13 Oct Student adventures: the hunt for housing

homeless studentA homeless student. Image: freeimages

Searching for student accommodation is nothing different from trying to get a ticket for a Muse concert. Almost impossible. Thousands of people want one, but only hundreds of tickets are for sale. So you have to be quick! And smart.

There simply isn’t enough

In the Netherlands accommodation specifically built for students is available for only 17% of all students. The other 83% find shelter in other types of accommodation: housing with a landlord, a private rental or their parents buy them a flat. Some stay at home with their parents,  but there’s still a serious shortage. In the rest of Europe it’s not that different:

student housing provision rate

What you could do to find accommodation

You could try using your contacts to find a room. Maybe you know someone who knows someone that has a room available. Everybody has had a Facebook friend who changed their name to a variant with ‘searching a room in [some city]’. Alice is searching a room in Utrecht, Roy is searching a room in Amsterdam. I honestly don’t know if that actually works, but you could try! There are also different Facebook groups for finding accommodation.

In Amsterdam most students find a room via . But that’s a slow and depressing process. You can only respond to one room a week. And the person who gets that room is the one who is registered at that website the longest. You only stand a chance if you are registered since kindergarten, so make sure to do this as soon as possible! Preferably before you even started studying.


If, after this tiring process, you finally find a room, you are left with another problem: the rent. The good news is that the government gives you a rent allowance if you have your own front door and if your income is not that high, however the amount you receive depends on your age.

If you are not yet 23, you only receive rent allowance if your rent is under a specific amount. If you are 23, your rent can be higher and you’ll receive more allowance to cover up this difference. The amount you have to pay yourself will roughly stay the same, only your room is bigger. Well… sometimes. Too bad I’ll turn 23 when I’m done studying.

As a foreign student you might be surprised by the amount of rent you have to pay. But that is only natural: students in the Netherlands have the second highest rent in all of Europe (really). England is the only country where the rent is higher. And since we don’t receive student grants anymore, paying such high amounts only means a larger student loan debt.

Some advice

For international students this webpage might come in handy. If you suspect your rent might be too high, you can always check if this is the case. You might be able to do something about it. Check this article for more information. But please leave any tips and tricks for finding student housing in the comments!

So what can you do to find a room??

  • Keep your ears and eyes open
  • Register yourself at studentenwoningweb as soon as possible
  • Pray to God that you’ll find a room not too far from university

Cause if it comes down to statistics you won’t stand a chance.


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WTF marlou

WTF marlou

Mathematician and (self-proclaimed) masterchef.
WTF marlou

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