ACCESS NL > Housing in the Netherlands

Housing in the Netherlands

Choosing where to live can be a headache, adventure or nightmare – depending on your feelings about the subject. Finding a place to live when you are unfamiliar with the ‘norms’ but also neighbourhoods/cities can be a puzzle indeed. Procedures will differ, information could be in Dutch, and space – as a concept – may well vary from your own norms and expectations. Taken together, with the need to feel settled, and have a place to call home as soon as possible makes for a complicated mix. Ideally of course, one would have time to explore, find the right location (city/neighbourhood) – which suits you best – and then make a decision. This is not always possible though, as we know too well. Besides asking people you meet, colleagues, for their input – the answers to some basic questions will also help.

It is important to keep in mind though, that the Netherlands is one of the most densely populated countries in Europe with almost 400 people per square kilometer. Due to the limited amount of space, houses at the lower and middle income end of the market tend to be fairly compact out of necessity. How you see this depends on your experience in your own home country, or previous country of residence. Wherever you come from, it is essential to realise that the available housing will probably not be the same as you have experienced before. And, that distances between cities are not as large as you may psychologically expect them to be. Transpose a map of London over the Netherlands, and all of a sudden Amsterdam does not sound so far from The Hague. What to expect in this section:

Buying a house: factors you should take into account before buying a house or an apartment, the costs involved and details of the process. Important to know: how to make an agreement (as well as consider your rights and obligations arising from it), how to find a real estate agent and a notary, understanding their services and keeping their costs in mind.

Home insurance: these FAQs provide a description of compulsory insurance for your home and review considerations on whether you need to take out additional insurance for your home and possessions.

Social housing and housing benefit: information about differences in private and social housing markets, conditions to qualify for social housing and huurtoeslag (housing benefit).

Finding a place to live:  what to expect when looking for a place to live, types of housing and answers to the question – what is better — buying or renting? Here you can also find suggestions on how to find property, comparing neighbourhoods and information about short-stay apartments, hotels and student rooms.

Mortgages: information about how to get a loan for buying an apartment, restrictions on borrowing and types of mortgages, details about interests and repayment procedures. Include information about tax deductions and what happens if you are no longer able to pay your mortgage.

Renting a house: how to avoid scams when looking for a place to live, description of standard practices for renting (also through a real estate agent) and tenancy rights. We also provide information about various issues that may arise during your rental periods, opportunities to get legal advice and suggest how you can arrange utilities (water, electricity and gas) and other services (Internet, telephone and TV).

Just a few things:

  • Houses are smaller and more compact. However Dutch builders are skilled in maximising use of space
  • One bathroom is the norm. Showers are more common than bath tubs
  • Dining rooms are a luxury. Open kitchens or shared living/dining rooms are the norm
  • Kitchens generally have four gas-ring stoves with a microwave and fridge. Ovens are not always standard
  • Washing machines and dryers are often located in a kitchen or bathroom
  • Garages tend to be used as storage space
  • Parking is often on the street, and in many neighbourhoods require a permit

For the most recent review/update of FAQs related to Housing we thank: ACCESS Volunteers – Priyanka Dharmaseeian and ACCESS Partner – Tulip Expat Services.