How to Find Student Housing in Amsterdam

Finding a place to live in Amsterdam can be terrifyingly hard. There is just not enough housing to cover all the people flocking to this great city for school, jobs, and the myriad cultural experiences. The city is definitely working hard to keep up (I’ve watched two apartment buildings built from scratch from my apartment window over the last ten months) but so far it’s still very tough to find a cheap place. So how do you find an apartment in Amsterdam, or the Netherlands in general?

Posted by Michael Anderson at Jul 12, 2017 10:06 PM

Studentenwoningweb

There are several ways to find places, but what I would suggest doing RIGHT NOW, is signing up for student housing at Studentenwoningweb. This will put you on a waiting list for apartments all over the Netherlands. Your chances of getting a place, especially very cheap or desirable places, go up the longer you’re on the list, so it’s important to sign up as early as possible. Your chances of getting housing through this site, at least in Amsterdam, are not super high, but if you’re spending 4 years here for a bachelor’s, you might end up with your dream room in an old canal house!

Modern Apartment
A lot of housing in Amsterdam is new, modern buildings, although this one, near central station, won't come cheap!

 

Your University

 

For your first year, your best bet is to first look very carefully through your university’s website for housing advice. Many schools will have housing set aside for international students who otherwise might have a very hard time navigating the sometimes complicated world of Dutch housing. The place I currently live is through my school, and it was a great relief to secure a place for a full year. Some schools have more rooms than others though. My school only had 8 rooms reserved for 1st year international students! Once at school, I could apply for another housing list, but until I arrived, I couldn't. So look early and often!

my apartment

Facebook

 

Many, many people find their room through Facebook groups. There are tons of housing groups on Facebook. Some are private groups that are related to your specific school, some are just generally for students, and some are just completely open to anyone. The best is to find one from your school (for instance there is one called CvA housing for my school) because these students are generally looking for people that they may have something in common with. The general housing groups can be hard for students because often the landlords want proof of income.

Ams Country
I have one friend who lived north of Amsterdam, and took a bus through the countryside to get into the center

 

It’s very, very important to watch out for scams on these Facebook groups. I know many people who have run across a room that looks great, only to get asked for bank account details, or to send money to a bank account outside of the country. Never ever send any personal information over the internet, and if at all possible, take a tour of the apartment, or if you can’t, try to find someone who can take a look for you. Also, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Expat Communities

 

Many of my friends also find rooms through expat communities from their home nations. Sadly for me, the US doesn’t seem to have a tight knit community here in the Netherlands, but friends of mine from Spain, Brazil, Italy, and Portugal have found accommodations through interaction with the expat community. Facebook searching your home country on Facebook or Google (Americans in Amsterdam for instance) is definitely worth a shot. Beyond housing, interaction with these communities can also be great for future business connections in the Netherlands too!

Jordaan
Many of my friends live in a large student house in this neighborhood, the Jordaan

 

Kamernet


Kamernet is another option. Sort of like Craigslist, it’s a place to look at rooms for rent. Like Facebook, it is often used by scammers, and it’s also usually in Dutch. Honestly I’ve never tried using it, but I know people who have used it to find their rooms. I know it is used quite a bit by the Dutch, so if you happen to speak Dutch, maybe it’s for you!

Finding an apartment in the Netherlands, especially Amsterdam, can be super stressful. I love almost everything about this country, but housing is one aspect I miss about the US. However, if you utilize all the different methods above, you’ll find something, even in the crazy housing market of Amsterdam. Also, like I said, many schools offer housing specifically for international students and many have more rooms available than my school. Finding accommodation is also easier (and cheaper!) outside of Amsterdam, so if you’re going to school in another city, you should have an easier time finding housing.

Ams Canal boat
Sadly, I won't have enough money to afford that canal side house or house boat!

 

Also, make sure to check out Study in Holland reporter Boeun's post about the pros and cons of living in a studio vs. a shared flat. Study in Holland also has other websites to check out, along with more general information about housing in the netherlands.

Let me know if you have any questions or comment below if you have more advice on strategies for finding a place in the Netherlands.


Posted by Michael Anderson at Jul 12, 2017 10:06 PM
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