Finding housing in the Netherlands is usually pretty challenging. The demand is high and the supply is relatively low. This means that finding an affordable place to live in big cities like Amsterdam, or any other university city really, can be very difficult for a student.
As an international student, especially a new one, it is generally the case that housing will be arranged with a private housing company through the university. Many schools have agreements with student housing companies in order to ensure accommodation for new incoming international students. However, even these are limited and you are not necessarily guaranteed a room. You should fill out the application forms before the deadline and reply to any offers immediately, or you risk losing them. In most cases, it is really advisable to use this system to find your room; the difficulty of finding a room independently cannot be underestimated! Be sure to check out what your school’s student housing company has to offer before deciding to pursue other options.
DUWO.nl is the biggest and oldest student housing company in the Netherlands. They provide furnished rooms for students in Amstelveen, Amsterdam, Delft, Haarlem, The Hague, Hoofddorp and Leiden. You must be enrolled as a student at a Dutch institution or internship in order to apply for housing at DUWO. There are other student housing companies like DUWO in other university cities. Be sure to find out or ask your school whether they have an agreement with any student housing companies as they will probably be the easiest and most secure way for you to find accommodation as an international student.
If you prefer not to live in student housing, make sure you start looking for accommodation for yourself very early on to ensure that it is ready for you in time for your arrival since it can take months to find a suitable place.
Most student housing companies will provide you with a simply furnished room and an option of whether or not you want to share a bathroom with your flatmates. Kitchens are almost always shared. If you’re renting privately or through an agency, make sure that you ask a lot of questions about the apartment such as:
It might be helpful to make a list of your requirements and e-mail it to the owner/agent so you avoid wasting time making appointments for and seeing apartments that aren’t suited to your needs.
You can always check out websites like casaswap.com (available in English), directwonen.nl (available in English), easykamer.nl (available in English), erasmate.com (available in English), housinganywhere.com (available in English), kamer.nl (available in English), kamerhuren.nl (available in English), kamernet.nl (Dutch only), opmijnkamer.nl (Dutch only), studentenwoningweb.nl (available in English), and others to find places. Be aware however that many of these require a membership or registration fee in order to be able to send and receive messages. There are also many places available through rental real estate agencies, but they will charge commission and conditions for renting are much more specific than if you rent privately through the owner. NOTE: As a student, you probably don’t have a stable income, or if you do, it’s probably not significant enough to cover rent. You can still rent in this case, but you will need a written guarantee from your parents or guardians that assures the owner/agency that rent will be paid in full and on time.
BE CAREFUL: Because the market is so difficult, there are many people looking to take advantage of this. This means that there are a lot of scams that you may run into if searching for a place on the internet. DO NOT send any money or personal information or copies of documents before you’ve viewed the apartment and made sure that everything is in order. Make sure you ask questions about anything you might be concerned about or interested in when you view the apartment or, at the very least, before you sign the contract. A common sign of a scam is that the supposed landlord says they are out of the country, or not available at the moment, and you will be asked to follow a convoluted and confusing path in order to be able to rent the advertised place. If it seems too good to be true, it unfortunately usually is.
BE CAREFUL: There are many more opportunities to sub-let or rent illegally in the Netherlands. However, if you choose to do this, you must be aware that you have very few rights as a tenant. It is best to avoid this type of situation if you can.
You can find a bit of information about housing on this Nuffic page. This Iamsterdam page also has some general information about accommodation in the Netherlands. You can find some common Dutch terms you may need when searching for and renting a house in the Netherlands. If you have problems with your accommodation, some advice on how to deal with them can be found on the Nuffic 'Complaints about your housing' page or the Iamsterdam 'overview of housing rights' page.
Once you’ve found a place to live, there is a possibility that you can apply for a rental rebate (this link takes you to a Dutch page, but you can find information about this by reading our 'huurtoeslag' government aid section).There are certain conditions that you must meet, however.
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