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Duration of living in Amsterdam

Among young people has fallen sharply

By age, nationality and neighbourhood


At the request of our research Amsterdam Sorting Machine, the Research & Statistics department of the Municipality of Amsterdam produced a large number of figures about the duration of stay in Amsterdam.

In the standard reports of O+S, only the duration of residence at an address is recorded. We thank O+S for producing these figures.

The operation of these figures is shown below.




The overall impression is: people are living in Amsterdam for shorter and shorter periods

That appears to be true for young people who settle in Amsterdam. In the 18-27 age group, the average length of residence has halved between 2000 and 2022.

Three causes to be further investigated:

  1. The increase in the number of students, especially the number of foreign students. See the numbers elsewhere on this site. After a master of 2 years or a bachelor of 3 years, people usually leave the city again.

  2. The growth of the private rental sector from 22.5% in 2011 to 30.5 in 2021. This sector accounts for more than half of the recently occupied homes in the last 2 years, i.e. 55%. Temporary leases of 2 years are used on a large scale in this sector: 42 percent of those who have recently moved in the private rental sector have such a temporary lease. (All data from the WiA 2021).

  3. The growth in the number of foreigners who come to work here temporarily. People from outside the EU generally receive a residence permit for the period of the employment contract and then have to leave; some of the EU citizens work temporarily in construction, ICT, distribution and some other sectors, and then leave again quickly.

A very special situation concerns the largest group of foreign newcomers, namely the people from India. A large part of them work for ICT companies and multinationals and are allowed to register with the company upon arrival, often at the Zuidas. Within a few months they move to a permanent home address, usually in Amstelveen or elsewhere outside Amsterdam.


Real estate agents indicate that they work for 70-80% for English-speaking customers (including Michele de la Haye in Het Parool 29 October 2021) and that these expats or internationals often leave within 4-5 years. But this does not seem to be an important cause of the shorter living time in Amsterdam, because in the owner-occupied sector we see that the average length of residence is considerably longer than in the other sector.

1. Development of length of residence by age

(Source: O+S spring 2022)

It is logical that the younger the person has lived in Amsterdam. And that, the older one gets, the longer one lives in Amsterdam. After all, these are figures about people who have settled in Amsterdam.

In the period 2000 – 2022, the length of living of new Amsterdammers to 35 years decreased enormously. And the younger, the shorter people live in Amsterdam.

Apparently people can or want to live in Amsterdam for shorter periods of time.


If we look at the figures in detail, we see the following picture per age group:


18-22 years

Average living time in Amsterdam more than halved . From 5.3 in 2000 via 5.6 in 2002 to 2.5 by 2022.

Rapid decline in living time after 2015?  As a result of the introduction of temporary housing in the rental sector and the enormous increase in the number of settlers from abroad?

No, it doesn't appear numerically. Duration of residence in recent years stable at around 2.8; as of 1-1-2022 sharply down to 2.5

The main cause will be the increase in the number of students, especially foreign students (see chapter on foreign students) and the increase in short courses such as a bachelor of one semester and masters of six months.


23-27 years

Average length of living in Amsterdam has almost halved : from 5.1 in 2000 via 5.2 in 2002-2003 to 2.8 by 2022.

There is no evidence of an acceleration in the decrease in the duration of living after 2015.

One of the main causes of this will be the expiry of youth contracts at the age of 27. Up to the age of 27, we see more people settling in the city than they leave the city. Above the age of 27, the influx stops sharply and the outflow increases further. In other words: above the age of 27, the outflow is suddenly much larger than the inflow (see general introduction to demographics).


28-34 years

Decreased considerably: from 7.3 to 4.9

35-44 years

Decreased: from 12.3 in 2000 to 13 in 2008 to 10.1 now.

45-54 years

Fairly stable for more than 20 years: from 18.9 in 2000 via 19.9 in 2008 to 19 now.

