If you have not been allocated a room in student housing, here are some tips and links to help you find private student accommodation in Amsterdam.
If you have not been allocated a room in student housing, you will need to find one on the private market. Because the number of students in Amsterdam and other popular student cities exceeds the number of rooms available, this can be difficult and time-consuming.
Introduction to Amsterdam’s private student housing
The student union LSVb reported in 2017 that almost three-quarters of students who carried out online checks on their rent levels found their bill too high. On average, students found they were being over-charged by some €55, which increased to €100 in Amsterdam Utrecht.
Rent levels for single rooms are restricted by certain conditions, mostly depending on size and facilities offered. Extra points are given, for example, if a room has central heating, a private bathroom or a kitchen, while points can be deducted for things such as cooking bans or sharing a bathroom with more than eight people. From these points, a rental level is assigned.
The government thus provides online information (in Dutch) where renters can check the assigned rental value of their rented property, and contest a reduction if they are paying higher rent. Private landlords are typically most likely to overcharge but housing cooperations are also at fault, so it pays to undertake a rental check before signing any lease when renting in the Netherlands.
Tips to find a student room in Amsterdam
The following tips may assist you for the housing research when looking for a room:
- The ASVA Student Union provides general information on renting a room in Amsterdam, and also acts as a mediator between students and landlords.
- Amsterdam’s International Student Network (ISN) has a ‘live and work’ forum where you can place an ad if you are looking for a room or roommate.
- The SRVU is a student union based at the VU University Amsterdam, of which UvA students can also become members. The SRVU offers the same student/landlord mediation service as ASVA.
- The Foreign Student Service provides international students with assistance in finding accommodation.
- Kamernet.nl is a website with extensive online room listings, on which you pay in order to be able to contact the landlords of rooms listed (basic subscription about €20). Once you have contacted a landlord, no further commission is charged.
- Amsterdam’s Steunpunt Wonen (ASW) provides useful information on housing in Amsterdam at www.huurders.info.
- Students for Students provides listing of rooms owned by private landlords.
- Direct Wonen Huren is a commercial agency that offers housing in a higher price category.
- StudentenWoningWeb is a student housing website run by the three housing corporations De Key, Duwo and Ymere. This site works on a waiting list system, so if you are going to stay in Amsterdam for longer than a year, register at the beginning of your stay so that you can accumulate some waiting time by the time you need to look for housing for your second year. Registration costs EUR 37 (for eight years). See www.studentenwoningweb.nl, or if you have questions send an email to [email protected].
- Kamers.nl has a message board where students can post a free message if they are looking for a room, or if they have a room they would like to rent. Students that are interested in a particular room need to subcribe (around EUR 20 per month) in order to contact each other.
Commercial agencies and private landlords
The student housing scene in Amsterdam isn’t pretty. While some are lucky enough to be allotted dormitory rooms, there aren’t enough to go around and the situation with private rentals is pretty much the same. To make things easier, start the search for a place to live early, know what to expect, and who can help you along the way.
The ASVA and SRVU are the only housing agencies in Amsterdam run on a non-profit basis. All other room agencies in the city are commercial businesses, allowing them to capitalise on the housing shortage. All commercial housing agencies must be registered with the municipal authorities and are allowed to charge a reasonable registration fee. If they fail to offer you a house or room within four months, you are entitled to a refund, but if they succeed, they charge a commission when you sign the lease. Legally, this must be a reasonable fee, and should usually not exceed more than one month’s rent. Furthermore, expect to pay contract-fees (EUR 200) and deposits (usually two months’ rent).
International student can also find rooms on the private market by checking local papers and advertisements in grocery stores. Before going to look at a room, prioritise what you want in regards to price, location, size, etc.
Things to look for when flat-hunting in Amsterdam
During the viewing, look carefully at the condition of the room. Check for proper insulation, possible mould/water damage, signs of vermin, and the facilities available – heating, kitchen, bathroom, etc. – to determine if it meets your needs. Unfortunately, untrustworthy landlords are common, so do not go to a viewing alone, and do not pay anything before you have made clear agreements in writing.
Because illegal subletting of social housing is common, always confirm that you will be able to obtain an official contract, allowing you to register at the local municipality.
You should always be very careful when you apply to a commercial agency or rent a room from a private landlord. If you have questions, you can visit the Amsterdams Steunpunt Wonen (ASW) office for information and advice.
Housing raffle and bike sales
The ASVA Student Desk, a non-commercial agency that operates on a raffle system, provides information on finding a room in Amsterdam and offers rooms to students on a weekly basis. Their method is completely non-discriminatory and there are no waiting or priority lists. The rooms available in the raffle are posted weekly on their website and participants must be ASVA members.
Also, the Student Desk holds a bicycle sale every Thursday around 12:30pm, where members who have registered to attend can buy a bicycle for the cheap price of EUR 60. You can also turn to ASVA for free legal advice if you have legal problems during your stay in Amsterdam. ASVA also has a guide on studying in Amsterdam for international students, which you can pick up for free at the Student Desk.T
The SRVU also started a bicycle sale, where members can buy bikes for EUR 60 every Monday from 12.00pm to 2.00pm.
Contents insurance for student housing
Once you’ve found your new student digs in Amsterdam, it’s important you protect your belongings. Contents insurance can help protect you against burglaries, unexpected damage, and more. This gives you peace of mind and the headspace to focus on what’s important: your new life in Amsterdam. Contents insurance providers in the Netherlands include:
Not sure which provider is right for you? You can compare home contents policies quickly and efficiently using a reputable price comparison website such as Pricewise.
Non-commercial housing agencies / free information
ASVA Student Union
For legal advice, email [email protected] (include your phone number).
Amsterdams Steunpunt Wonen
For legal advice call +31 (0) 20 598 9424 or e-mail [email protected].