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Housing in Amsterdam- all you need to know

Are you moving to Amsterdam soon? Did you arrange your accommodation already? Our blogger Maria collected useful information you need to know if you are applying for housing through the university or on your own, together with some Dutch housing lingo! Super-useful for all new-comers.

Living in Amsterdam is lovely – the city is vibrant, always busy, there are fun events, and the people are great! However, there is one well known issue for expats, and that is housing. The housing shortage in the Netherlands is especially tense in Amsterdam, posing quite a big problem for international students looking for affordable accommodation. This blog discusses university housing and private housing and includes lots of useful and informative links. Hopefully, this helps prospective students find a room or apartment in Amsterdam with ease!

University housing

VU Amsterdam offers housing to all students who have been (conditionally) accepted and have confirmed their participation in the VU dashboard. This housing is spread across the city, is only offered for the 1st year or your respective study programme and is unfortunately not guaranteed for all applicants. You can apply for this accommodation if you meet the following criteria:

1. You have been admitted to an English-taught degree programme

2. You are a first-year student

3. You have a non-Dutch nationality (a dual citizenship of the Netherlands and another country is not eligible)

4. You are admitted based on a foreign diploma

5. You are not living in the Netherlands

Once you apply for housing and pay the housing fee, you will receive further instructions from the university (most likely around June). When the time comes to actually choose your accommodation, you will be able to book it on ROOM.NL based on your personal preferences, availability, and budget, and your application will then be uploaded based on a first paid-first served system. There are different room types available and monthly rent typically varies from €400 to €1,000. There are also different locations, such as Student Experience (private studios, close to VU), Uilenstede (shared kitchen, close to VU, lots of students), Cornelis Lelylaan (private studios), etc. In the unfortunate scenario where all rooms are booked, you will be placed on a waiting list.

Below are some useful links for VU Amsterdam housing:

Private housing

At the bottom of this section, you will find links of listed websites, organizations, and Facebook groups that offer rooms. Before that, here are some things to keep in mind:

1. Begin your search early!!! It often takes months to find suitable accommodation

2. Register with housing services like ROOM and Studentenwoningweb as soon as possible. These platforms are often time-based, meaning that the longer you are registered, the more options you will have.

3. Check whether the rent includes utilities!

4. Consider nearby towns like Zaandam, Almere, Haarlem, or Hoofddorp

6. Always check the descriptions – oftentimes there are gender preferences or income requirements

Useful terminology:

· Furnished/Semi-Furnished/Unfurnished

Furnished = Since the furniture will not be yours, you will need to be careful so as to not damage it.

Semi-Furnished = a fridge, floors, fresh paint = the bare minimum.

Unfurnished = no kitchen appliances, no washing machine, no floor, sometimes not even painted

· Inclusive/Exclusive

Exclusive = you will need to pay city taxes, water, gas, electricity and internet all on your own

· Kamer

This is the Dutch word for room. Usually, 1 kamer means it is a studio apartment while 2 kamer means it is a one-bedroom apartment


General advice

The location of your accommodation is quite important. Make you sure consider things like the distance from the VU, the distance from the center, where the closest metro station/public transport is, where the closest supermarket is, etc. Of course, also consider the safety of the area – for example, Amsterdam Zuidoost is one of the less safe areas in the city. If you use multiple modes of transport (i.e. bicycle, public transport, car, etc.) then check whether there is available parking. Overall, make sure you have a checklist for different aspects about your accommodation, but considering how tight the market in Amsterdam is, try not to be too picky.

Hopefully this information is useful to you, and although the process may seem tough, do not be discouraged as it is worth it in the end!

Good luck!


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