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Tips on how to search for accommodation in Amsterdam

General search tips and how to avoid scams

Please note that the platforms and websites on this page can all help you acquire housing, but are not always certified/scam-free. Use them at your own discretion and be sure to take our tips on how to search for housing and avoid scammers into account; you can find the complete list below.

  • Tips on how to search for accommodation in Amsterdam
    • Begin early: affordable housing in Amsterdam is scarce, and it often takes months to find a room, so begin your search as early as possible. Do not wait until your visa or study enrolment is approved. If you wait, you might not find housing.
    • Expand your search area: consider housing in nearby towns, such as Diemen, Haarlem, Zaandam, Almere, Purmerend, Hoofddorp and more. Public transport in the Netherlands is generally excellent, and compared to other larger capital cities the commute time from these towns is very acceptable (i.e. < 1 hour).
    • Get social: Activate your social network and tell everyone you are looking for a room. Get in touch with current students and study organisations who might know of rooms that are opening up. Reach out to housing platforms, landlords, agencies, students, anyone who could provide you with help or tips; try to find people or organisations that are more knowledgeable on the subject and use their expertise.
    • Manage your expectations: Do not expect a room with canal view in the city centre of Amsterdam for an affordable price. Start with an imperfect room if necessary – it’s better to look for a housing upgrade than to have no place to stay at all.
    • Spread your chances: Don’t rely on one platform, listing or lead. Chances are you will go through a lot of rejections on different platforms before getting an offer. Also, do not blindly rely on UvA Student Housing to provide you with a room – if you choose to apply, you are participating in a lottery. Do not put all your eggs in one basket and do not be discouraged by failed attempts.
    • The ASVA Student Union provides general information about renting a room in Amsterdam and can act as a room mediator between students and landlords. They also provide guidelines on what to consider when viewing a room. For more information, please visit their webpage.
  • Avoiding scams
    • If something looks too good to be true, it probably is.
    • Do not transfer money before a viewing (especially via Western Union or PayPal). Always check the apartment and make sure the keys work, before handing over large amounts of money. If you can’t do this yourself, again, see if you can ask someone else to help.
    • Research advertised photos via google reverse image search.
    • Google the landlord and address. Always good to read some reviews. And look for a KvK-number (check their registration with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce)
    • Always ask for a contract. That gives you more security.
    • Be wary of illegal fees. Examples of illegal fees are: agency fees, disproportionally high administration fees or contract fees. A deposit of one or two months’ rent is usually required. This is refunded if you leave the property in good condition.
    • Be aware of illegal subletting, as this may affect your rights as a tenant.
    • If in doubt, check your rights. The support agency !Woon is specialized in providing legal advice.
    • The Dutch Student Union (LSVb) has a Housing Hotline. Here you can ask questions regarding housing and voice your complaints.
    • The website CollegeLife offers The Complete Guide to Student Housing, with a wealth of information on how to find housing, the typical anatomy of a rental contract, and also how to avoid scams.
  • Registration

    We highly recommend finding accommodation that allows registration at the municipality. In order to secure a BSN number (your Dutch citizen’s service number), you need to be registered at the municipality. You need a BSN number to obtain Dutch insurance, a telephone number, a bank account, or a job. If you move into a room where registration is not allowed, we urge students to only view this as a temporary initial solution, and to register at the municipality within three months after arriving in the Netherlands. For non-EU students, if you have not registered by the end of your third month, the IND will eventually proceed with the cancellation of your residence permit and you will need to leave the country.

Lists of other, third-party housing platforms

In contrast to our page of student housing platforms, this page offers several lists of websites:

1. Housing platforms not specifically for students

The first list features housing providers that are not specifically targeting students. They function similarly to the providers found in the student housing platforms list, but offer accommodations that are not specifically intended for students. They are certified agencies that are free of scammers, but are often pricier in terms of rent and/or registration fees.

  • Housing platforms not specifically for students
    • OurDomain
      Offers furnished studios or 2-person apartments. Sign up to get notified when apartments become available.
    • Socius
      A housing agency for mostly young people. Some locations are exclusively for students.
    • The Social Hub
      Offers fully furnished rooms with private bathroom and shared kitchen. You can subscribe to their newsletter to receive updates, news and offers.
    • Hotel Jansen
      An all-inclusive hotel aimed at short-stay accommodation for students and young professionals from all over the world. Fully furnished rooms with shared kitchen.

2. Platforms with room listings

The second list consists of platforms featuring listings for accommodations. Most of them are not housing providers and do not have accommodations under their own management. However, allocation of these rooms is generally not based on waiting time. This makes them a more feasible option for students looking for an accommodation on very short notice. However, some websites might display unreliable offers, so please be aware of potential scams. Do not accept room offers that seem too good to be true!

  • Platforms with room listings
    • Kamernet
      Offers a large number of rooms. You need to have a personal profile to respond to room adverts. They charge a fee for membership (Premium Membership 1 month: €34,-).
    • Hospi Housing
      Hospi Housing is the biggest platform for homestay in the Netherlands. They offer a free-to-use platform with hundreds of verified hosts and guest families. Hospi Housing does not charge any registration fees, you only pay a one-time fee if you find a room. Staying with a host or guest family will give you a soft landing in town and is the perfect way to get in touch with Dutch culture and language. Get more information and sign up through their website.
    • Roomplaza
      Offers flatshares for students. One time registration fee of €35,00.
    • HousingAnywhere
      An international housing platform for students and trainees. Rooms, studios and apartments are offered by verified private landlords and by outgoing students. Sign up here to receive an UvA profile and priority access to the listings. For more information contact vip@housinganywhere.com
    • HelloHousemate
      You can create a free profile to search and respond to rental housing listings. You can also sign up for “Housemate Connect”, a platform where you can find other people looking for housing and start looking for housing together.
    • KamerAmsterdam
      Offers rooms. However, a fee might be required to apply for rooms.
    • Kamer 
      Connects students with rooms, studios and apartments. Users can create a profile listing their specifications to receive email alerts on relevant properties.

3. Platforms for temporary accommodation

The third list concerns platforms for booking temporary accommodation, such as hostels and lodges.

4. Miscellaneous housing platforms

The final list is a collection of miscellaneous housing ad platforms.

Disclaimer

The UvA is not responsible for the content of any of the websites mentioned above and shall not be liable for any errors or illegitimacy on these websites. Check this external website and the information above on how to avoid scams.

Webinars with tips & tricks

Finding housing is difficult in Amsterdam. To help students who are currently on the search, the International Student Housing Office hosted a webinar on how to find accommodation on your own.

  • What to expect: a short presentation with general tips and tricks followed by the opportunity to ask your questions to the housing team and experienced student ambassadors.
  • What not to expect: a listing of rental agencies to contact. You can find these in the four drop-down lists above.
UvA Housing webinar - finding accommodation on your own
Webinar about finding accommodation on your own

On 22 May 2023, we hosted a webinar on what to expect and what not to expect on the private market during your search for accommodation in Amsterdam.

Recordings of earlier webinars