To live alone or not to live alone, that is the question! – Pros and cons of self-contained studio and shared flat

When you prepare your study years in Holland, one thing you spend most of time on must be choosing housing. When you choose the house and make a contract, most of the time, even in shortest term contract, you need to live at least half year. Therefore, choosing what housing system is very important! In this post, I will guide you whether you should choose live alone or live with others!

Posted by at Jun 13, 2017 03:45 PM


Did you receive the admission from the Dutch education institute? And are you preparing to come to Holland to start your exciting study years? That’s nice! But then… where should you live? Do you want to live with other people? Or do you prefer living alone? Both living in a shared flat and living alone have a good side and bad side. Let’s look it up now!


Living together

Good side

It’s cheap: Shared flat is definitely cheaper than living alone. As many students live together in one apartment to save money. It’s usually using one room each in an apartment and sharing the common area which is bathroom, toilet, kitchen, living room and storage. Of course it depends on what kind of apartment you get, but living 3-4 people together in one apartment is the most common.

In major student cities(except Amsterdam! Amsterdam is more expensive than other cities!), such as Delft, Rotterdam, Den Haag, Leiden… the shared flat rent can start from 300 euros (incl. water, electricity..), up to 450. It can be considered that it is too expensive when it exceeds 450 as a shared flat in these cities. There can be also rooms that are cheaper than 300, but those rooms are highly likely to be very small.

Backyard potluck dinner!
When the weather is good me and my housemates gather in the backyard, eat, drink and play games together!

You are not alone: When you arrive in Holland for the first time, living alone from the beginning can be lonely and boring. It’s different by house, but in many of student shared flats, the housemates develop a good friendship. To begin study years in new environment, this friendship can help you a lot to get used to the new life in new place. As all live in the same house, it is easier to eat, hang out, shop and party together. 

Bad side

You are not alone: Sometimes, having housemates can be annoying when you want to spend time alone. And also as you don’t live alone, a good maintenance of common area can be interrupted regardless of your activity. Cleaning house and noise issue must be discussed well enough with your housemates. Using common area also can be a slight inconvenience as in most of shared apartment as 3-4 people share one bathroom and shower. In the morning, using bathroom can be a little competition.


Living alone

Good side

You are alone: The biggest pros of living alone that you live alone. In this case, you can fully enjoy time alone peacefully. And there is no need to be stressed by noisy or dirty housemates as you are your housemate! Decorating the place, cooking something smelly or inviting many friends is also easier when you live alone.


In a self-contained place, it is easier to decorate the place as your favoru.
In a self-contained place, it is easier to decorate the place as your favour. Photo from The Waldo;

Bad side

You are alone: As you live alone, loneliness can be a great disadvantage. In a single studio complex, the communities between residents are not as strong as shared house community. If you are not good at enjoying time alone, living alone can be really boring. And also, all the living expense are on you. The items such as a vacuum cleaner, oven, shower curtain, light bulb, dish wash soap, garbage bags… can be bought and the cost can be divided within housemates if you lived in shared flat.

It is expensive: A self-contained studio is usually way more expensive than a room in a shared flat. Those studio’s cost usually starts from 550 euros (incl. water, electricity..) and in Amsterdam it can go up to 700 euros. However, there is a way that you can compensate this cost! There is a government housing subsidy for people who live alone. Living alone is defined as having your own kitchen and shower. The condition to receive this subsidy can differ by age, income and the rent you pay for your place.

Unfortunately, age under 18 can not receive this subsidy. The condition to receive the subsidy for those under 18 are either both parents passed away, being married or having a child. In this case the subsidy is given as long as the rent is between 231,87 - 409,92 euros per month and the income is below 22,100 euros per year. In this income the money you receive from your family does not count.

If your age is between 18 to 23, you can receive this subsidy. The rent must be between 231,87 - 409,92 euros per month and your income must be below 22,100 euros per year. In this income the money you receive from your family does not count.

If you are older than 23, you can receive subsidy when your rent is between 231,87 - 710,68 euros per month and your income is below 22,100 euros per year. In this income the money you receive from your family does not count.

This subsidy regulation is renewed every year and also different to the students who receive scholarship from the university or other organisation. And also, if the furnishing fee is included in your rent, you also have to calculate in different way as well. Sounds so complicated? You can look up the information here (Dutch).

You can also google about housing subsidy in the Netherlands and many university offers international students information about this housing system in Holland.

Hope my post helps you guys to prepare your exciting life in Holland!

Which house do you prefer? Leave the comment below!

Posted by at Jun 13, 2017 03:45 PM