Over 50,000 students might not be able to find housing from 2024

We all know that the Netherlands is struggling with a housing shortage. But one group of people that’s suffering from this — and will continue to suffer in the future — is often not talked about: students. 

Last year in autumn, there was a shortage of housing for 22,000 students. In the academic year 2024-2025, this number is expected to more than double, reports Trouw.

It gets even worse. The Netherlands is planning to build 18,000 new student residences up to the year 2024. However, “only if they are actually built can the shortage be limited to 50,000 even in the quietest time of the year,” says the director of student housing knowledge centre Kences, Jolan de Bie. That doesn’t sound very reassuring now, does it?

More students trying to find housing this year

The number of students looking for housing this academic year will already sharply increase, according to Kences’ expectations. 

Why? In addition to first-years, there are also all the second-years and students from abroad who spent the past year stuck behind their computer screens — and who are now keen to finally live the student lives of their dreams. 💃

Growing student numbers

The number of new students, however, will only go up. According to figures released by the Dutch Ministry of Education, the Netherlands will see 103,000 more students at colleges and universities in the year 2024-2025 than previously expected. 

Students from outside the Netherlands significantly contribute to these numbers. Especially those from within the EU are expected to choose the Netherlands for their studies more often than before — and we have Brexit to thank for that. 🙃

What do foreign students make out of this?

As you might have already guessed, students from abroad are likely to lose out the most on the growing student housing shortage. 

This is not only because they’re not able to travel back and forth between their parents’ home and their university until they find a room, but also because — let’s be honest — the Dutch housing market is a total nightmare for international students.

For every room suitable for an international, there are at least 100 other rooms that want “Dutch speaking only” and “no internationals” — or at least that’s what it feels like when you search for a room as an international student, anyway.

This is why some Dutch universities are going as far as to advise foreign students without housing to look for a study elsewhere — yep, you may need to choose your university based solely on whether you’ll have a roof over your head. ☔️

What do you think of this situation? Should the Netherlands do more to tackle the student housing shortage? Tell us in the comments below!

Feature Image: joyfull/Depositphotos

Jana Vondráčková 🇨🇿
Jana Vondráčková 🇨🇿
Originally from the Czech Republic, Jana moved to the Netherlands for her studies. She fell in love with the local biking culture, and you’ll see her drifting through the streets of Rotterdam on her pink bike even in the worst possible weather (think rain, snow, hail, or all three). Besides advocating for Rotterdam as the best Dutch city, she likes to wander around with a camera in her hand.


  1. It is horrendous here. I have three children dual nationality British/Dutch. Pre Brexit my first two schooled in NL Uni in U.K. with housing absolutely not an issue. My third child has decided to study here and has been searching for accommodation for months. There are many scams, FB is a minefield, interviews are ridiculous and not geared towards the international student and the advised sights kamernet etc useless: no one gets back to you! I feel so sad for these students who are eager to start the next stage of their lives and particularly this years intake after 18 months of Covid are faced with so much uncertainty and unnecessary stress when they should be filled with excitement and enthusiasm. Come on NL sort this problem NOW!

  2. Surely students must be remaining to live in their parental homes?
    I’m Canadian born because my parents had to immigrate in 1950, post WWll mainly due to no housing availability, after being married.
    It appears housing continues to be a major problem in the Netherlands.

  3. The situation with finding accommodation for international students in the Netherlands is desperate. There are no clear rules and system. The most universities do not commit to the problem and leave children aged 18, 19 to face absurd situations that threatened them with homelessness. Scams, sites and real estate agencies, which are just a system for taking money, lack of adequate feedback from landlords … If the problem with student accommodation is not resolved soon, I think that this international environment that universities are proud of it will not be so international in the near future. Everyone has a chance for quality education without stress where to live.

  4. Hello everybody. Maybe you all know stories of people looking for accommodation. I only want to share mine.

    “Desperation” is a word so often repeated by students looking for accommodation that it has started to lost its meaning. It now looks like an exaggeration, a poetic license. We keep receiving e-mails from our universities inviting us to start up weeks and activities, asking us to check our schedule, congratulating us for this new exiting experience. I read them from my temporary caritative accommodation on another city in the Netherlands, 2hrs away from my University. Next week I will move to an AirBnB until October 1st. What if I do not find any accommodation by then? Probably I will resign from my studies and go back to my country.

    Agencies don’t want to rent anything for students. I woke up early today to call them. More than twenty calls in my phone, only one company allowed me to send a request, with no security that it will be answered back. My messenger is filled with messages to absolute extrangers stating with “Hello! My name is Juan. I’m a master’s student looking for accommodation…”. Most of them, of course, are never replied back. Most of those that are replied back are scams sent by blank facebook profiles asking for your personal data. I am now used not to get too excited when I see a reply.

    I subscribed to a page so I can look for housing online. I paid for quite an expensive membership. I spent one full day replying to more than 50 ads. Some of them rejected me because I am a not a woman, or because I do not have a job, but the most of them still remain unreplied…

    This is not the first time I look for a flat. I lived in two different countries, and have been living in shared flats for 4 years. I left everything behind to come here to study. I left my life in Madrid, my flat and flatmates, my friends, my partner. I came here because I wanted to grow as a person and as a professional. I worked hard to pass the entrance exams, and I spend much time preparing myself academically for this moment. Now I find myself in the middle of nowhere, with no clue of what will my future be for the next months, or for this year.

    Now after I took this break, I will go back to crave my email, Facebook and the internet to see if I can catch something… anything. Hope this comment has at least shed some light on what “desperation” means to us students who look for accommodation. If there is any other student reading this, as many rejection automatic responses say, but I mean it sincerely “I wish you good luck in the search of accommodation”. If you are considering to come to the Netherlands to study and you do not have an accommodation secured, consider it a second time.


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