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  • Writer's pictureDrew Fossen

Cultural Adaptation: Tips for Immigrants Moving to Amsterdam

Moving to a new country can be a challenging and daunting experience, especially if you are moving to a place with a different culture than your own. Amsterdam is a vibrant and dynamic city, with a rich history and culture that can take some getting used to for new immigrants. In this post, we will provide some tips for immigrants moving to Amsterdam to help them with the cultural adaptation process. We will discuss some of the key differences between the Dutch culture and other cultures, and we will provide some practical advice on how to make the transition to life in Amsterdam as smooth as possible. We will also include 5 yearly events that you MUST attend in your first year living in the Netherlands. Whether you are moving to Amsterdam for work, study, or to be with family, these tips will help you to understand the local culture and adapt to your new surroundings!

5 Tips for Immigrants Moving to Amsterdam

  1. Learn some basic Dutch words and phrases to help you communicate with locals and understand signs and notices in the city.

  2. Research the Dutch customs and traditions to understand the local culture better and avoid causing offense. For example, it is common for people in Amsterdam to bike everywhere, so you should familiarize yourself with the rules of the road for cyclists.

  3. Make an effort to meet new people and socialize. Amsterdam is a diverse and welcoming city, and there are many ways to connect with others, such as joining clubs or organizations related to your hobbies or interests.

  4. Explore the city and try new things. Amsterdam has a rich cultural heritage, and there are many museums, galleries, and other attractions to visit. Try some traditional Dutch foods, such as herring, cheese, and stroopwafels, and attend local events and festivals.

  5. Be patient and open-minded. Moving to a new city can be challenging, and it may take time to settle in and feel at home. Try to be patient and adapt to the local way of life, and be open to new experiences and opportunities.

Events you MUST attend in your first year in the Netherlands

King's Day (Koningsdag)

This national holiday, celebrated on April 27th, is one of the biggest events in Amsterdam and a celebration of the King's birthday. The whole city comes alive with street parties, parades, and music, and people dress in orange, the national color of the Netherlands.

Amsterdam Light Festival

This annual festival, held from December to January, features light installations and artworks by international artists, displayed throughout the city. Visitors can enjoy walking or boat tours to see the installations.

Pride Amsterdam

This week-long event, held in August, celebrates the city's LGBTQ+ community with parades, parties, and performances. The highlight is the Canal Parade, where decorated boats float down the city's canals.

Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE)

This is the world's largest electronic music festival, held in October. Over 2,500 artists and DJs perform at clubs, venues, and other locations throughout the city.


This is a cultural event held on the last weekend of August, featuring music, theater, dance, and other performances by artists and organizations from Amsterdam and beyond. It is a great opportunity to discover the city's vibrant arts and culture scene.


Moving to Amsterdam can be a challenging but rewarding experience. By learning some basic Dutch, researching the local customs, making an effort to socialize, exploring the city, and being patient and open-minded, you can make the most of your time in Amsterdam. In your first year, be sure to attend some of the city's fantastic events, such as King's Day, Amsterdam Light Festival, Pride Amsterdam, Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE), and Uitmarkt. These events will help you to experience the city's rich culture and connect with its vibrant community. If you need more reasons to move to this amazing country, make sure to check out our 10 Reasons to Move to the Netherlands.


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