55-64 years

Slightly increased: from 25.4 in 2000 to 26.7 now


Slightly decreased: from 41 to 37.1

2. Development of length of residence by nationality


Average length of residence in Amsterdam by nationality, 2000-2022

Residents 18 years and older, excluding residents born in Amsterdam

Responsibility for nationalities:

These are the nationalities of which the largest groups of newcomers have settled in Amsterdam in recent years.



The decrease in the average length of residence will also be reflected in the nationality of newcomers. This will vary a lot per nationality, eg. because of the residence status and the background of settlement (work, study or other)

Because non-EU citizens usually only receive a temporary residence permit, it is assumed that the duration of residence of non-EU citizens is (considerably) shorter than that of EU citizens.

Expats from outside the EU, especially from India and the USA (in recent years, these 2 countries were often number 1 and 2 in terms of numbers of entrants), will often be 'expats' and entrepreneurs who come here especially because of work in IT, Fintech, ed to stay for a number of years.

Students will mainly come from China; they will stay in Amsterdam even shorter than the expats from India and the USA, is the assumption.

Brazilians and Poles will mainly be here for lower paid work and it is difficult for them to settle permanently in Amsterdam, especially because of their low income.

Dutch settlers will, at least until recently, most easily settle here permanently; their average length of stay will therefore be the highest.


The question is what the influence is of the stalled housing market in Amsterdam. Now that the possibility to live permanently in Amsterdam is increasingly dependent on a (very) high income, the question is how this will work out per nationality.  

The difference between willing and able is of great importance. Some of the foreign settlers will be able to buy a house in Amsterdam in terms of income, but will prefer to leave Amsterdam after a few years.   


A closer look at the figures by nationality:



Americans : short, but quite stable. From 5.2 in 2000 via 6.3 in 2007 to 4.5 in 2020 to 4.9 now. Slightly rising in the last 5 years.

Brazilians : Even shorter, but quite stable. From 3.3 in 2000 from 4.2 in 2013-2015 to 3.1 in 2019-2020 to 3.6 now.

Chinese : short, considerably decreased. From 5.7 to 3.4. Probably due to the growth in the number of Chinese students, often master students (Masters of six months and two years).

Indians : shortest duration of residence;  halved. From 4.2 in 2000 via 5.5 in 2004 to 2.1 now. Indians mainly come to Amsterdam for work in IT; It has been agreed between the municipality of Amsterdam and the employers in the Zuidas that these IT specialists may temporarily register at the work address upon arrival in Amsterdam. Many of them will subsequently find accommodation outside Amsterdam, especially in Amstelveen, making their residence time in Amsterdam extremely short. 

The average length of residence of 2.1 years is the shortest; because Indians belonged to the largest intake group in Amsterdam in recent years, the question is what the effect will be.  It seems logical that this has major effects, both on the residential environment where they live temporarily, on the companies where they work and on their social life.

Russian (incl. soviet states): very short and slightly increased. From 2.1 in 2000 via 3.2 in 2010 to 2.8 now. Especially for a short presence in the context of international business? Due to the Ukraine war now probably an increase in length of stay.



Brits :

After 2000, first increase in length of stay (from 6.7 in 2000 to 8.5 in 2008) followed by a decrease to 6.3 now.

Traditionally a large group in Amsterdam, always around 1% of the population. Now that Great Britain has been excluded from the EU since 2020, Britons who already live here will probably stay here longer and British newcomers will probably stay here for a shorter time.

Germans :

What decreased. From 8.4 in 2000 via 8.5 in 2007 to 6.9 now

French :

What decreased. From 6.2 in 2000 via 7.3 in 2007 to 4.9 now

Italians :

Was quite long and has decreased very much, more than halved. From 12 years in 2000 to 5.2 now. Originally a large group of Italians who came to the Netherlands as 'guest workers' in the 1960s. Rapid % decrease now due to large increase in the number of Italian students?

Poland :

Short and slightly increased. From 3.3 in 2000 to 4.5 now.

Many Poles work in construction, port and industry and regularly return to Poland. They stay in Amsterdam for less than 4 consecutive months. Partly because of this, they cannot register in the 'population register' and we therefore do not see them in the figures.

