Finding a room for your stay in the Netherlands is a necessity and we will help you as much as possible. It is not easy to find accommodation and the demand in some cities is higher than the supply, so the most important thing is to start looking early. Say, 2/3 months before you start your classes. Prepare to have to lower your expectations for where and what you would like to live in. We will share some tips with you to make your search easier.
Where to look?
There are a couple of options and websites you can use. Here are a few:
DUWO is a provider of student housing and is a good and reliable option. However, they have a long waiting list so it is probably better suited for full Bachelor or Master students. In case you find a room in a shared DUWO house and get “voted in”, you avoid the waiting time to be assigned a room. Some universities have a Housing Office that can assist you in looking for accommodation. However, their availability of accommodation is limited and often expensive. Again, you have to be early if you want to use such services. For example, the Leiden University Housing Office estimates that they will be fully booked by March for the fall semester.
If you are looking at flat sharing/renting a room in a shared house keep in mind the Dutch “hospiteeravond”. In the Netherlands, it is common for student houses to host an evening where all the applicants are invited to see the house and to introduce themselves. Usually everyone sits down in the living room and the residents of the house ask questions to get to know the applicants and to afterwards pick the person that would fit best in the house.
Expand your search to surrounding smaller towns. Often, students have better luck finding accommodation in nearby towns and villages than in the actual city where they study. These town don’t have to be far away, and can even belong to the same municipality. The city is usually well accessible by bus or bike. Once you have a foot on the ground in your new destination, it might be easier to eventually move to your desired area.
Be aware of scams. Do not transfer any money prior to arriving to your new home and having seen the room. You can offer to pay the first payment in cash so that the owner is more secure (always ask for a signed note of the payment!).
A good way to find a room is through Facebook. You can search for groups or pages where people advertise rooms. Try searching your city name + one of these words: “housing”/”room”/ ”kamer”/ ”huur”/ “appartement”/ “woning”. When you write to a person offering a room or apartment, don’t forget to shortly introduce yourself and mention why you’re coming to the Netherlands.
We recommend you to visit the website of the local ESN section in your destination city for more information and tips on the specific housing situation in that city!
Here are some examples of Facebook groups where people advertise rooms or apartments:
Find a room(mate) or house in Utrecht (kamer in Utrecht)