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Costs of living in Groningen - how expensive is it?

What’s the cost of living in Groningen?

Knowing what to expect is always the key to a smooth and pleasant moving-house experience. Unexpected costs can throw a real ‘spanner in the works’ when you’re on a tight budget, and they can cause unnecessary stress too. Once you’re settled here, this will not be such a big concern because you will have found a regular pattern that works for you - with consistent costs you can rely on. 

However, before you take the plunge and make your move, you’ll want to know just how expensive Groningen is, and what costs of living in the city are like. This way you can make a budget, and understand exactly how far your money will go.

To start with, it's good to know that Groningen prices are very affordable – certainly compared to the cities in the Randstad region. But there are certain costs that might come as a surprise, so we’re going to look at all the different types of costs you can expect from living in Groningen. This way you know exactly what to expect!


What does eating out cost in Groningen? 

€15 per single course meal (average)

Generally speaking, the Dutch enjoy a social lifestyle that includes casual eating-out at cafes and restaurants. This is not seen as a massive luxury, but rather something that everyone will enjoy on a casual basis from time to time. 

For this reason, the cost of eating out in the Netherlands is generally consistently an acceptable price throughout most of the country. 

Generally. 

You’ll always find horrifically expensive restaurants if you look for them, of course.

In Groningen, the prices are quite acceptable, and just a little below the national average - although the food is just as good! A typical single course will cost between €9 and €20, and a three-course meal in the region of €35 at a mid-market establishment. This is about 5% cheaper than in Amsterdam.


How expensive is rent in Groningen? 

€1,275/month for an 85m2 apartment (average)

You’ll find that the Groningen cost of living is primarily made up of the housing costs. Renting in Groningen is much cheaper than many cities, but it’s definitely more expensive in the city center. There is high demand on rental properties, and around 81% of households are either single people, or couples without children. As a result there is quite high demand for smaller properties, but enough supply that it doesn’t skew the market too much.  

The average rent per square meter (m2) is €15/ m2/month. For a good-sized apartment of 85m2, this means you can expect to pay €1,275/month on rent.


What taxes or charges do I need to pay in Groningen?

There are several taxes and charges that are set by the municipal authority, and these cover the costs of running a clean and safe city. These are divided into distinct categories.

Waterschapsbelasting (Water Board Charges)   

€424.61 per year (average family home)

These charges are divided into three kinds of charges, and what you need to pay depends on how your wastewater is treated. 

There are separate charges for wastewater that goes into the open water (runoff); for maintaining canals, dykes and waterways; and for purifying water that goes into the sewerage system. These are separate to the costs that are paid to the municipality (gemeente in Dutch), which cover the costs of the drainage system (but not the treatment of the water).

Your water board charges (Waterschapsbelasting) are paid to the regional water board, which is a governmental body that has specific responsibility for handling the water itself, and keeping it where it needs to be. It’s an important cost that helps to make sure that floods don’t happen.

In Groningen, your local water board is the Noorderzijlvest Waterschap, and your charges as a renter (single person household) will be in the region of €167.93 per year from 2022 onwards. A rented family home will pay around €308.47, and if you’re the owner you will pay about €424.61 per year. 

Local Taxes and Municipal Charges in Groningen

There are several municipal charges and local taxes in Groningen, which you’ll need to pay. Based on the 2021 charges, these consist of the following:

Property Tax (OZB) in Groningen = €359.48 per year (average)

OZB is paid when you are the owner of a property, or the user of a non-residential/business property. This is calculated based on a percentage of the official value (WOZ) of your property (house, apartment, office, shop, etc.).

For property owners in 2022, you can expect to pay 0.1634% of the WOZ if it is a residential property, or 0.5644% if it’s a business/non-residential property.

If you’re the user of a non-residential or business premises, you’re liable to pay 0.4235% of the WOZ value. If you’re renting an apartment or house, you don’t have to pay property tax for this, unless a portion of the property constitutes a non-residential or business use.

In practice this means that if you owned a house with a WOZ of €220,000, then you can expect an annual charge of €359.48

Sewerage Charge = €141.18 per year

This is a fixed amount ‘per connection’ to the sewerage system. In 2022 this amount is €141.18 per year.

Garbage Collection charge = € 362.04 per year (average)

No one wants heaps of rubbish all over the place, so the municipality conveniently picks it up, takes it away and deals with it for you. 

The cost for this service is based on the size of the household:

  • Single person household: €254.88 per year

  • 2-person household: €298.20 per year

  • 3-person (or more) household: €362.04 per year

Dog Tax

Dog Tax (Hondenbelasting, in Dutch) is a charge paid by dog owners in some municipalities to counterbalance the burden placed on society by dog owners, and help reduce the level of dog ownership. 


In the past, Groningen levied a ‘Dog Tax’ to help pay for the damage from dog feces, as well as the surprising burden on Healthcare caused by the numerous parasites and other diseases they pass on to Humans and other animals.  


In 2022, this tax was dropped in Groningen, so dog owners no longer need to pay for Dog Tax. 


Dog owners are still required to look after their animals properly by picking-up after them, taking them to the vet, and having them dewormed regularly. The Netherlands is a very animal-friendly country, so people are expected to treat their pets well, and this is enforced when needed.


Everyday costs of living in Groningen: Utilities

€210 per month (average)

Costs of utilities in Groningen are very similar to the national average. Although you pay several charges for ‘water’, your drinking water is a separate cost which we include here.

The combined costs in Groningen for electricity, water, gas/heating, Internet/TV/Phone are about €210 per month for an average 85m2 apartment.  


What are the costs of childcare in Groningen?

Childcare is definitely a major cost, but it is slightly cheaper in Groningen than in the cities in the Randstad. You can expect to pay in the region of €1500 per month for full-time childcare. If your income is average then you can get a lot of this covered by childcare benefit kinderopvangtoeslag.

 

In December 2021, the Dutch cabinet announced that it would be replacing the current system with a new one that will make childcare up to 95% free. This may take some time to phase-in, but it will certainly change things for a lot of people for the better.


What are the costs in supermarkets in Groningen?

Groceries in Groningen are generally reasonably priced, provided you shop at a regular supermarket. 

There are several big-chain supermarkets in Groningen, including Jumbo, Albert Heijn, Coop, ALDI, Lidl, and PLUS. You’ll find that the grocery prices in Groningen are not very expensive, especially if you’re buying fresh produce. 

You should also check out the independent stores in the city – greengrocers and butchers are often great places to get quality food for a very good price.


So, overall - how expensive is Groningen, then?

Quite simply, Groningen is a lot less expensive than you would expect from a cosmopolitan city and a municipal capital. 

The prices here reflect the fact that the average wages are much lower than somewhere like Amsterdam, being around 32% less. However, as an expat, this is not so likely to describe your situation. 

If you’re working in a reasonably well-paid position, you can lead a great quality of life here, and if you’re earning an average wage, you can get by quite comfortably. Groningen can also offer many interesting things to do and activities to spend your spare time on. Once you’re settled-in, you’ll also find places that offer the things you love at the best price. We’d love to help you get settled, and we can help offer advice to make things even easier for you.

Last updated: September 6, 2022

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