Spaniards :

Was long (longest duration of residence of all 'other' nationalities) and strongly declined; more than halved. From 14.1 in 2000 to 5.7 now. Originally a large group of Spaniards who came to the Netherlands as 'guest workers' in the 1960s. Rapid % decrease now due to large increase in the number of Spanish students?

Dutch :

Longest duration of residence and has increased. From 16.2 to 19 in 2022. Because the newcomers from the Netherlands from previous periods have largely continued to live here?


General conclusions

EU citizens have on average a longer period of residence in Amsterdam than non-EU citizens.

The duration of living of Brazilians, Poles and Russians of all nationalities has increased slightly over the last 20 years. The average length of residence of settlers has decreased for the other nationalities, except for the Dutch, which has risen sharply over the past 20 years, including the last 5 years.

The proposition that wealthy foreigners have been pushing the Dutch out of Amsterdam in recent years because they can offer more for a home due to their large tax benefits does not seem to hold up when we look at the length of stay. This was already apparent in the corona years 2020 and 2021 when the influx of expats almost stopped while house prices continued to rise enormously.

3. Development of duration of stay by district


Average length of living in Amsterdam per neighbourhood, 2000 – 2022

Residents 18 years and older, excluding residents born in Amsterdam


Amsterdam is divided into 99 districts

We look at the development of the length of stay of 'settlers' per district in the period 2000 – 2022 (1 January), showing the striking figures (decrease or increase of more and a single percent).

In addition, we look at the neighborhoods where there has been a remarkable increase or decrease in the duration of living since 2015.

The average length of residence has decreased considerably between 2000 and 2022. Many more neighborhoods will therefore show a decrease in the duration of residence than neighborhoods where the duration of residence has increased. When the length of stay of settlers (“import”) has increased, we can speak of stable neighbourhoods; when the length of residence decreases, we can speak of dynamic neighbourhoods.


Table of overview of neighborhoods where the length of stay of settlers ("import") has increased.

Duration of living increases because "import" leaves less / stays more, and/or little new "import" arrives.

Table of neighborhoods where the length of stay of settlers has decreased significantly.

“Import” leaves more / stays less, and/or a lot of new “import”.

Shortest duration of residence 1-1-2022 (only residential areas)



  • For neighborhoods with few inhabitants, such as industrial estates in particular (Sloterdijk until recently, Amstel III until recently, Houthavens until recently, Lutkemeer, Westelijk Havengebied) these length of living figures have little meaning.

  • Neighborhoods with a lot of new construction in the last 7 years (2015-2022) will show a decrease in living time:
    Slotervaart South (Lelylaan, Vlaardingenlaan, neighborhoods south of August Allebeplein, Wilhelminaplein)

    Buiksloterham: we do not see it in the figures = Noordelijke IJ-oevers West district
    NDSM: not reflected in the figures = Noordelijke IJ-oevers West district

  • Southeast as a 'reception area'; the classic “ Arrival City ” (see Doug Sanders' book of the same name from 2010) where the newcomers find their first place in the city no longer exists; see the increased and long duration of living in Bijlmer Centrum, Bijlmer Oost and Gein.
    We will come back to this when we list the number of settlers per district in recent years. And so hope to find the Arrival City neighborhoods of today.

4. Average length of stay of all settlers and of all Amsterdammers

Average length of living in Amsterdam, 2000-2022

Residents 18 years and older, excluding residents born in Amsterdam
















Average length of stay of settlers increased


Very surprising: the average length of stay of settlers increased between 2000 and 2022

The average length of residence in Amsterdam of residents aged 18 and older, excluding residents born in Amsterdam, increased from 14.9 years to 15.3 between 2000 and 2022.


