Accommodation in the Netherlands
Universities in Holland do not offer international students the option of on-campus accommodation. Therefore, once your selected university approves your study application, approach its international office. Every institution has its own international office. You will receive help in the form of relevant guidance regarding available accommodation, as well as, reservation forms.
You will benefit if you apply early and even enquire about housing facilities well in advance. It does not matter if you are in the Netherlands for a preparatory course, short-term course, bachelor's/master's degree. You will receive all the help you want during the first year of study.
Holland's universities have friendly agreements with housing agencies and housing corporations in diverse areas. They are willing to allot a certain number of rooms to students traveling from overseas every year. However, after six/twelve months, you would do well to seek your own accommodation. Browse various 'Dutch' websites, local papers, and advertisements placed at grocery stores.
You may opt for any of three kinds of rooms. One is akin to an apartment style, wherein a couple or three students share it. All of you will have to share the bathroom facilities, living room and kitchen too. However, each of you will have your own bedroom.
The second type of accommodation refers to a private bedroom with its private bathroom. You will only have to share the living area and kitchen with the other students residing on the same floor. The third option is the most inexpensive one. Here, everything is common amongst all the students residing on the same floor, barring your private bedrooms.
Do not opt for a room without taking a close look at its condition. The insulation, heating, bathroom facilities, possible water damage or mould, signs of vermin, etc. Not all owners of private property or commercial agencies are trustworthy. Take an experienced person with you, for the viewing.
You will have to shell out anywhere between €300 and €600 for a room every month. Check out if charges for electricity, television, telephone, collection of rubbish, municipal taxes, gas, Internet, etc, are included in, or excluded from, the rent. The rental contract may be for six/twelve months. Go through it carefully, perusing all the rules and regulations to be followed.
A fully furnished room will include even the Internet. If unfurnished, just visit shops offering second-hand and affordable furniture. Sometimes, a house owner is kind enough to arrange for pick-ups at the international airport. Sometimes, this person even helps you with administrative procedures associated with studies and accommodation.
Sometimes, males and females share the same accommodation. If this kind of arrangement proves problematic, approach the house owner, accommodation coordinator or housing officer. Regardless of whatever room you opt for, ensure that you receive an official contract. You must be able to register at the local municipality, since your particular quarters may be illegally sublet.
If your income is low, visit the Dutch Tax Office. Fill in an application for rent benefit. This will excuse you from paying municipal taxes.
Cost Of Living
You will have to bear all kinds of expenses when you opt to study in the Netherlands. The most important ones relate to tuition fees. The student relations department of the particular university will be able to let you know the exact estimates. Costs vary in accordance to the selected university and program of study.
For instance, a bachelor's program may cost anywhere between 6,000 and 17,000 Euros per annum. A master's degree may cost anywhere between 8,000 and 30,000 per year. This is specifically for non-EU/EAA students. The others may find the tuition fees a bit lower.
Merely paying tuition fees will not suffice to complete your course. You will need to purchase books, readers, etc, too. Do set aside around 300 to 700 Euros per year for these additional expenses. If you receive help in the form of student loans, grants, scholarships or rent subsidies, you may find the going much easier.
If you are living alone, the rent will be around 400+ Euros or so every month. If your partner or child is living with you, you will have to shell out almost 600 Euros per month. In case, you reside in student accommodation along with other students, you will have to pay almost 350 Euros each month. Accommodation expenses in Holland are above the international average.
Other Expenses Associated with Accommodation
No homeowner will allow you to step into your rooms until you pay an advance deposit. This may be a month's worth of rent, or even more. The owner will return this deposit to you, when you complete your tenancy. You must ensure that the condition of the rooms is the same as when you first took them over.
Sometimes, a previous tenant may have left furniture behind. You may retain it, if the owner and you come to an agreement about the price. Otherwise, you may refuse and look for more affordable furnishings elsewhere. There is no compulsion in this matter.
Other expenses relate to the usage of water, electricity, gas, Internet, disposal of garbage, etc. They may form part of the rent or be completely excluded from it. The monthly expenses depend upon the companies offering these services. They also depend upon sharing/non- sharing of your accommodation.
It would not be wise to pay 35 Euros or more every month, for public transportation. Instead, you may go in for renting a bicycle. A second-hand one will also do. The Dutch prefer riding a bike to using any other mode of transport.
You will need money for food and drink too. Of course, the expenses will vary, depending upon the kind of lifestyle you choose. It also depends upon cost of living in the city where you reside. However, you should be able to manage with around 170 or so Euros each month.
Some amount of money is required for leisure-time activities, healthcare and clothing. Maybe, you could set aside 1,000 Euros per month to cover these expenses.
Only students from EU/EEA nations and Switzerland can continue with their home country insurance plans in the Netherlands too. However, these plans must suffice to cover healthcare costs in Holland. If yes, the authorities will issue you with a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This puts you on par with Dutch residents possessing basic Dutch health insurance.
Dutch health insurance companies differ from one another. Every policy has a different monthly premium structure, services, deductibles and choice of healthcare providers to offer. It all depends upon the selected company. Request a Dutch-speaking colleague or friend to accompany and assist you.
The Netherlands' Government has made it obligatory to purchase basic Dutch health insurance even for non-EU/EEA and non-Swiss students. You may risk facing a penalty if you fail to comply with the condition. You are even more liable for punishment if you are studying on a paid internship or possess a part-time job too. Request the Social Security Institute to guide you.
You will be able to attain Dutch healthcare insurance by going through these steps.
Acquire a Residence Permit from IND (Immigration and Naturalization Service). Your submitted documents must be legal and certified. They include your passport, birth certificate and place of residence in the Netherlands.
Show your Residence Permit to the authorities at the local town hall. Every city has its own town hall. Register your name as a new resident in town. They will award you a citizen service number.
Use this number to attain health insurance. Do compare diverse healthcare packages. You may even go in for supplementary health cover packages if you wish.
Basic Dutch healthcare covers
- Visits and care provided by general practitioners
- Medical treatment provided by medical specialists (neurologist, cardiologist, etc) and surgeons
- Bills related to prescribed medications/drugs and specific medical aids
- Emergency care, along with ambulance services and hospitalization
- Emergency aid abroad, as long as this treatment complies with Dutch standards
- Special healthcare programs and population medical research
- Dietary advice
- Dental aid until the age of 18
- Speech-language pathology
- Pregnancy and birth care
- Physiotherapy for a chronic illness
- Occupational therapy
Sometimes, the basic package may not prove sufficient to deal with your specific health issues. Consider private health insurance. Private insurance companies offer special packages to international students. Some of them are IPS, Allianz, Aon, etc.