The Realistic Guide to the Cost of Living in Utrecht (2021)


Sep 28 • 5 minute read

Utrecht is the 4th largest city in the Netherlands based on population. As such, Utrecht’s neighbourhoods offer wonderful living conditions and a wide range of leisure activities.

Utrecht is nestled in central Holland and is well-known for its historical past. With the prospect of more and more people starting to live here, the city is on a track to becoming an alternative to the busy Amsterdam. As a result, more and more companies are set to be joining the several high profile consulting companies and a wide array of firms from the creative industry that have offices in the city now.

Keep in mind that Utrecht is only 20 minutes away from Amsterdam by train!

If you’re considering Utrecht as a prospective new home, we’re here to give you an overview of the cost of living in the city. In this guide, we’ll break down the expenses in the city according to four categories:

  • Rent expenses
  • Food prices
  • Public transportation
  • Leisure activities

Is it expensive to live in Utrecht?

Being a fast-growing city, Utrecht is attractive to locals and internationals alike. As a consequence, the demand for accommodation is nothing short of high, therefore driving the rent prices up.

The rest of the expenses you’ll have to cover are higher than the Dutch average, making Utrecht the 2nd most expensive city to live in in the Netherlands. Comparing it to Amsterdam, the most expensive city to live in in the Netherlands, you’ll find that the consumer prices are 7,34% lower in Utrecht.

This, of course, doesn’t mean that it is impossible to live in Utrecht if you’re trying to stretch your budget out. The absolute expenses depend on your overall lifestyle and it’s possible to enjoy the fantastic city without breaking the bank.

What is the cost of living in Utrecht?

As with other Dutch cities, such as Rotterdam and Eindhoven, you should be prepared to spend € 700 on top of your rental expenses to assure a comfortable way of living.

With that being said, let’s dive into the average rent price and the categories that are going to make up for that € 700.

Rental prices

The average rental prices, regardless of the property type have increased by a mere 0,4% between Q1 and Q2 2021.

Based on HousingAnywhere’s latest Rent Index, this is what you can expect to pay for accommodation in Utrecht as of July 2021:

Type of AccommodationRental price in €
Apartment€ 1302
Studio€ 1009
Private Room€ 637

The table above shows the average prices per property type. You should be able to find accommodation below those averages with some extra effort.

Food prices

The average price of groceries in Utrecht are 3.08% higher than those in Amsterdam. Based on that, you should expect to pay some extra bucks for items such as beef and milk. The rest of the common goods tend to be cheaper, so you won't have to limit yourself too much.

You can find cheaper produce and various types of meats at Utrecht’s Vredenburg market that takes place in the city centre 3 times per week!

The following prices should give help you set up an informed food budget:

Food / Beverage ProductPrices in €
Water (1.5-litre bottle)€ 0.73
Wine (1 bottle, mid-range)€ 5.99
Local Beer (0,.5 litre bottle)€ 1.18
Imported beer(0.33-litre bottle)€1.77
Milk (1 litre, generic)€ 0.70
White bread (500 g)€ 1.96
Rice (white, 1 kg)€ 1.90
Eggs (medium, 12 pieces)€ 2.01
Local cheese (1 kg)€ 11.13
Beef (1 kg)€ 23.49
Bananas (1 kg)€ 1.19
Oranges (1 kg)€ 1.32
Tomatoes (1 kg)€ 2.09
Potatoes (1 kg)€ 1.16

Prices for leisure time

Relaxing in secluded gardens, international eateries, canal cruises and calm streets. Utrecht has it all and since there aren’t many tourists around, you’ll be able to enjoy your time in peace.

Utrecht is famous for its canal-side terraces so we advise you to put a visit to one of them on your bucket list!

Leisure ActivityPrice in €
A meal in an inexpensive restaurant€ 16.00
Three course meal for two in a middle-class restaurant€ 69.50
Cinema ticket, Hollywood production or comparable€ 12.00
Gym membership fee (monthly)€ 26.56
Rental fee for a tennis court (1 hour on weekends)€ 25.00

Public transport

Despite not having an extensive territory, Utrecht has a well-integrated public transport system. The 300 buses and 23 trams strong transport network is accessible on a pay-per-use basis or through the OV-Chipkaart.

The 2021 costs for public transport and getting around in Utrecht are as follows:

Mean of TransportPrice in €
A one-way trip on public transport€ 2.85
Monthly subscription (regular price)€ 90.00
Starting taxi fare (regular fare)€ 7.00
1 kilometre in a taxi (standard fare)€ 2.44
Petrol (1 litre)€ 1.71

Now that you have a better idea as to what to expect from the cost of living in Utrecht, it's time for you to pick out your neighbourhood and look for accommodation in Utrecht.

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