What Is a Good Salary in The Netherlands Compared to Other EU States and Standards of Living?
The Netherlands has a unique wage structure that is applied in very few countries, where from the age of 15 until 23, minimum wage steadily increases with age (see below). The Dutch system also boasts the third highest minimum wage in the EU as of 1st January 2016, bettered only by Luxembourg, Ireland and the UK. Austria, Cyprus Finland, Denmark, Italy and Sweden do not have a statutory minimum wage, which has recently sparked a movement for EU-wide minimum wage regulations.
The average salary in The Netherlands varies with each field of work; higher skilled workers, experience and qualifications are all contributing factors to salary calculations, on top of the national economic circumstances. Bulgaria has the lowest average salary in the EU at €365 per month and Luxembourg has the highest with €3,149 per month. According to the Holland Alumni Network, the average annual salary in the Netherlands is approximately €27,000 (€2,250 per month), higher than the EU average at around €1,470 per month.
The average Dutch salary lies on the high end of the spectrum in comparison to the rest of the EU, however it must be noted that figures are heavily related to both the ever-fluctuating cost of living and the standard of living in different countries. Determining a ‘good’ salary would be difficult as each individual has a different spending pattern and different responsibilities, such as children.
The cost of living in The Netherlands is high in comparison to other countries, ranked 7th in the EU in Business Insider UK’s Cost of Living rankings after London, Copenhagen, Paris, Dublin, Stockholm and Helsinki. While typically salaries in Eastern and Central Europe are dwarfed in comparison to salaries in Western Europe, the cost of living in these countries is also much cheaper. In addition, there is strong correlation between the cost of living and standard of living in many countries. This is evident in a number of studies that see places like Copenhagen, for example, at the top of salary, cost and standard rankings; money may not buy happiness but it can buy luxury.
A 2016 study conducted by Mercer concluded that Amsterdam is ranked 11th worldwide in the Quality of Living city rankings, and 6th in the EU, behind Vienna (ranked 1st worldwide), Munich, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt and Copenhagen. Quality of living studies look at a number of factors from costs to education, health and the environment as well as house prices and safety. Countless studies have also revealed that Dutch people are exceedingly happy, so something must be right!