It is a real problem, yes. You’ve probably heard of it already: The Netherlands is becoming overpopulated. They say it’s easier to find a job than a house/apartment/studio/room, and trust me, it’s true.
Accomodation in The Netherlands tends to be expensive and the quality isn’t always what the price should provide. Especially in cities like Amsterdam, there is just not enough houses nor space for everyone, which has lead to a pricing bubble. An average room in Amsterdam is 800EUR. Yes, per room. And expect it to be old…
Utrecht has become in the last years also very much overpriced. There is a huge percentage of international students in the University of Utrecht, and the offer of rooms is just not enough. I have a friends who had to stay in hostels for over two months, to end up finding a room for 600EUR.
Rotterdam and The Hague are the next cities in the ranking. But the chances of finding a better quality-price relation is much higher here.
Sorry for all the bad news, but I had to make you aware of this, so that you can start using as much of your time as possible to start your search. Now, here is where to start looking!
Websites dedicated to finding rooms or apartments
There are plenty of websites to find a room. Normally, those room owners who post in one website, post in all the others, but it’s always better to check everywhere. However, some of this have premium versions, and you can only contact the owners when you have the paid account. Is it worth it? In my opinion, not. But it’s also not a huge investment.
*Tip: on your google searches, use “kamer” which means “room”
For rooms or studio:
For houses or apartments or studio:
For all the big cities, and many others, there are Facebook groups that are normally called “kamer in….”, but there are also groups with english names. Try searching for combinations of words with “your city + kamer + zoek” or “your city + room + find”.
Thanks to Facebook groups is where I found my room, and where most of the people I know found theirs. I think this is the most effective way, as you can contact for free at any moment, chat, share pictures of the room and so on. I advise you to keep track on a document of the people you have contacted already. In my experience, I ended up messaging so many people that I eventually forgot which person was renting what room.
Some Facebook groups in the main cities (there are more)
- Kamer huren in Utrecht
- Zoekt kamer Rotterdam community
- Find a room (mate) in Amsterdam
- Find a room (mate) or house in Den Haag
I have included a link to this website above, but it’s so common that it deserves it’s own header. Marktplaats is a second hand portal where most Dutch people sell/buy second hand stuff. You can also advertise yourself to offer services such as teaching languages or babysitting, and you can find as well apartments or rooms for rent here.
This is always a bit more pricey at the beginning, as agencies will charge you a fee to find you a room, normally between 200-400 EUR. However, it will save you a lot of time and problems. You can choose this as your first option to find accommodation, or try the other options first. However, if after a month you haven’t found anything, I recommend you to opt for calling an agency.
Good to know…
- Beware of scams. It’s very easy to be scammed on Facebook, but also on any of the other websites. Do not send any deposit until you’ve seen the house. If you are renting the house before you arrive to the country, ask the owner to skype with you from the house and give you a tour. I did this and it was not a problem at all. Don’t believe anyone telling you that they will leave the keys to a friend or neighbour because they will be out of the country. Even if they provide you with a copy of the passport. This has been reported so many times as a scam on the Facebook groups.
- Kijkavond: literally, “looking evening”. Don’t be surprised if the owner of the house or your potential future flatmates invite you to visit the flat for an evening with several other candidates. Usually there’s such a high demand for a room, that it’s easier for them to invite everyone at once to get to know each other better, and then choose the best fit for the house.
- BYOF: I just made this up myself, but it stands for “bring your own furniture”, and floor, curtains, wall paint… Yes, it’s quite common to rent an empty room. Dutch people are so used to moving that eventually they even move with their own floor and you may arrive to a totally empty room. This will require a bit of an investment at the beginning but it’s more likely that the rent itself is then a bit lower. And luckily, there is markplaats and lots of facebook groups to buy second hand cheap furniture (and ikea, of course)
- Registration: if you already started your search, you may have already seen some posts mentioning whether registration in the house is or isn’t possible. This means, some houses may let you register that house as your living address, so for the city hall (“gemeente”) that is your address. When should you register? when you are staying in The Netherlands for a period of more than 4 months. So, if you only plan to live here for a short period, don’t mind about registration. Otherwise, you should only find a place that allows you to register. Without an address to register, you cannot become a citizen of the city –> will not be able to receive your BSN number (social security number) –> be able to open a bank account –> be able to find a job. There are temporary solutions, but every city’s city hall (gemeente) works different, so you should check in your city.
More information about this here