As the UvA is a city university with no central campus, you would expect demand for accommodation to be high. In fact, it is worse than that: Amsterdam is infamous for the notorious difficulties faced by people, especially students, in finding an affordable room. In fact many Dutch students are completely unable to live in the city, and are forced to live at their parents' or commute long distances every day.
However, as an international student, you are lucky. UvA has agreements with some of the largest landlord corporations in the Netherlands to provide 1700 rooms to international students for one or two semesters. This means that you have a much better chance of getting a furnished room allocated to you and avoiding of all this potential hassle. Yet, given that around 2500 international students come to the UvA to study each year, it is clear to see that not everyone is this lucky, and there just isn’t enough to go around. While nearly all first year international students are guaranteed a room, when it comes to finding a room in Amsterdam, nothing is certain. This means that it is crucial to secure your accommodation as soon as possible; the Amsterdam housing market is not to be underestimated!
You do not apply for a room yourself. Instead, your application is submitted to the landlord by your faculty. The two main landlord corporations are De Key Short Stay and Stichtig DUWO and the accommodation offered to international students is known as Short Stay. Unfortunately, you cannot apply for a specific type of room or location. As demand is so high, this means that the prevailing attitude is ‘you’ll get what you are given’. The lack of choice is the price you pay for the high likelihood as an international student of being able to get a room in Amsterdam.
The rooms are in lots of locations, and the type of accommodation varies. You can choose from a shared bedroom which is the cheapest, a private room with shared kitchen and bathroom facilities, and a private room with your own facilities. The price obviously varies, but generally falls between €300 - €600 a month. The rooms are all over Amsterdam, some of them very close to the city centre while others are further out in places like Diemen. Yet, given the small size of Amsterdam and its excellent public transport and cycling infrastructure, the city centre is never more than 25 minutes away.
Once you have applied and been accepted to your course at the UvA, the next stage of applications will follow. You will receive an email from the UvA that invites you to start your online application for accommodation. If you plan to start in September you will receive this in the middle of May, and if you plan to start in February you will receive it in the middle of November.
Unfortunately you have to pay a non-refundable fee to the UvA before your application can be completed. This has to be done with a credit card. For one semester the fee is €250-300, and for two semesters this is €425-500. However, if you do not receive a room offer you will get this fee returned to you.
You should make sure to submit your application as soon as possible, and if you can, as soon as you receive the email. Once you receive a response email offering you a room, you only have a very short amount of time to confirm that you will take the room - just three days! You then need to submit a credit card guarantee form within five days. Rooms are allocated on a first-come first-served basis, so if you hesitate for too long or decline the offer you will lose your guarantee and be forced to find a room on the tough Amsterdam rental market independently!
Even if the room you are offered is not quite what you are looking for, think long and hard before you decline the offer, as the difficulty of the rental market is not to be underestimated and finding a house should not be added to your list of worries and stresses as you make the move here.
Once you have accepted your room and arrived in Amsterdam, you will need to pay a further €150 fee to the landlord on top of a deposit of either one month’s rent or another €150.
These guides are never finished.
Want to help?