Finding student housing in the Netherlands can be very difficult. Especially for international students! As ESN Twente, we are happy that we could reach you and offer some support. To help you find an offer that suits your needs, this page compiles information and resources available for international students at the University of Twente or Saxion UAS.
Both institutions also have their own housing web pages:
Your contributions towards this guide are greatly appreciated. For any questions, questions or suggestions, you can reach out to us via email
housing[at]esntwente.nl. Moreover, you can open a Pull Request to our GitHub repo.
Last update: July 2022.
Coming to a different country is confusing and challenging. However, it always helps to know your rights. Here are some general tips:
The Dutch Student Union ( LSVb ) offers the Tenancy Law Manual in English. It explains what to look for in a contract, what you cannot be charged for, what the maximum deposit can be, how housing allowance works, what to consider when moving out, and a lot more. You can find a download link here. (Status: 2020) You can also follow this Instagram account about Dutch rental law.
Do you have a specific question about your rights as a tenant? Then contact the Housing Hotline, a free, English service for all international students in the Netherlands. For any other legal questions, you can contact the Student Helpline.
When you plan to stay in the Netherlands for longer than 4 months, it is a legal requirement to register at the municipality within 5 days of arrival. If this is your first time moving to the Netherlands from abroad, you will receive your citizen service number (BSN) during this appointment. This number is assigned to you so you can apply for benefits, go to the doctor, or open a bank account in the Netherlands Find more information about:
Now that you know this: When you look for accommodation on Facebook, where scamming may happen, state clearly that you only accept offers which allow you to register! If this is not possible, there is a high chance that you will be scammed.
A note on scamming: International students are especially vulnerable to scamming. Under “How to get the housing I like?” you can find more information on how to scan offers for risks. There is a Facebook support group available here. Never pay a high amount of money before signing a contract and/or doing a viewing. When reporting a scam publicly (i.e. on social media), or interacting with a scammer, take care not to share any private or sensitive information. Apply some blur effect to screenshots.
The good news
On average, the prices for student housing in Enschede tend to be considerably lower than other parts of the Netherlands, where the housing crisis is felt sorely.
The bad news
The demand within the current housing market for (international) students is very high. Everyone is well advised to utilize all possible tools at their disposal. Moreover, take great care in the way you approach potential offers and anticipate on the potential language and cultural barriers.
Most of the accommodation for students consists of student rooms
This means you pay for your own room, while other facilities like the kitchen and bathroom are shared with your housemates. Rooms tend to be small, 8 - 27 square meters at most. The housing may be provided by a company, by a private landlord, or through an agency. In contrast to what you may be used to from other countries, the universities here only have a very limited influence over student housing through their partnerships.
The price for a student room usually range between ~250 and ~450 Euro, including utilities.
It is possible to rent self-contained studios or apartments. This is more competitive and, in most cases, more expensive. Expect to pay about 500 Euro at the very minimum, with very few exceptions. Prices, including services, may range up to over 1000 Euro. It is also possible, but very, very difficult, to look for an apartment or house as a group and split the price.
When looking at or asking for the price of an offer, make sure to pay attention to incl./excl. This is about whether the rent includes utilities (electricity, internet, gas…). So if you state your maximum budget, indicate that it is all-in (=including services). And when you look at an offer, check or ask what exactly is included in the price, and what is not.
Moving in our out of different accommodation is a daunting task. A great to contact when it comes down to handing all your sizeable personal belongings is Roland. He is a German Native and, known among Enschede’s Students as the ‘Transport Guy’, has helped many students moving from their old place to the new for an affordable price. Moreover, he is available to help with transporting (large) objects purchased via platforms such as ‘Marketplace’ You can reach him via his Facebook page Transport Guy Student Moving or on WhatsApp via +4915208554724.
For self-contained housing, you might be eligible to apply for a housing allowance (rent allowance, “huurtoeslag” in Dutch) to reduce the amount of rent you pay. Please refer to Chapter 4.5 of the Tenancy Law Manual for more information. You may also consult this website in English or the official website of the Dutch government (Dutch) to learn more about how to apply for housing allowance.
