Finding a place to live in Amsterdam can be a challenge. Nikhef has a limited number of apartments for expatriates along the Carolina MacGillavrylaan which you can use for a maximum of one year. For more information, please contact Ed van Willigen of the Nikhef P&O (HR) department. Alternatively, there are many websites that offer accommodation in Amsterdam, several of which are listed below.
- Studentenwoningweb (student accommodation web): Lucky for us, this website also accepts PhD students. It is a collaboration between WoningNet (a social housing corporation) and housing corporations DUWO, De Key, Stadgenoot and Ymere. Registration costs €38 and lasts eight years. Housing is distributed on a basis of registration time, but several accommodations are distributed by lottery every week.
- Kamernet (chamber net, Dutch): Kamernet is one of the biggest commercial housing sites of the Netherlands. Its focus is student rooms with shared amenities and it features full-fledged apartments as well. Responding to offers costs points, which in turn cost money.
- Marktplaats (marketplace): The Dutch version of Ebay/Craigslist. Responding is free, but placing an ad costs money in certain cases.
- Expatriates: This website combines housing, item sale, community events and service information in one place. As the name suggests, its focus is on expatriates. It is entirely free.
Many more housing websites exist: Google is your friend here. Watch out though, setting up sites like this is an easy way to make money. Room prices easily reach €300 to €650 per month in a house where the kitchen and bathroom are shared between several tenants. Some people choose to go to a housing agency to rent an apartment which usually starts at €1000 per month, excluding gas, water and electricity. You then have to find someone to share the apartment with. Keep in mind that Amsterdam is an old city with many old houses, so not all apartments are suitable for sharing or even have three rooms. Housing agencies usually ask a fee of a month’s rent when they find an apartment for you.
There are strict rules concerning rent in the Netherlands. In Amsterdam, where accommodation is in great shortage, there are a lot of people abusing the situation by asking an enormously high rent. The huurcommisse (rent committee) is an organisation meant to govern the rules concerning housing: they have tools to check whether your rent is too high and solve conflicts between landlords and tenants. It’s also illegal to offer all-in rent: rent should always be split in an amount you pay as bare rent for the room and an amount you pay for water and electricity. If you think your landlord is not obeying the rules, check the website of the rent committee (Dutch). Wijksteunpunt Wonen (neighbourhood’s support offices, English) also offers help if you have questions or run into conflicts regarding tenants’ rights.