Finding housing is not easy, but essential for all staying for 4 months or longer. You are legally obliged to register a valid Dutch address (no hotel!) at your municipality, and only then get a Citizen Service Number in Dutch: ‘BSN’) that is essential to live here. This is especially the case for non-EU holders of a residence permit, who cannot even open a bank account here without this BSN.


In and around Rotterdam there is lettable accommodation available on the private market, but it comes at a cost... (also see Cost of living in the Netherlands for average rental prices). Experience has taught us that, if you look hard and focus on more than one agency, it is possible to find a house or apartment in a Dutch city or village. Your budget and your choice of location play an important part in this process.

Most properties that are to let (both furnished and unfurnished) are handled by real estate agents but owned privately. The use of gas and electricity is usually included in the rent (but not always). Telephone and internet contracts must be made with your local utility office. Read more in our utility section. Your landlord should provide you with a contract. Be careful as to how much notice you will be required to give before terminating the tenancy agreement. If, upon leaving, you give insufficient notice your landlord may not return your deposit. Be aware of landlords that ask you to wire money to a “Money Transfer Agent” (such as Western Union or GWK), because they could be frauds; money should always be transferred to a Dutch bank account. However, problems of this kind are the exception rather than the rule.

To find information on the workings of the general rental system, on rental regulations and on tenant rights, visit the website of the Dutch Government.


Buying is an option but one should take into account the rather volatile real estate market developments and rather tight financing options. Furthermore, the costs associated with buying a house (e.g. the fees of a notary public, bank or realtor) might accumulate to approximately 10% of the price and cannot be financed with a mortgage. We would advise you to consult a housing specialist prior to buying a house in the Netherlands.

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