So, this is it! One of the scariest and most exciting parts about moving to the Netherlands is the chance to live on your own. For most of us, this is the first time we would be living without our parents/guardians and we cannot wait to enjoy that freedom. However, housing in the Netherlands is not always ideal and there can be many challenges before finding the perfect place to settle.
Even though preparation is the key to success, sometimes throughout our journey there are some things we may not be readily prepared for. If you have arrived to the Netherlands with no options for housing then you are at a major disadvantage as housing is a mandatory requirement for many integration processes in the Netherlands. Housing is also one of many absolute minimum resources necessary for long-term physical well-being. A traditional list of immediate “basic needs” is food (including water), shelter and clothing. Many modern lists emphasize the minimum level of consumption of ‘basic needs’ of not just food, water, clothing and shelter, but also sanitation, education, healthcare, and internet. Different agencies use different lists.
So what do you do when you’re in a situation which requires immediate housing? Unfortunately this a question that most locally registered dutch people find difficult to answer themselves. Government assistance is only available to registered citizens, but how to qualify for available help if you don’t have a registration address? Simply said, you can not.
Not all is lost as there is still alternatives available in the private market. Though costly, for individuals in this special predicament, private market housing is often the way to go for short term or immediate results.
Keep in mind that when looking for your first room on the internet in the private market, watch out for scams! If you’re already in The Netherlands, always ask for a viewing before settling on a contract and paying the advance. If there is a room that looks too good to be true, it probably is. Most of the time you can spot these scams when the listing includes a very elaborate description of all the perks and benefits for a low price.
Another red flag is when your prospective landlord requires money or personal information before your house viewing.
One last tip, if you apply for a student house or apartment and get selected for a viewing, prepare answers to some basic interview questions. Your prospective room neighbors will want to see if you are a good fit and if you’ll get along with the rest of the house members.
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We asked over 1000 students and young professionals in the Netherlands to recommend sites they have used. Download our Housing information booklet to see what they came up with. Our Student manual is also a good resource to have for every St. Maarten student studying or choosing to study in the Netherlands.