On the note of payments, you may be surprised to find that Dutch housing companies or service providers may automatically deduct fees (monthly rent, service charges) from your bank account, instead of sending an invoice. This is not an indication of illegal activity, but rather a common practice for companies in the Netherlands. Housing companies or landlords/-ladies in the Netherlands and Gronau will be very strict about receiving payments on time, and will want to make sure that potential tenants can provide the income to pay. You are well advised to avoid any attempts at negotiating the amount of rent, as that may give the renter a negative impression of you.
The best way for you to look for housing will depend on what kind of student you are, what you want, and what you are willing to pay.
Are you an incoming exchange student at Saxion?
Then you can apply for accommodation through Saxion. Inform your Saxion programme coordinator about your housing request before the 1st of May. The accommodation consists of furnished student rooms, which are located in buildings filled with other international students, close to the university. The monthly fee is around 430 Euro. Alternatively, you may decide to look for housing independently. In that case, keep reading.
Are you an (incoming) student at Saxion?
You may still apply for accommodation through Saxion. Please note that housing for non-EU students is no longer arranged automatically: All students need to apply. Alternatively, you may decide to look for housing independently. In that case, keep reading.
Are you an incoming exchange student at the University of Twente, and in need of a VISA and/or residence permit?
Then the university will arrange for you to select special offers on Roomspot. These are furnished rooms on the campus, made available specifically for students like you, and are inaccessible to any other types of students. The procedure for this is explained on this info-sheet. Alternatively, you may decide to look for housing independently. In that case, keep reading.
Are you a non-EEA student at the ITC faculty and in need of a VISA?
Then you may move into the ITC international hotel. There, you are offered a private room with a private bathroom and a living space, along with a kitchen that is shared with 13 other students. Alternatively, you may decide to look for housing independently. In that case, keep reading.
Are you a student? (regardless of institution)
The University of Twente recommends that all students create an account on Roomspot. The good news is that there is no risk of scamming, it is free for all students, and you can find many offers to respond to immediately. However, internationals are facing a disadvantage. Many offers on Roomspot are based on co-optation, a procedure that is explained further under “How do I get the housing I like?”. This video explains the background of Roomspot (2018). If you want to know about other platforms, keep reading.
Are you between the ages of 18 and 30 and in urgent need of housing?
You can try directly contacting the office of the SJHT (use the translation function). The SJHT is a local organization committed to providing affordable housing to young people with an income within a set limit. Their offers are typically available through Roomspot, but in urgent cases, they might help you directly.
Are you a member of ESN?
Then you can benefit from our partnership with HousingAnywhere! HousingAnywhere is an official partner of ESN and all our members (see membership here) can benefit from priority access and a VIP profile!
Aside from Roomspot, you may try to look for a room through Kamersite, the official housing platform of the Student Union of the University of Twente. These offers, again, are mostly from Dutch student houses and in Dutch. Another safe and cheap place to find housing among international students is Macandra.
When using Facebook or Kamernet, be aware that there is a risk of being scammed. See the paragraph on how to get the housing I like? for more tips.
Kamernet is a paid service. There, you will mostly find student rooms for a price of 300 ~ 450 Euro with an average size of 12sqm. It allows you to filter through offers and create a personalized profile to respond to offers. Companies, landlords/-ladies or current tenants may post offers.
Marcel Kon Makelaardij
Marcel Kon Makelaardij manages various properties in Enschede, rooms for students are available but not listed on their website. Reach out to [email protected] and include a brief description of yourself and what you are looking for.
Self-contained housing, as stated before, is more difficult to find than a student room. However, there are a few options specifically for students:
One of the cheapest and safest options to look for a studio is Macandra. Macandra is an old building next to the Volkspark, near the Campus of Saxion and the city center in Enschede. It has a really nice view. The building is located at this address: Emmastraat 210, 7513 BH, Enschede. In the old days, it used to be a nursing home and training facility for doctors, then has been re-purposed for student housing and has now recently been taken over by a local family business. It is currently undergoing large renovations to become attractive for any potential tenant. (Status: 2019)
To check availability or to get on their waiting list, you can contact them by mail: [email protected] They respond within 1-2 working days. There is no website, and offers are not advertised elsewhere. (Status: 2021)
There are 3 types of accommodation offered in Macandra:
PLAZA 053, formerly known as Camelot, is a big housing company which offers furnished studios in a completely renovated, old faculty building on the UT Campus, at De Veldmaat 10-101, 7522NM Enschede. These offers are suitable for students with a budget of over 750 Euro per month and a planned stay of maximum 1 year. You can find the available offers on their website.
