Living in the Netherlands

Living Costs

The cost of living is the main expense involved in studying in the Netherlands. But even here, the costs are unlikely to be higher than those involved in studying in the United Kingdom. Some cities are obviously more expensive than others, with Amsterdam being the most expensive destination.

Each month you are at university will cost you approximately the following amount:

Rent €350 – €500
Study Materials €50
Insurance €50
Groceries €230
Going out / sports €110
Clothes €100
Total €890 - €1,040 (£656 - £770)


Most students in the Netherlands live in shared student housing, just as they do in the United Kingdom. The size of such houses varies but most are shared by four of five students. The rent in shared houses typically costs between €300 and €500 (£215 - £360) a month, depending on size, location and furnishing. Some cities have real shortages of student accommodation, for example Utrecht is often seen as quite difficult to find accommodation, particularly at short notice. In Amsterdam there are approximately 75,000 students meaning that there is a lot more competition for accommodation than in smaller cities.

Dutch universities will often help you find a room. However, the provision of university accommodation varies dramatically from institution to institution.

Many Dutch universities negotiate with private landlords on behalf of students. In effect they rent a block of rooms and then sub-let them to students, meaning that you only have to deal with the university housing office. Dutch universities usually decide how many rooms they will need for the forthcoming academic year in June. If you apply for housing after this time you may not be able to find anything through this channel.

The housing office at a Dutch university will often charge for its services (in the case of Groningen this is currently €300, or £215) but this does guarantee you will receive the offer of a room. Once you have been living in the Netherlands for a while you will probably have no need of such a service but in our experience, British students who have moved to the Netherlands are usually glad that they took advantage of this service. Those students who didn't use the Housing Office have often had difficulties with accommodation but nothing too serious.

It is also extremely important to have an address in the Netherlands by 1st October.If you are not a registered resident by that date you will be treated as a foreigner meaning that you might have to pay international tuition fees (closer to €7,000, or £5000, a year) and you will not be able to access financial support as an EU student. This is never a problem for British students but it does mean that landlords can push up the rent for really bad rooms as students start to get desperate.

As with universities anywhere on the planet, once you have decided where to go, take steps to get your accommodation sorted out as soon as you can and you will be fine. Leave it to the last minute and you might be in for a bumpy ride.

Health Insurance

Ordinarily you can survive the first year of living in the Netherlands with a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) from the British government. If you work, you will need full health insurance. The cost of this insurance is usually around €90 (£65) a month but you can claim back around €70 of this.