Finding a room in a shared house or apartment in Amsterdam is like finding a needle in a haystack. Not only is it ridiculously competitive, but it’s also incredibly time consuming. There are several lines of attack, and I’m here to highlight a few that you might not have thought about.
I was extremely lucky to find somewhere within a couple of weeks, but most people take about a month to find something, depending on your budget. The further out of the city you go, the cheaper it gets. In other words, if your budget is tight, don’t expect to get an amazing apartment on a canal in the city centre. It’s not going to happen. Of course, the higher your budget, the easier it is to find somewhere.
I would say for a shared place you’re looking at between EUR400-EUR650 (depending on the location). I don’t think you should pay more than 650 for a shared place, but that’s just my opinion. Take a look at this little nugget for more information on the living costs in Amsterdam.
Here is the comprehensive guide to finding a room
Join all of the facebook groups, and I mean all of them. A lot of people post their places on all of the facebook groups, but some only post to one or two. There are several:
- Rooms in Amsterdam
- Woningen te huur in Amsterdam
- Amsterdam Apartments 4 rent
- Amsterdam flat-hunting – find a team instead of fighting for rooms!
- Apartments for rent in Amsterdam
- I need a room! Rooms/roomates in Amsterdam
- Expats in Amsterdam
- Young expats Netherlands
Out of all of these I would say the best were Rooms in Amsterdam and Woningen te huur in Amsterdam – on Woningen te huur in Amsterdam, many of the posts are in Dutch and I think you definitely have the edge if you can respond in Dutch too, but I don’t think it’s 100% necessary
Tip: Try to respond as soon as the ad goes live – you have a much bigger chance of getting a response. If you’re using the facebook groups, make sure you write a comment underneath the ad once you’ve sent them a personal message.
You can also try writing a post saying that you’re looking for a room, but I found that didn’t get any responses by doing that, so you’re better off putting your energy on responding to people’s ads.
Get a one-month paid subscription to Kamernet.nl because there’s less competition, and you can search for several different things including price range, how many people live there, or whether registration is possible. This narrows it down, and you get e-mail notifications when people post a room that fits your search. You can then message the person advertising the room, and if they like what you have to say you’ll be invited to go for a viewing. I got a fair few responses from this.
It also enables you to put a call-out, and prospective landlords can contact you, which I did a few times. I got a couple of responses, though the places weren’t in areas that I wanted to live in – it’s definitely worth it.
It does cost EUR30 per month, and if you find a room within 30 days make sure you don’t forget to cancel your subscription because they have a recurring payment system.
Post in forums. This might seem futile, but it’s actually how I found my new place. I posted on expatriates.com with a post about myself in the ‘rooms wanted’ section of the site and granted I got a lot of weird replies, but I also got a few good messages. I wrote down a bit about me, and what it was that I was looking for, and my budget.
I also tried posting on internations, Iamexpat, and expatica but I got no responses from doing that – I guess it just depends on what you’re looking for.
Use your network. I e-mailed my whole office (there’s about 50 of us!) saying that I was looking for a room, and the amount of colleagues who messaged me when they saw something I might be interested in was pretty high. I also posted a status on my facebook page, which resulted in making contact with friends of friends who had a room to spare.
I also mentioned I was looking for a room on twitter, but this didn’t work. I got no responses and I think that’s because twitter goes so fast and tweets sometimes just get buried in peoples newsfeeds!
Check out this ZEEF page. I found it during my search for a room, and it has some really useful information on it. I took a look on some of the sites including Craigslist and marktplaats but I didn’t find anything that I liked there. Still, definitely worth a look
If you’re getting a bit desperate consider these options:
Go for somewhere temporary. There are several companies that offer apartments for up to 6 months, though many of them are for single occupancy only. I considered it, and then I changed my mind as I really wanted to share a place, and I had the luxury of time. You could also check out AirBnb as a lot of places will give you a discount for a longer stay.
You don’t have to be a student to stay in a student hotel. Just sayin’. There are two in Amsterdam that I know of. The aptly named Student hotel, which isn’t just for students, and Hotel Casa 400 (though for Casa 400 I think you do actually need to be a student).
You can book out the rooms in the student hotel for a set period of time while you look for somewhere else.
- Make sure registration is possible, especially if you’re just moving to Amsterdam and don’t already have a BSN number.
- Don’t get disheartened. It takes a ton of energy and motivation to keep going – chocolate and wine helps.
- Prepare yourself for a few ‘kijkavonds’
These are my tips. I hope they help you to find a room, and good luck with your search. I would love to hear about any other methods you’ve used to find a room in a shared apartment or house.