Ouderwetse Hollandse trapgevel

Finding a new home can be an exciting but also challenging experience when you are moving to the Netherlands. Before you can start looking for your new home, it is important that you are well informed about the Dutch housing market.

To help you on your way, we will introduce the Dutch housing market and highlight some important matters which will hopefully help you in your search.

The rental market in the Netherlands has been tightening for years and this is reflected in the rental prices that have risen sharply. In the larger cities such as Rotterdam, Amsterdam, The Hague and Utrecht, the rents are the highest and the space is generally the smallest. It is therefore advisable to consider higher rental prices and less living space than you are used to in advance, so that you are not disappointed during your search.

The Dutch housing market offers a variety of accommodation types for individual residents, house sharers or families. The traditional Dutch properties in the city centers feel old and atmospheric, but are often known for their steep stairs, compact bathrooms, narrow rooms, and lack of outdoor space. The less traditional and more modern properties, which are more often located outside city centers, have much more space both inside and outside. It is ultimately up to you to choose which type of property suits you best, where you feel most at home and what fits within your budget.

There are two rental sectors in the Netherlands: the private sector and the social rental sector. Most internationals who come to the Netherlands look in the private sector because the social rental sector has long waiting lists and strict socio-economic criteria to qualify. When your search in the private sector has started, you will notice that properties are rented furnished, part-furnished, or unfurnished. It is advisable to agree with your landlord what the delivery will look like to avoid misunderstandings.

The average rental prices in the Netherlands are relatively high due to the unfavorable market conditions. To give an idea, below you can find an the average bare rental prices in the largest cities in the Netherlands based on 1 square meter in Q1 2022 (Pararius, 2022):

Rotterdam€ 17,10
Amsterdam€ 24,29
The Hague€ 17,10
Utrecht€ 19,55

Besides paying your monthly rent, you must also consider other additional costs. First of all, you will have to pay a deposit for the first month's rent, often amounting to one- or two-months’ rent. Secondly, you will agree with the landlord about the payments for gas, water, and electricity (utilities) and internet. It may be that your landlord takes care of the management of the utilities and that the costs are included in your monthly amount, or you have to arrange the connection of utilities yourself and pay the energy companies directly yourself. The same applies to the internet. Thirdly, as a resident you are obliged to pay annual municipal taxes, depending on the size of your household. The amounts vary from one municipality to another, but on average tenants had to pay around 390 euros per year in 2020.

To find a list of available rental properties, there are two major platforms you can use: Funda and Pararius (both available in English). Most rental properties are available on these websites and are often offered by rental agencies, who rent out on behalf of the landlord. If you are interested in a property, you will have to contact the rental agent preferably (or sometimes the landlord directly) as soon as possible after placement on the housing platform. Keep in mind that competition can be fierce, so you must react quickly and be flexible in your availability for a viewing.

You can choose to do your search for a home yourself or with the help of a rental agency. If you hire a real estate agent to help you, the agent can make the arrangements for the viewings, attend the viewings, and help you with the contracts. Since most rental agents have good contacts and a lot of expertise, it can ease your worries and increase your chances of finding a home faster. You could even rent a property in advance by means of digital viewings so that you can move into your home immediately after arrival. Do note that for the assistance of real estate agent you will have to pay service costs, which are often about one month's rent. Also bear in mind that the quality of the rental agents may varies and can be experienced differently by every home seeker.

HR International can put you in touch with our preferred broker in the Rotterdam area.

If you want to start your search for a house only after arrival in the Netherlands (by yourself or via a rental agency), you could choose to take temporary accommodation for a few months first. This way you will have more time to find suitable permanent accommodation and it might be less stressful. The larger cities in the Netherlands offer a lot of serviced apartments with registration options with the municipality. Note that short stay via a hotel or Airbnb often do not offer an option to register, which means that you cannot apply for a citizen service number (BSN) at the municipality. Once you have found a permanent home, it is often possible to register right away.

The EUR gets a discount at a number of short-stay apartments in Rotterdam. HR International can provide you with the discount codes to use when booking.


If you have questions about housing in the Netherlands, please contact HR International.

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