Glad to see your enthusiasm! Fortunately, the housing officers at the universities are already taking care to serve your needs. Please consult the UT’s list of alternative accommodation or Saxion’s support page on finding housing independently. Their lists include both shared and self-contained accommodation. The UT also links to several options for short-stay accommodation.
Use your network
This might seem obvious, but often, the safest, cheapest and most straightforward way to look for housing is to simply tell everyone what exactly you are looking for, and ask for help. This is especially true in this case, as most of the time, it is not the university or the landlords who keep their eyes and ears open to find new tenants, but the current tenants themselves.
Ask in your student or study association, ask people you know in the city, ask a senior in your study, ask previous exchange students, try to make friends with people in the areas that you find attractive, and make sure that people know how to contact you. Even if you are entirely new to the city, you can already connect with people on social media. Having a local network can also help you arrange the move, or determine which locations are attractive for you. Start your search as soon as possible!
You have figured out what your budget is, what you can get, and where to look for it. And most importantly, you know your rights and what you want. Now the question is: How do you get there safely? First and foremost, start looking as early as humanly possible and be extremely persistent!
There are a few more things to consider:
Relevant for: Roomspot, Kamersite, Facebook, Kamernet, and more.
Not relevant for: Self-contained, independent housing, looking through agencies, housing in Gronau (typically)
In short, co-optation gives tenants the opportunity to choose who they want to live with, rather than accept whoever the company or landlord/-lady selects for the house. This means that if you find an offer through co-optation, you and your potential housemates will first be introduced to each other. It also means that to be invited, the current housemates will first decide whether you, them, and the accommodation are a good fit.
The Student Union provides a detailed explanation of the co-optation process and why it is important for students. Scroll down to “Co-optation Tips” to use this for your search.
On Facebook and some other platforms, instead of constantly looking for new offers, you may also post a request for the kind of accommodation you are looking for. It is best to advertise yourself with a post shared in all the different groups listed above.
When writing your “self-promotion” post, include:
General advice for replying to offers:
Tell something about yourself
Only asking to see a room is not enough; you want to stand out from the other applicants.
Your potential new housemates choose people who fit in their group, and nobody benefits if you pretend to be somebody you are not.
Keep it short
Nobody will read through three pages about a person. Just write the most important facts about you and why this offer is particularly interesting.
Of course, nobody wants to get scammed. But it happens. Refer to the Tenancy Law Manual for more information on your rights, and contact the Housing Hotline for your specific question. If you see a scam on Facebook, comment below the post to help others and report it here. You can also report scammers on Kamernet.
Here are some things to watch out for:
Here are some things that might seem unusual to you, but are common:
And finally, some tips to get confirmation about your suspicions:
When choosing your accommodation, you also choose the kind of student life that goes along with it. We already touched on co-optation and some of Dutch culture. In the following, we provide you with some quick orientation regarding where you might want to live. Please consider that the exact circumstances will depend on the house/neighbourhood.
You can live in the city center, which tends to be more expensive, or somewhere in the vicinity, where some student houses even have their own garden. Visit also the English website of the municipality of Enschede.
Hengelo is only a bike- or train ride away from the universities. Although only slightly smaller, it is not brimming with as much student life or as many tourists as Enschede. It is a rather industrial, typical dutch town with its own flair. If you are interested in finding internships locally in the industry, and do not mind the lack of a local party life, then this might be a good choice. A growing number of international students choose Hengelo over Enschede due to the availability of rooms and the lower rents.
Gronau is a town on the German side of the border, biking from Enschede in about 45 minutes. A train runs directly from Gronau to Enschede’s city center and to the University of Twente at the Station Kennispark. Housing there tends to be even cheaper, however you will have to calculate your travel expenses into your budget. Saxion and Univesrity of Twente students may be eligible for the NRW Semesterticket.
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