There is nothing minimal about the Dutch minimum wage
Remember in my last blog post when I said: “The Netherlands is not the country you come to if you want to be a billionaire”? Yes, that is still true, but it doesn’t mean that wages are low. In fact, according to Eurostat, the Netherlands has the third highest minimum wage in the European Union.
To give you some context, the monthly minimum wage in the United Kingdom in euros is €1,596. In the United States the federal minimum wage is considerably less, equivalent to €1,024.01 for the same age category.
Why is the minimum wage so high in the Netherlands?
Average cost of living without rent in Amsterdam: €913.16
Living in the Netherlands (especially Amsterdam) is not cheap. In fact The Netherlands has the 9th highest cost of living in Europe. Coming from the north of England where I used to budget £15 per week on groceries, I was shocked to walk out of my local Albert Heijn having spent €30. Of course, it depends on your own dietary preferences, but if like me you are partial to avocado toast and halloumi cheese, you will certainly need a job in the Netherlands.
Average rent in Amsterdam: €1,586.80
Unfortunately, you can’t live in that dreamy canal house for free. The views might be astounding, but so is the heating bill. A single glazed and drafty rijksmonument becomes a gas guzzling machine when the canals freeze over.
On the bright side, if you work in Amsterdam chances are your wage will be a lot higher than the minimum. According to the UBS Prices and Earning report wages in Amsterdam ranked 22nd in the world, with a median salary of €40,000.
If you’re feeling adventurous and want to stretch your salary further, try finding a well insulted home outside of Amsterdam. Even if you land a job in the capitol you can commute from the equally beautiful but drastically cheaper Utrecht, Rotterdam, or The Hague. These cities are very well connected by train and provide ample opportunity to observe Dutch train etiquette: “mmmm, lekker kaas broodje.”
A high minimum wage is beneficial. Regardless of your job, everyone is guaranteed a fair pay. This ensures a high quality of life for the majority and reduces wealth inequality. Whether you work at McDonalds or the ING bank you can celebrate after work with a Frikandel sausage and fluitje of beer.
Proost to that!
This blog was written by Overseasy Intern Lizzy Patterson