It has fallen somewhat after 2008 (from 15.8 to 15.3 now) and has actually been very stable since 2011. Apparently the halving of the living time of young settlers (see Chapter 1 of this story) is more than compensated for by the increased living time of the group of settlers, who have settled here in the past and are now in the age group 45 – 65 years. The idea that the young influx cannot stay in the city now because the old influx (the influx of previous decades) stays here longer / will not leave, therefore seems to be correct. In other words: those who came to Amsterdam as an 18-25 year old could settle here permanently until roughly 20 years ago. Since then, i.e. after 2002, this has become increasingly difficult and after 2015 it is no longer possible for the majority of settlers.


And apparently the sharp decrease in the length of stay of settlers with a foreign nationality is more than compensated by the increased length of residence of people with a Dutch nationality (from 16.2 in 2000 to 19 years in 2022; see the figures in Chapter 2 of this story. ).

The idea that the foreign influx/settlers displaces the Dutch influx/settlers in Amsterdam therefore does not hold in general. It is impossible to say on the basis of these figures how the current foreign influx affects the possibilities of the Dutch influx to settle permanently in the city.

Average length of living in Amsterdam, 2000-2022

All residents, including residents under the age of 18 and residents born in Amsterdam





















Average length of life of original Amsterdammers has decreased significantly


The figures for the average length of living in Amsterdam for all residents, including residents under the age of 18 and residents born in Amsterdam, show a decrease. From 20.4 years in 2000 quite evenly to 18 years now. This is expected due to the large numbers of settlers and leavers in relation to the total population.


Because the length of residence of settlers has increased in the same period (see immediately above), this means that the length of residence of the “original” Amsterdammers, those who were born here and those under the age of 18, must have decreased considerably.

To speak here of the displacement of original Amsterdammers by settlers is too simplistic. Displacement is a difficult concept in this context, because it presupposes that people are forced to leave, while many original Amsterdammers who left do not experience it that way at all.

But the fact remains that the average length of residence of settlers has increased while the average length of residence of all Amsterdam residents has decreased.


5. Duration of stay by housing sector
















Source WiMRA 2021


The figure above shows that almost half of the residents of an expensive private rental home in the MRA lived there for less than 2 years in 2021. In Amsterdam this will probably be even higher.

In Amsterdam, in 2021, 42 percent of those who have recently moved in the private rental sector will have a temporary rental contract, according to the WiA 2021 study. ​


In the Amsterdam region (MRA), the private rental sector grew from 8 percent in 2017 to 12 percent in 2021. This growth is exclusively in the high rental segment (> €1,053). Amsterdam figures: around 15%

In the MRA, 75% of the newcomers from abroad even end up in a private free sector home. The average initial rent in this segment has risen to EUR 1403 per month. (WiMRA 2021) Figures Amsterdam will come


  1. The introduction of temporary rental contracts in 2016, combined with the large increase in the (expensive) private rental sector, partly due to the rental points system and Buy to Let, are 2 important causes of the decrease in the average length of living in Amsterdam, especially for young newcomers.

  2. Because these homes quickly become vacant, the city can accommodate large numbers of newcomers every year, which creates enormous dynamics in many areas. The question is what the character and quality of this dynamic “coming and going” is, both in a positive and negative sense.

  3. Newcomers to the city are mainly dependent on the private rental sector; that is where the offer is greatest. Often for only 2 years and at a high rent, but people are “inside”. Only to have to make way for new newcomers after 2 years. It is therefore not surprising that the average length of residence for newcomers aged 18-22 has fallen to 2.5 years in 2022 and is not much higher for those aged 23-27. They are the largest group of newcomers and also the largest group of departures. For them, Amsterdam Sorting Machine is the reality.

  4. In the past, it was mainly neighborhoods with a lot of social housing, such as Zuidoost, that functioned as Arrival City. Now these are neighborhoods with many (expensive) private rental homes, such as Zuid and parts of New West.





Jaap Draaisma
Amsterdam, June / October 2022

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The average length of stay of young newcomers (18 – 27 years old) in Amsterdam has halved between 2000 and 2022.

The average length of residence in Amsterdam has also decreased in the 28-45 age group.

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Gemiddelde woonduur van alle Amsterdammers is aanzienlijk afgenomen

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