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House Hunting in Amsterdam

With almost 750 thousand inhabitants, Amsterdam may define itself as a quite popular city to live in. Yet, Amsterdam struggles with a major problem: where do we leave all these people? The shortage of houses and rooms in Amsterdam is a big problem among people who are trying to find a flat or apartment in the city. For instance the average advert for an flat at Amsterdam´s most used website ´´ gets over 128 responses. Not so strange if you consider that about 60.000 people are actively searching for a room, flat or apartment in Amsterdam. 

Popular areas
The areas which are more popular are the Pijp, Oud-West, Zuid, Zeeburg and Westerpark. Anything near Vondelpark is wanted as well. However, a bigger chance on finding a flat is when you search for a room in Bos en Lommer, Slotervaart, Watergraafsmeer or Noord.

What to do
There are a couple of things you can do when you´re looking for a room in Amsterdam. First, tell everyone around you that you are looking for a room. Family, friends, friend of friends, colleagues etc. This is the most common way to find a room. Spread the word, and maybe you´ll find it through the grapevine.

Secondly, you can check adverts in supermarkets, magazines, newspapers and online. Popular websites are

Local government
Most people get their house through the city housing service (from the local government), but this is only possible if you are Dutch or if you have a residence permit. Another option to get a room or flat is using the normal housing agencies. These housing agencies decide if you’re qualified enough (based on income) to get on a waiting list. They usually ask for a fee, generally equivalent to about one to two month’s rent. Be aware of the legalities required for you to live in an apartment, ask yourself questions such as whether you can register with the local government, whether the flat has a housing permit, and whether you qualify for subsidized housing.  If you want to be sure that the agency doesn’t throw you out of your house unexpectedly, check reliable agencies at

Another way of searching an apartment or room is by posting adverts in local newspapers. For example, you pay €22 for an advertisement in the local newspaper (Het Parool) and you can advertise for free in a local advertise paper (ViaVia).

Subsidized housing
In the Netherlands is it possible to get allowance if you rent an apartment. You can apply for this allowance by contacting the national Tax and Customs Administration. At the same time you can also apply for subsidized care. Yet, there are some rules and restrictions:
- Subsidized housing is exclusively for Dutch people, those with a residence permit or those with a social security number
- Applying for allowance over 2007 must be done before April 2008, Requesting allowance for 2008 must be done before April 2009, etc.
- If you’re qualified for subsidized housing depends on the household, salary and rent. At the website from the Belastingdienst ( you can find a tool  that calculates if you’re qualified and how much you can get.
- If you have a Dutch Sofi-nummer or Burgerservice nummer, you can check your data registered at the Belastingsdienst online. First you have to request a Digital Code, called ´Digi D´ ( When you received this code, you can arrange a lot of things online.

Although the competitive housing market is notorious, cruel in its outrageous prices and has a disappointing waitinglist, you might find a flat sooner than you think with a little bit of luck and patience. The most overheard reason why people find their dream apartment is: ´Oh, I was just lucky´. It is annoying to hear this by everyone, but remember this proverb carefully: ´Every dog has its day´.

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