Looking to find housing in the Netherlands, but are overwhelmed by the rental prices? That’s normal. However, there are ways to seal the deal on a rental property and keep it cheap.
Before we begin our quest to help you find cheap housing in the Netherlands, there are two important things to know.
Number one, finding a property to rent, full-stop, is difficult — the market moves swiftly, and there’s a lot of competition.
Number two, renting in the Netherlands is no cheap ride — so budget well. You may be wondering then, what is the “cheap” in this article headline all about? Allow us to explain.
Cheap housing in the Netherlands: Does it exist?
”Cheap” housing rarely exists anywhere anymore. However, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you find an affordable place to rent in the first place.
So if you’re on a tight budget and you’re not sure where to look next, here are five top tips to get you started on finding cheap housing in the Netherlands — well, cheap-ish, anyway.
1. Avoid an unfurnished place
Apartments that aren’t fully furnished are usually cheaper than furnished rental properties, however, sometimes, it can pay off to get a fully furnished one if your budget allows for it.
One important thing to remember is that unfurnished in the Netherlands… literally means unfurnished. We’re talking about no flooring or light fittings, no basic furniture, and just some parts of the kitchen.
So, unless you’ve got some spare flooring at hand, do not go for an unfurnished property if you’re looking to save money, as it likely won’t end up cheaper at all.
If you’re lucky, you might also be able to buy furniture from the previous tenant.
You can negotiate for a price that would probably be cheaper if you were to source for furniture on your own — and they can avoid the painful process of trying to deconstruct and sell on furniture.
This method usually works out well if you’re on a tight budget but also want somewhere gezellig to call home. Plus, it’s a win-win for both of you!
If you are looking at semi-furnished rental properties, it definitely pays to look around and see what’s nearby. These properties tend to come with flooring, light fittings, and sometimes even a piece of furniture or two.
Once you’ve secured a place to rent, the next best thing to keep it cheap is to visit the almighty kringloopwinkel! That’s where you can furnish your entire apartment for as little as €200.
2. Stay out of the city centre
Sure, living in the city centre might be easier, but that’s why it’ll come at a premium price.
When trying to find cheap housing in the Netherlands, ask yourself, do you really need to be in the very centre?
You may find that a rental property that’s only 15 minutes away from the centre by tram is half the price, with only a small and easy journey attached. You can even get deals on the train to save yourself some money on the commute!
Also, if you live on the outskirts, you’re actually more likely to be near a supermarket and have easier access to free parking.
And considering how notoriously expensive parking in the Netherlands is, you’ll need to weigh up whether renting a place in the centre is worth all those parking permit costs.
Some taxes (even a dog tax!) might be more expensive in the city centre as well, depending on where you are, so you should take that into consideration too.
3. Stick to a smaller property
Do you really need that spare room? If you live alone, then chances are that renting a big apartment isn’t a necessity.
The more bedrooms the place has, the more the rent will be. If you think you won’t receive that many guests, then downsizing your expectations for a property is definitely going to reduce that rent.
Sure, it’s great to have a lot of space, but as long as you aren’t living in a cupboard under the stairs, or perhaps the narrowest house in Amsterdam, it may be worth the sacrifice.
All in all, it boils down to figuring out how long you’re going to live there and whether you’re going to be bringing babies or friends into the equation.
And no, having more space to party is not warranted if you’re on a tight budget and trying to find cheap housing in the Netherlands, as tempting as that may be.
4. Share a house with someone else
House sharing is a great way to save a lot of money on rent. It gives you some company, and for many people, your flatmates end up becoming your great friends (or enemies, who knows? 🤷)
It’s certainly a gamble, but it’s much cheaper overall, and you’ll still have your own space to look forward to.
When you look into house sharing, it’s also worth finding out about the tenants. Usually, they say if they’re professionals or students, so you can work out if the house is the right fit for you.
The idea of sharing a house filled me with dread, but I’ve done it a few times, and so far, so good. It’s no secret that it’s miles cheaper than renting your own place, and it’s a lot less lonely too.
5. Live outside of the Randstad (if you can)
The Randstad, which includes Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht, and the surrounding areas, are some of the most expensive places to live.
If you think you can make a living outside of the bustling metropolises, then heading to the east or up north will significantly reduce rental prices.
By far, the most expensive place to live is in Amsterdam, with rental prices soaring faster than in any other city. It’s to be expected, after all, it is the capital city.
We all know that finding cheap housing in the Netherlands is a task and a half, especially in this day and age with an ongoing housing crisis and prices rising in basically every sector.
Nonetheless, if you prepare well in advance, keep your options open, and budget generously, you’ll get there eventually. Veel succes!
Do you have any other tips on finding cheap housing in the Netherlands? Tell us in the comments below! 👇
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in March 2019, and was fully updated in November 2022 for your reading pleasure.