Finding housing – a piece of cake, well not quite! Depending on the city you wish to study in, finding accommodation at a reasonable price (between € 300 to € 600 a month) and a certain standard can prove more difficult than you would have anticipated. Therefore, start early. There are several ways to find accommodation.
Some universities offer accommodation at a reasonable price and standard on the university campus.
There are a few steps you will need to undertake in order to secure your place in university housing:
If you prefer to look for a room independently, join Facebook groups (you can find several groups with thousands of users offering and searching for student accommodation in Amsterdam, Utrecht, Rotterdam, Groningen, Nijmegen, Tilburg, Leiden, Enschede, Maastricht and more), websites such as kamernet.nl or through real estate agencies.
Here is a list with very different and useful websites for finding the right accommodation for you:
If you have some specific questions you can always visit the Housing Hotline, a website owned and supported by the Dutch Student Union.
An alternative option is anti-squad housing. These are unconventional places that you may occupy for an uncertain time at very low prices. Usually, these are buildings that are supposed to be torn down in the near future. Due to the low prices, they are highly desirable by Dutch students and - depending on the city - you may have to join a waiting list.
If you are studying in a Dutch city near the border, it is worth looking in the neighboring countries for student accommodation. Often, the rental prices are lower.
Tip: Research the city of your choice for student assistance agencies that could help you with everything concerning studying in the Netherlands, including student accommodation.
Financing tip: If you need to rent a house or an apartment, you can always try to apply for financial help for your rent from the Dutch government. Conditions are to not exceed a certain income limit and to be an EU or EEA citizen. If you come from another country, you will need a valid residence permit.
Sometimes an incredible offer that suits you perfectly might prove to be a scam. Make your research thoroughly. Never agree on signing a contract before you have seen the property yourself and are sure that the landlord is actually the landlord of the place. Ask for documents. If they don’t provide them it might be a scam.
If someone asks you for a deposit before arranging the contract, don’t pay it. If possible try to avoid cash payment and always use a bank transfer (not PayPal). In the Netherlands the deposit should amount to 1 month rent and not more.
Registering in the local city hall is mandatory in the Netherlands. You are required to register within 5 days of residing there or after you have signed a rental contract. At the city hall you need to provide a certified translated copy of your birth certificate, not older than 6 months; the rental contract and a valid passport or ID. A residence permit might be requested by the city hall as well.
EU/EEA and Swiss citizens may stay and work in the Netherlands without a residence permit. In case employers ask for a proof, you may hand in the letter of abolition of the obligation to register, issued by the IND. Croatian nationals are the exception and need to apply for a permit.
Having a social security number is necessary if you wish to work in the Netherlands. You may need to provide a BSN number when applying for an insurance, opening a bank account or applying for benefits.
EU/EEA and Swiss citizens do not have to apply for a Dutch health insurance, if they can prove that they have a health insurance at home. The EU Health Insurance Card is easy to issue in your home country and a proof of coverage within the EU. To double check whether you are obliged to get a health insurance click here.
If you wish to pay your tuition fees in installments, you will need a Dutch bank account. Since paying by card is the most common method of payment in the Netherlands, a bank account will be very handy. To open a bank account, you need to bring a valid passport or a national ID, proof of address rental agreement/registration at the city hall as well as a BSN Number. If you do not possess a BSN number, you can also provide a proof of enrollment, which is accepted as a temporary proof for international students only.
Start learning Dutch - some universities offer free language courses in Dutch, but be aware that they will be crowded. There are many independent companies that offer courses too. Or just look for fellow Dutch students willing to give private lessons.
In 2018 there were 22.5 million bicycles registered in the Netherlands. So, to truly blend in the Dutch everyday life, you should get a bike. Bicycles are the preferred method of transportation by the Dutch. The flat well-maintained bike lanes enable a pleasant and safe transportation by bicycle. You can buy bikes new or second hand in every city or at sites such as www.marktplaats.nl. The police auctions retrieved bicycles regularly as well. Just check the next dates in your city.
Tip: If you are offered a bicycle on the street for a suspiciously low price – chances are that the bike was stolen.
Be aware of bike thefts: Don’t cheap out on the lock, invest a bit more and get a solid one with which you should always lock your bike. Further preventative measures are bike theft insurances, registering your bike at fietsenregister.nl, noting the serial number, personalizing your bike – to be able to recognize your bike without a doubt (also good to find among the hundreds of bikes parked next to it) and other methods to ensure your bike is safe.
Not a bicycle fan? A pricier but lazier option would be to acquire a scooter or a bromfiets (moped). In the Netherlands scooter owners can use the bicycle lanes which helps avoiding traffic.
Apply for an OV Travel Card. Students may apply for a travel card that grants them free or discounted travel within the city they reside in as well as throughout the country. Have a look at the different travel products and how to apply for each one of them here.