Student housing in the Netherlands

Student housing in the Netherlands

Students from all over the world come to the Netherlands to study. When it comes to internationalisation, universities in the Netherlands rank high. This is not a surprise since many universities offer a variety of courses in English.

Unfortunately, because there is such a high demand for student housing in the Netherlands, it can be quite a challenge to find a suitable place. 

Types of student housing in the Netherlands

Students can stay in various types of accommodation. They can choose to live in a student house or flat, which is a very common thing to do for Dutch students. However, students in the Netherlands do not generally live on their university’s campus.

Student house

The vast majority of students in the Netherlands rent rooms in student houses, which are privately-owned houses designed to host three to six individuals. Living with strangers and following the house rules might be difficult at first, but nearly all adapt over time.

Student apartment

As a rule, student flats offer private bedrooms and shared facilities (living room, kitchen, bathroom etc.). These apartments are a bit cheaper than student houses but usually host eight to 12 tenants.

University housing

Most Dutch universities offer student apartments and/or student houses through their housing offices or other housing organisations. Although both price and facilities are more or less the same as the privately-owned ones, university housing offers expats the opportunity to meet other (international) students and thus, quickly expand their social circle.

How to find student accommodation in the Netherlands

Due to the dramatic shortage of student housing in the Netherlands, international students should apply for a house or room as soon as possible. Here are some tips on how to find student accommodation in the Netherlands:

University housing

Most Dutch universities don’t have a campus. Instead, they offer student housing through various housing organisations. Make sure you sign up for a room as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. Prices may vary, depending on where you will be living and what type of room you will be renting.

Please note, some universities do not offer student housing, in which case you will have to find a place on your own.

Student housing corporations

There are many housing corporations in the Netherlands that cater to students. When you register with one of these corporations, you will (usually) have to pay a fee.

Also, since there is limited availability, you will be put on a waiting list. The people with the longest registration period will be invited to viewings, therefore, make sure you register as soon as possible. Rooms can’t be booked in advance and you will have to be in the Netherlands to go to these viewings.

The largest student housing corporations are:

Rental housing agencies

Another option is to use a rental housing agency in your search for a student house in the Netherlands as many have properties for students. However, when you work with rental housing agencies in the Netherlands, you might have to pay a fee.

Internet & social media

The Internet can be a big help in finding a house or room. And don’t forget to check out social media in your search for a student home because there might be someone in your social network who is looking for a roommate!


While squatting is illegal in the Netherlands, anti-squatting is allowed. Anti-squatters function as caretakers of empty buildings, protecting them from vandalism. It’s a cheap way to live, but it requires some flexibility on your part. 

Short stay student accommodation

If you are only studying in the Netherlands for a short time, you may want to consider short stay accommodation. Short stay hotels offer fully furnished rooms and often feature common rooms, free Wi-Fi and other student-friendly amenities.

Student associations and societies

Some student associations and societies (studentenvereniging) have their own student houses. You will have to become a member of the association to be able to live in one.

There are other advantages to joining a student association in the Netherlands, besides housing. For example, when you join a studentenvereniging, you will meet a lot of other (international) students more quickly.

Tips for international students

Here are some final tips:

  • If you are going to a viewing, try to take a friend with you. Not just for safety, but also because two pairs of eyes are better than one.
  • Never sign a rental contract without reading it.
  • Don’t pay anything until you have a signed contract. There are a lot of scammers out there, and they often target (international) students.

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