Costs of living

How much money you will actually need depends on your life style. We strongly recommend you to make a budget plan.

Experience has shown that students living and studying in Rotterdam spend approximately €1,000 a month. This amount is needed to cover daily expenses, meals, accommodation costs, insurance, study books etc. The estimate below does not include tuition fees and unforeseen costs, and should be used as a general indication of the costs of living in the Netherlands.

The costs for housing, for example, may differ considerably. Also, if you plan to travel during your stay, you will obviously need more money.

Examples of living expenses

Average living expenses per month

Price

Accommodation (furnished, including (shared or individual) utilities)€500-€750
Insurance€65
Books and study materials (may vary per study programme)€150
Daily expenses (food, drinks, clothes, going out, public transport, etc.)€350
Other (non-recurrent) expenses                                                      Price
Visa and residence permit fees (for non-EU students) €192
Bicycle (secondhand)€150
A number of items with their average prices                                                                                   Price
Cup of tea or coffee in a café€3.00
Cheese sandwich€4.00 
Beer€2.50
Meal in a typical student restaurant€12.50
Cinema ticket€10.50
Hairdresser (cut and blow-dry)€25-€60
Average prices for travelling to nearby European cities                           Price
Trip to Paris €35*
Trip to Brussels €30*
Trip to London €60*

* These are prices if you book well in advance.

You can convert these amounts into your own currency with the currency converter.

Further information about the costs of living in the Netherlands and related subjects can be found on:
http://www.studyinholland.nl/practical-matters/daily-expenses
 

Tips & know-hows

  • Groceries at Lidl, Dirk or Aldi are less expensive than the same products at Albert Heijn;
  • Keep track of grocery discounts, all weekly discounts ('aanbiedingen' in Dutch) are advertised on the websites of the supermarkets too;
  • Buy good but cheap produce at the nearby market every Tuesday and Saturday;
  • Make use of the sharp discounts of the ESN card;
  • Get a Rotterdam pas or Rotterdam Welcome card for sharp discounts on cultural activities in Rotterdam;
Groceries at Spar supermarket

Photo: find your groceries at the Spar supermarket on Woudestein Campus.
 

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • The costs of your accommodation depend on the city where you study, what is included in the rent and the arrangements made by the institution. Housing in Rotterdam for example is more expensive than in smaller towns.

    A room in Rotterdam costs between €400-€600. If you are concerned whether the asked rent is to high, don't hesitate to contact us.

    You can use the Rent Checker to estimate a correct price. 

  • Yes, there are discounts for student applicable for certain services. Many bars, restaurants, museums and cinemas give student discounts. Most of these ask for proof in the form of a student card from your institution. You should check in advance if a student discount is available.

    Especially for international students, the International Student Identity Card (ISIC) can provide some interesting discounts and offers on travel, shopping, museums and more, worldwide. Find out more on the ISIC website.

    Also contact ESN-Rotterdam in regard to discounts. They have a lot of sharp offers for you and can inform you about this in detail.

  • Spending approximately €150,- to €200,- on food per month is considered to be normal. That is, if you don't eat out too many times a week and do your grocery shopping not only at the higher priced Albert Heijn (but instead at Lidl or Dirk).

  • Doing your groceries at the weekly markets, at Aldi / Lidl instead of Albert Heijn, and paying close attention to deals and sales (compare supermarkets!) might be first things to consider. Bringing your own lunch and snacks and not going out for dinner / coffee can also be easy tricks to save some money. Are you already doing these things and still have financial issues? Don’t hesitate to contact our student counsellors, they’re here to help you.

    Find more information and tips about daily expenses on out 'Cost of living in the Netherlands' page.

  • This depends on:

    1. How long you are staying in the Netherlands;
    2. How much minutes/data you spend a month.

    If you stay in the Netherlands for at least one year, subscribing for a telephone plan would probably be the cheapest option. Most often it's not possible to cancel your plan within that year. Therefore this option is not interesting for you if you're staying in the Netherlands for only a few months. A prepaid sim card would be a good alternative instead.

    Do you want a telephone plan, but do you have no idea how much data and minutes you use a month?
    We recommend you to get a prepaid card first. Contact ESN-Rotterdam in order to get one. You can buy data/minute packages, depending on your needs. At the end of the month, you have a clear overview of your monthly usage and can subscribe for a telephone plan based on those needs.