Housing in the Netherlands

The Netherlands is not the easiest place to find a place to live, particularly if you have a limited budget. Around half the country’s housing stock is rental properties, but much of that is restricted to low income households, making it highly sought after, particularly in Amsterdam. Your main housing options are as follows:

Rent controlled  |  Non-rent controlled
Flat shares  |  Student housing  |  Buying a property

Rent controlled housing (sociale huurwoning)

You are not eligible for a rent-controlled property if your household income is more than € 34,678 per year. There are very long waiting lists for rent-controlled places in many areas, particularly in the cities. The rent-controlled or social housing sector covers housing up to € 699.48 Much rent-controlled property is owned by housing corporations.

Non-rent controlled housing (vrije sector)

The non-rent controlled sector encompasses all rental property costing more than € 699.48 a month (January 2014) and is owned by both housing corporations and private landlords. They can basically charge what they like.
In Amsterdam, it is practically impossible to find a non rent-controlled property for less than €1,000 a month (excluding service costs and other charges), certainly in the city centre. If you are offered somewhere cheaper it is probably too good to be true.
For more information about your rights as tenant and about using housing agencies to find somewhere to live, visit www.wswonen.nl/english

Flat shares

Flat sharing is completely normal in most other countries but is only starting to take off in the Netherlands and is still complicated legally. Some landlords do allow it, but usually only if the lease is in one name. This means technically that if the person who signed the lease leaves, you may have to as well.
Some housing corporations have introduced a ‘friends’ lease agreement which allows multiple people to sign for a property.
Finding a flat share is usually done through word of mouth or social media and is often informal, so don’t expect a contract. Do expect to pay upwards of €500 for a flat share.

Student housing

Unlike in many countries, most Dutch students don’t live on campuses but in shared flats, fraternity houses and in housing designated for students. In particular Amsterdam and Utrecht have a serious shortage of student accommodation.
Expect to pay at least €400 a month and up to €750 if you opt for a student hostel or hotel.
If you are in the Netherlands on an exchange programme or for a short period, your university or college may be able to help you find somewhere to live.
The Study in Holland website has a list of tips and rental agencies who help students.

Buying a property

If you plan to stay in the Netherlands for at least a couple of years, it may be worth buying a property. The generous tax breaks on the interest you pay over your mortgage make it financially very appealing.
You will need to have a job and some savings. Find out more from our partners at Expat Mortgages, who specialise in advising internationals on buying a home.