Study Abroad Tips

A Guide to Student Housing in the Netherlands

April 04, 2019

No matter where you end up studying, housing is always one of the biggest headaches to figure out. If you’re planning to study in the Netherlands it might help to know that universities don’t typically offer housing. Instead, most students find their housing through the private market, which means that you can live just about anywhere in your city.

Finding housing can be tricky, but it’s not impossible. In the Netherlands, rent is between €400 and €600 on average. Here are some of your housing options, their benefits and downsides, and some general tips - just to help you on your way to finding a nice place to live.

University housing

While there is no tradition of big campuses where all of student life is contained, international students might still be able to get help with finding housing.

Many universities will have agreements with a housing agency in the city to provide international students. Likely because they realise just how hard it is to find a decent place to live when you’re not familiar with the country and aren’t already in it. It’s worth contacting your university to see what options are available to you.

There are a handful of exceptions to this: residential colleges. Almost every university has a liberal arts college (also known as a university college), and many of them are residential colleges: you will be guaranteed housing with all other first-year students. So if you are interested in getting a liberal arts education, you will be in luck with housing.

Housing agencies

The lack of university-based housing has paved the way for agencies to offer students a place to live. This is the perfect option if you want a mostly hassle-free move. The rooms are often furnished, so all you have to bring is your personal essentials. Some of the biggest agencies are SSH (active in many cities, including Rotterdam and Utrecht) and DUWO (rooms in Amsterdam and The Hague, among others).

The downside of agencies is that they give priorities to either first-year students or students who have been members with them for the longest. If you already know where you’re going in the Netherlands, it’s worth signing up and getting in line early.

Another popular option is The Student Hotel, a blend of a regular hotel and long-term student housing that is present in many big cities in the Netherlands and abroad. While the student life at The Student Hotel is great, it is considerably more expensive than any of the other housing options that we outline here.

Private housing

The most common way for both Dutch and international students to find housing is through the private housing market. There are a ton of landlords who own properties and let them specifically to students.

The biggest downside to this is that a high number of international students get scammed out of deposit fees, or they arrive in the Netherlands without housing arranged because they were scammed. While this may make the private market sound scary, there are more successes than there are defeats.

For a comprehensive overview of websites and their pros and cons, check out this page by the Dutch Student Union, who seeks to improve the quality of student life nationwide.


While anti-squatting might sound like it’s the prohibition of squatting, it actually just means that corporations charge you low rent to live in a building that is up to be demolished. The upside of this is, as mentioned, low cost!

You can pay around €200 or €300 for an above average place. The big downside here is of course that you can be evicted at any moment, but if you like the risk and don’t tend to carry a lot of stuff, it’s worth considering. Camelot is, among a few others, one of the biggest anti-squatting agencies.

How to score your perfect home

Now, you have all these resources in your arsenal - there are a few more tips that we can give to ensure that your housing process goes as smoothly as possible.

First, and this is important, is to start early. This goes for a lot of things, like applying for universities and cooking food for a date. An early start might help you get ahead of the curve, as in summer everyone and their parents will be looking for a place to live.

As an incoming first-year student, it’s also important to keep your expectations in check. The odds of you finding a single studio from a private landlord while you’re not even in the country yet are just a bit slimmer. It’s okay to settle for a small room with a bed and not much else for the first months to a year. Once you’ve found your footing, it’ll be a lot easier.

Another big tip is not to disregard short term rentals - especially if they’re maybe not the place you dreamed of. Sometimes, when it comes too close to your departure date, the most important thing is to have a bed and a pillow to rest your head on at the end of a long day. Plus, a short term rental means that you can upgrade to a place you truly love once you’re there instead of being tied to a year-long contract.

The opportunities of living in the Netherlands are quite varied, even if it feels like it’s hard to find something that you truly love. With the tips and websites provided, you’ll be well on your way to find a humble abode to call home. Check out some other things you should know about studying in the Netherlands and how to fund your stay there.

Study in the Netherlands

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