Even if you are dedicated to your studies, it is not possible to remain at the university throughout the day and night – you need an actual place to live. Finding a place to live is hard enough for students in the Netherlands, and finding one that suits your needs can be even harder. What are some aspects should you take into consideration?
What to expect
Most students have their own room in the Netherlands. However, depending on where you are staying, you may have to share the living room, kitchen, lavatory, or shower with other students. Because demand for housing is so high, this is usually the best way to keep prices somewhat reasonable.
Important to realize about cohabitation
It is quite common in the Netherlands for men and women to live in the same shared house. If you feel that this is a problem for you, make this known as soon as possible. That way you can determine whether finding different living arrangements is necessary.
Do not forget about amenities
Especially in the bigger cities, the cost of living can be quite high. Make sure that you find out what everything is going to cost in advance. Do not forget to factor in additional expenses such as the utility bill (gas, water, electric) and the deposit. Amenities are not always included in your monthly rent. If you are enrolled in a course program, remember that most rental agreements run for at least six months or a year. Make sure that you factor this information in beforehand to help you avoid unpleasant surprises later on.
This seems a little cramped doesn’t it?
Because limited accommodations are available, do not be surprised if you find that the rooms that are being offered are relatively small. Unfortunately, little can be done about that because most students are already happy that they actually have accommodations.
Determining if a room is right for you
Before you ever start looking at rooms for rent, it is important you have a basic understanding of what you want in a room. What size are you looking for? Is location important? How much can you afford each month? If you do check out a room, be sure to check out its condition thoroughly. Make sure you check for signs of vermin, possible mould/water damage, and proper insulation. Look for available facilities, bathroom, kitchen, heating etc. to see if it has everything that you need.
Some important terms you should be aware of
- Borg – this refers to the security deposit. It is usually the same as a month’s rent. If you leave the room in good condition, you get it back.
- Douche – The shower
- Gedeeld – this means shared in Dutch
- Geslacht – this means gender. It can be man (man) or vrouw (woman)
- Gratis – Free or no charge (the Dutch love this word!)
- Huisgenoot – A roommate
- Huurperiode – Rental period
- Ja – Yes
- Maximale huurprijs –Maximum rent you would pay
- Nee – No
- Onbepaalde tijd – Undetermined period. The opposite of temporary
- Onderhuur – Subletting (this may or may not be allowed by the housing corporation. It is best to check beforehand so you do not end up with unpleasant surprises afterwards)
- Ook tijdelijke kamers – temporary rooms available
- Tijdelijk – Temporary
Taking care of business
Unfortunately, you may encounter an unscrupulous property owner from time to time. Therefore, it is important that money never change hands without having made clear agreements in writing. Because some property owner sublet illegally, make sure that you have the option of getting an official contract that you can use to register at the municipality. If you have any questions, it is also a good idea to check with university officials beforehand.