinny Bridge.

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