What to expect
Before you start your search for housing, you should know what you can expect. The information below may be intimidating, but we find it important to give you honest information to help you prepare. We urge you to take the housing situation into account as part of your decision to study in Utrecht.
⚠ Please note that if you have not found housing before the start of your studies, we advise you to reconsider your decision to study in Utrecht.
1. The Netherlands faces a housing shortage
The housing shortage in the Netherlands is a structural issue that affects all types of housing, including student accommodation. Finding housing in popular Dutch cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Utrecht is especially difficult due to the high demand. If you plan to study at Utrecht University start your search several months in advance to your arrival, even prior to your formal admission.
2. Finding housing is your own responsibility
In your home country you may be used to the universities arranging campus housing. In the Netherlands, universities do not own student housing. Instead, you are responsible for finding your accommodation.
3. Reserved housing is limited
Utrecht University reserves a limited number of furnished rooms and studios for eligible new international students. This housing is rented out on first come, first served basis. Because the Reserved Accommodation Programme does not guarantee housing, anticipate that you may not find housing this way.
4. Housing is expensive
Although costs for studies are relatively low in the Netherlands, costs for living and housing are considerably higher than in many other countries. Apart from the monthly rent, there are also several additional costs to keep in mind when you rent housing. It is important that you calculate a realistic budget before you start your search.
5. Searching while in Utrecht is not always easier
Although searching from abroad has its own challenges, it is not necessarily easier to search for housing while you are in Utrecht. Instead, it can lead to a very stressful situation if you arrive without housing. It is difficult to keep putting time and effort into your search once you started your studies. We therefore advise you to reconsider your arrival if you have not found housing.
6. Dutch student housing is largely informal
For typical Dutch student housing, existing tenants mostly search for a new tenant themselves without interference of the university, landlord or parents / caregivers. The landlord is also rarely involved with practical matters like cleaning and furnishings. Unlike to what you might be used to, you may have to arrange such matters yourself or together with your house mates.
7. Responding to offers is stressful and time-consuming
Finding offers and responding to ads takes a lot of time and effort. Due to the high demand, each ad receives numerous responses. It is not uncommon not to hear back when you send out messages, which can be frustrating. If you are invited to a (group) viewing, there are usually several other candidates you compete with.
8. Ads may exclude non-Dutch and/or first year students
When tenants get to search for a new roommate, they often take preference to senior and/or Dutch speaking students. Ads may therefore explicitly say ‘no internationals’ or ‘Dutch students only’. Student houses also frequently prefer a roommate who is able to rent for a longer period, rather than just one semester or one year.
9. You may move around a lot
All types of housing are in high demand, and you may have to settle for temporary options at first. Because of this, it is not uncommon to move around a lot from one temporary place to the next. Still, temporary options can be an opportunity to continue your search to a more permanent place to stay.