Housing in the Netherlands
Arranging your housing in the Netherlands can be tricky. Especially in bigger cities like Amsterdam, Utrecht or Rotterdam, where vacant apartments are usually scarce. However, finding an apartment in the Netherlands is possible if you know where to start looking. We assembled all housing options for:
Housing for Young professionals and job seekers
You landed a job in the Netherlands or hoping to do so soon? Congratulations! Let’s see what you can do to find an apartment that goes with your new Dutch lifestyle.
- Check common housing websites. There are reams of housing websites in the Netherlands, which also the Dutchies use for their search for an affordable apartment. Check for example Pararius, Kamernet, Esteon, Huurflits and Direct Wonen and Funda. Bear in mind that the competition is higher on free sites. Considering a couple of the reputable paid ones could quickly pay off (see table below).
Unfortunately, there are some scammers on the housing market taking advantage of your situation. If an offer is too good to be true, it might be. Never pay for an appartment you haven’t seen before.
- Check housing websites for expats and internationals. There are multiple housing websites which are specialised in expat housing. Check, for example, XPAT Rentals, Only Expats, Holland2stay or StuWorld (for students, young professionals and expats).
We created an overview of all common housing websites in the Netherlands:
|Pararius||en, nl, de, it, es, fr||Free of charge|
|Funda||en, nl||Free of charge. Funda is the most popular website for buying a house. However, it also offers rental properties.|
|StuWorld||en, nl||Free of charge|
|Kamernet||en, nl||Most popular website for shared housing, not only for students. €21 for 15 days, €34 per month. Avoid paying too much and cancel the subscription in time.|
|Esteon||en, nl, de, vls||Limited search service is available for free. To get all functionalities you’ll need to subscribe. From €8 per month.|
|Direct Wonen||en, nl||Limited possibilities for free. €10 for two weeks, €15 per month.|
|Huurflits.nl||nl||This website is not that pouplar (yet) which is why the succes rate is slightly higher than on very popular websites. A premium subscription costs €24,95 per month.|
|Holland2stay||en||A one-time administration fee of €23,50 and a booking fee if you book an accommodation through Holland2stay|
|XPAT Rentals||en||XPAT Rentals is an international website, which offers apartments all over the world. You need to sign up with your email address to get access.|
|Only Expats||en||Only Expats is a website which lists apartments specifically chosen for expats. You need to sign up with your email address to get access.|
- Check Facebook groups. In the Netherlands, you most possibly find your apartment through your network. Since you don’t have a network in the Netherlands yet, spread the word on social media and spam every Facebook group you can think of. There are multiple facebook groups for housing in every city. Try the search term ‘kamer huren in insert your city’ or ‘appartement huren in insert your city’, join the groups and drop your request. Examples are Huurwoning of kamer huren in Amsterdam, Rooms, Apartments, Houses in AMSTERDAM, Woonruimte Aangeboden / Gezocht (Utrecht), Woonruimte Aangeboden / Gezocht (Eindhoven) and many more.
- Consider subsidised options (sociale huurwoning). If your income isn’t that high, you might be entitled to social housing (sociale huur(woning)). For these apartments, you’ll pay a much lower rent than for other flats. To get an apartment through social housing, you need to meet specific criteria (link only available in Dutch), e.g. how much you earn. If you are at the beginning of your career, you are likely to meet the criteria.
Furthermore, you need to register at a housing cooperative in your city to get a flat through social housing. Check woningcoperaties.nl for a housing cooperative in your region or check with your municipality. If you move to Utrecht, check Jebber for social housing specialised for starters and young professionals. Usually, you’ll pay around €30 registration fee and another €10 a year for your membership. Please bear in mind that most cooperatives handle a waiting list (sometimes up to 20 years!) and it might take a while before it’s your turn. Moreover, you must be aware that communication around social housing will most likely be in Dutch.
- Check if you are entitled to huurtoeslag. If you manage to find a place on your own and the rent is too high in comparison to your income, you might be entitled to rent benefit (huurtoeslag). To be granted this benefit, multiple criteria must be met. Conditions are i.a. your level of income, the amount of rent and whether the apartment you are renting has its own entrance (door). Most housing ads state if the apartment is suitable for rent benefit (Huurtoeslag mogelijk). So it might be clever to include this criterion in your search.
If the housing options above don’t work out for you, consider the following pricier alternatives:
- Engage a real estate agent (makelaar) and subscribe for the newsletter on their website. You don’t necessarily have to engage a real estate agent right away. Most real estate agents offer the possibility to subscribe for a newsletter on their site. You’ ll only pay if you want to react to a suitable vacancy.
- Hire a rental housing agency (IamExpat offers a pretty complete list of Dutch rental agencies).
BE AWARE that there are a lot of scammers on the housing market taking advantage of your situation. Don’t pay anything until you got a signed contract! If it seems too good to be true, it might be. Read more about it in Mathilde’s story.
Amongst students, shared housing is pretty popular. It is pretty common to organise group viewings (hospiteeravond). Therefore, it might be recommendable to arrive a couple of days or even weeks before Uni starts. However, don’t panic if you don’t succeed in finding suitable accommodation before you arrive in the Netherlands. Consider temporary solutions and use your network once you moved to the Netherlands. The beginning of the semester is always the busiest period on the housing market. Especially in the summer, a lot of new students are looking for a place to live. So even though it might seem hard at times, don’t give up and sooner or later you’ll be the lucky one.
- Try student housing. Student housing associations like SSH and DUWO offer rooms for international students. Also, check the website of your university since most of them offer student housing for their (international) students. However, spots are often limited, and there might be a waiting list. Therefore, it’s best to apply as soon as possible. Be aware, that you might have to pay a fee to use their services.
- Check common housing websites. Amongst students, the website Kamernet is quite popular and is frequently used to share and find available rooms. Since shared housing is common amongst students, Kamernet is a good place to start your search. Other websites you could check are Pararius (free of charge), Esteon, Direct Wonen and Funda (mainly for buying a house but it also has offers for rental spaces). You should also try websites which are specialised in expat housing, such as Holland2stay or StuWorld.
- Check facebook groups. Your network can help a lot in finding a place to live. Spread the word on social media and spam every facebook group you can think of. There are multiple facebook groups for students from different universities and different cities. Search on Facebook on “kamer huren in insert your city” or “appartement huren in insert your city”, join the groups and drop your request. Examples are International Students in Amsterdam, Erasmus Amsterdam 2019/2020, Woonruimte Aangeboden / Gezocht (Utrecht), Woonruimte Aangeboden / Gezocht (Eindhoven) and many more.
- Consider temporary solutions. It is a lot easier to find a place when you already stay in the Netherlands and had some time to network and meet people. Considering a temporary solution like The Student Hotel or Hotel Casa in Amsterdam (website in Dutch) or rooms which are sublet for a limited period might be a good idea. Also Airbnb sometimes offers cheap semi-short stay options.
- Check if you are entitled to huurtoeslag. If you managed to find a self-contained apartment you might be allowed to rent benefit (huurtoeslag) since the rent might be too high in regards to your income. Next to your level of income, other conditions, like the amount of rent you pay and your nationality, apply. If you plan to apply for rent benefit check the conditions beforehand and read the housing ads carefully. Most of them state if the apartment is suitable for rent benefit (Huurtoeslag mogelijk).
If you consider spending a bit more for your housing, scroll up and check the options listed for people who come to the Netherlands for work.
BE AWARE that there are a lot of scammers taking advantage of your situation. Don’t pay anything until you got a signed contract! If it seems too good to be true, it might be. Read more about it in Mathilde’s story.