Hello, and welcome to BAISmag’s The Student Diaries, a comprehensive-ish guide to moving to The Netherlands as an international student! Our first article is dedicated to something The Netherlands is infamous for: The Housing Crisis.
What’s the first thing you’ll have to consider when moving to The Netherlands? Housing of course! I hate to start this article off on a sour note, but interviewee Niamh’s “Oh my God, what a shitshow” best describes the current situation. Finding a place to stay will likely be expensive, time-consuming, and frustrating, a view shared by a Japanese student who couldn’t find housing for two and a half months even after they already arrived in The Netherlands. And even if you do end up finding something, it might not be a perfect fit. One thing you’ll definitely have to compromise on is looks, because in the words of fellow student Francesca: “Some of the houses can honestly be really ugly”.
Luckily, Leiden University is full of students who have been able to successfully avoid being homeless, and who have some tips to make your house hunt a little bit easier.
Tip 1: Start early
The most useful thing to have while looking for housing is patience, and lots of it, because you probably won’t get an apartment or a room on the first try. We recommend starting your search at least about two months early; that way you’ll have a sufficient buffer that won’t leave you scrambling for housing at the last minute.
Tip 2: Look into housing through the university
Leiden University reserves a limited number of rooms for incoming international students. Tyler, a first year student from the U.S. took this route, and said that despite housing being “expensive and limited to one year”, he’s satisfied with his decision overall. Do note however, that as of April 4th, the number of applications has exceeded the number of open spots.
Tip 3: Use a variety of resources
A key to being successful in the Dutch house hunt is utilizing all available options. In addition to popular housing sites like Kamernet and Pararius, consider looking through sites that specifically cater to students like ROOM.nl and Roomplaza (but, be aware that these sites require you to pay a sign up fee). Facebook and Whatsapp groups are also a good way to look for housing and get in touch with fellow students.
Tip 4: Beware of scammers
Unfortunately, not everyone is sympathetic to your situation, and there are countless scammers waiting for any opportunity to part you from your hard earned money (especially on Facebook). Remember to never talk to anyone if you can’t verify their identity, and to never sign a contract or put down a deposit until you have seen the place in person.
Feeling overwhelmed? Don’t worry! Finding housing is by far the hardest part of moving, but once you find something, the rest of the move should (mostly) be smooth sailing. If you’re curious about Dutch weather, making friends, or are itching for insider tips about The Netherlands, make sure to stay tuned for our upcoming articles.
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