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. 

Join our houising community chats on Telegram or WhatsApp.

Both institutions also have their own housing webpages:

If you have any feedback or questions to share with us after reading through this page, please contact housing[at]esntwente.nl.

Last update: June, 2021.

Table Of Contents

What are my rights?

Coming to a different country is confusing and challenging. However, it always helps to know your rights. Here are some general tips:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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:

  1. 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 (ie. on social media), or interacting with a scammer, take care not to share any private or sensitive information. Blur it out on screenshots.

What can I expect to pay?

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 trend is that it is difficult for international students to integrate within local housing communities due to language and potential cultural bariers.

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 can range between ~200 and ~450 Euro, including utilitites.

It is possible to rent self-contained studios or apartments. This is more competitive and, in most cases, more expensive. Expect to pay ~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.

Regarding housing benefits: 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 for 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.

Where do I look for housing?

The ideal way for you to look for housing will depend on what kind of student you are, what you want, and your budget.

Depending on your status: 

  • 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 not accessible 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 a lot of 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 translate 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!

​Depending on what you are looking for:

  • Looking for a student room in a student house?
    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 (see “Looking for self-contained housing?”). 

    When using Facebook or Kamernet, be aware that there is a risk of being scammed. See “How to get the housing I like?” for tips.

    Kamernet
    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.
    Facebook groups

  • Looking for self-contained housing?
    Self-contained housing, as stated before, is more difficult to find than a student room. However, there are a few options specifically for students: 

  • Macandra
    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 the waiting list you can contact them by mail: info@yolufe.nl. 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:

  1. Studio apartments with a monthly rent of 390 Euro, incl. everything except internet and water.
  2. Single small rooms with attached private bathrooms and extra storage room opposite to the main room. The rent is 290 Euro per month, incl. everything except internet.
  3. Single rooms for a monthly rent of  245 Euro, including everything except internet.
  • Camelot
    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.

  • Want even more options?
    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 completely 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!

How do I get the housing I like?

So 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 early and be persistent!

There are a few more things to consider:

  1. What is co-optation? (Dutch “hospiteren”)
    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 students 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 “Cooptation Tips” to use this for your search.

  2. What can I do so people will want to make me an offer I like?
    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:

  • Your budget (all-in)
  • When you want to move in
  • The purpose of your stay
  • What you require from the accommodation (eg. Smoking allowed? Preferred location? Cleanliness?)
  • A bit about yourself (Think: Are you a party-person? Do you play an instrument? Cooking preferences? What languages do you speak comfortably?)
  • If you wish to stay for longer than four months, do not forget to mention that you need to be able to register at the municipality!

       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.
  • Be honest: 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.
  1. What does scamming (not) look like?
    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:

  • Do pictures look too good to be real? Do they look like stock images? They might be! Use Google reverse image search to confirm whether the picture is from a real offer.
  • Are there amounts stated in a different currency than Euro? Definite scam.
  • Is the person you are dealing with abroad in a far-away place and does not let you speak to people who currently rent the accommodation or have rented it in the past? Most likely a scam. 
  • Is the price of the rent negotiable or changes drastically? Scam.
  • Is the person you are dealing with trying to get you to sign a contract before you have spoken to current or previous tenants, or before you have seen the room? Most likely a scam.
  • Is the person you are dealing with trying to get you to pay a large deposit before you have seen a proper contract or have seen the place in person or video? Scam.
  • Is there any talk about “reserving the apartment / room” for you by means of a separate contract and fee? Scam. The way to “reserve” accommodation is to start paying the full monthly rent before moving in and after signing the contract. If you cannot do this, the landlord/-lady is unlikely to make you a special offer as there are many other students looking who could rent immediately.
  • If it is in the Netherlands: Are you not allowed to register at the municipality although you are supposed to live there for over four months? It is a scam, and/or a potentially illegal arrangement. If you still attempt to register under the address, there might be financial and legal consequences for the landlord/-lady and you risk being kicked out.
  • Do you have a bad feeling about the offer? Continue reading. Although it is good to trust your gut feeling, you might be missing another point of view.

   Here are some things that might seem unusual to you, but are common:

  • The landlord/-lady might have their address in Germany (Gronau) while renting out a room or apartment in the Netherlands (Enschede), and vice-versa. This is simply due to the fact that the two cities are very close and it may be more profitable or convenient for the landlord/-lady to do it this way.
  • The landlord/-lady might ask very detailed questions about your income or might even request financial statements (from your parents) prior to handing you a contract. This is to make sure that you can pay and is not to be taken personally. Similarly, they might ask you to provide identification (a copy of your passport).
  • In the Netherlands, especially concerning cheaper, old student houses, the landlord/-lady might have very little concern for the maintenance of the place and might not even be bothered to visit and check on it. Some houses are in poor condition as they are very old and lived through many generations of students (and their parties). The contract will usually outline which repairs are the financial responsibility of the tenant(s), and which are the responsibility of the landlord/-lady. While this can be unpleasant to deal with, it is not necessarily illegal. Renovating the house completely would cost the landlord/-lady and increase the price of the rent. If you are worried, ask questions about the maintenance to current and previous tenants, and clarify how this responsibility is shared with the landlord/-lady.
  • The language barrier. This can be difficult to deal with without the help of a translator, but is a fairly typical problem. Try to use simple and clear language. You may use https://www.deepl.com/translator to assist you.
     

      And finally, some tips to get confirmation about your suspicions:

  • Talk to previous tenants and ask about their experience with the landlord/-lady and why they left. Especially if they stayed for a longer period, this will give you a good indication of the relationship with the landlord/-lady.
  • If possible, visit the place in person (for a viewing). Prepare questions. Go along with an adult or more experienced friend to get a second opinion. If this is not possible, arrange an online video call to see the place. You can also ask someone you know, who is already in the city, to take a look at the place for you.

What are the locations like?

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 perisphere, where some student houses even have their own garden. Visit also the English website of the municipality of Enschede.

  • City of Hengelo

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 (Germany)

Gronau is a town on the German side of the border, just 15 minutes biking from Enschede. 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.