The new truth on student housing

Finding good student housing in Amsterdam can be very stressful for ESP students, especially for the ones that have just been accepted. Luckily our experienced creative students created some great tips and tricks that will make it easier for you to find housing. Please meet the former and current students that helped compose this post. Three different people, with different approaches.

especially for you


Carmen is a typical ESP student that handles stressful situations (finding housing is definitely one of those) in a special way. We call it the “Carmen calm down approach”!


Think out-of-the-box. That’s mainly Karin’s approach regarding housing. She lives just south of the school, outside of Amsterdam in a small village with some room mates in a real house!


Pierre started a long list of high potential websites a few years ago. Many are still very valuable, so please check out his list at the end of this post! 

by Carmen

You will find housing! but…

To calm you down just a little bit: you will find housing. The question is only when. Every single student from my year had something latest by around October/November. Not saying something perfect, but something. No one stayed homeless forever. Eventually, you’ll find something. So that’s the good news.

# 1   Take the student housing via AUAS

RULE (set by no one but myself haha): If you get student housing through ESP / HvA aka any kind of student accommodation – TAKE IT and don’t be picky 😀 Many first years live in student accommodation and the vast majority of places are very pleasant to live in. The housings are mainly offered through DeKey and DUWO. They are not only quite affordable (anywhere from 350€- max. 800€), but often also spacious and close to school.

“I would highly advise you to take student accommodation if it is offered to you. It is almost impossible to find something as cheap, nice and without effort for your first year!”

# 2 Contact DeKey and DUWO

If you didn’t apply for student housing through university, you can still try and contact DeKey and DUWO directly and try to apply for them through their own websites. You can also try Campus Diemen, which is more costly (800€), very nice, close to school, but has a waiting list until October/November. Well, you can try.

#3 When student accommodation is not an option.

Let’s say student accommodation is not an option. Welcome to the housing market Amsterdam. Welcome to the most expensive hell. Step 1: you might have to increase your budget. Getting anything under 700€ for a private room in a shared flat is very lucky.

#4 Be extremely cautious about fraud

I personally have been scammed before and know a few other people who this happened too and who’ve lost a substantial amount of €€. Especially in facebook groups and kamernet you need to be very careful. The best thing you can do is come here for a viewing yourself to see if the place really exists. If that is impossible, keep these things in mind: if it looks shady, it probably is :D. Try to get on a Skype call with the landlord/real estate agent. That makes it more likely that it’s not all scam. Don’t transfer a ridiculous # of money beforehand. If they keep asking you for more and more, its probably scam. Feel free to contact me about a place you have in mind, maybe my bullshit-o-meter can detect something 😉

#5 neighbourhood location is key

the school is quite far away from the center (especially with bike). Neighborhoods close to school are Zuidoost, Diemen, Bijlmer, Bullewijk, Gein (all not the most glorious, but all definitely more affordable than the center). Prices in the center will be higher. Abcoude + Amstelveen are also options some people choose to go for (more affordable, far away from the center). The west, Noord and center are also, of course, an option, the latter will be very expensive though. Keep in mind that with these options you will have to pay about 100€ of public transport (if you don’t want to bike daily in dutch weather for 1h). Unless you work for more than 56h a month (then you can apply for travel discount)

Out of the box thinking
Call the places you’re interested in, Don’t waste too much time writing emails that people don’t respond to. Partner up with some fresh 1st years. Teams of 3 will be harder to accommodate due to Dutch law and the housing market. It will be easier to find something if you’re working (have recent paychecks). make sure you don’t say you’re a student right away.
Last words of advice
Some of you will NOT find housing before arrival, most likely. Yes, that is very costly and annoying and exhausting especially because ESP will get very stressful very quickly. But don’t worry too much. Like I’ve said, eventually, everyone found housing.


Please be aware of scammers as they are common in Amsterdam. Many of them offer places in the city center for very cheap but then claim that they are abroad at the moment. If you are determined to get a place on the private market, it really helps if you actually take the time to travel to Amsterdam and search in person. But in all cases, please use your common sense.

by Pierre

The best housing resources

I noticed some of you are experiencing the well-known troubles of the Amsterdam housing crisis, so I thought I’d try to help you out a little bit with some advice and links. I can only help those NOT using the DUWO student housing system as I never consulted that option when moving here, so I don’t know how it works.

Use the Amsterdam facebook groups

The first thing you need to know is that Amsterdam is very small and is hugely overpopulated, ergo, finding a place is never easy and the rent can be quite high, especially in the center.
The biggest problem, that I personally find, is that because there is so much competition, it is very hard to find a place available in the future, for example, looking for a place now that is only available in September. The vast majority of places you find are available for immediate move in. As a result, many people end up paying rent for 1 or 2 months while they are not living there yet. Some landlords let you sub-let for that period, but not always.
From my experience, a common method among students is to search among Amsterdam Housing facebook groups, I will post them below as well as other websites that I think are good.

What are the steps to take?

Before you start or continue your house search, here is my personal advice you may want to take into consideration:

  • Rent here for a room in an apartment or house can range from 450-1200. The closer you go to the city , the higher you are likely to pay. The school is well connected-(-ish) by metro and some buses, search “Holendrecht” metro stop, but public transport here is incredibly expensive and there are no discounts for students,unless you work part-time. But of course, being Amsterdam, many many students cycle to school.
  • Student areas include Diemen, Bijmer and Amsterdam-Zuidoost. Many ESP students live in these areas and its close to school. If you would like some info on other areas of Amsterdam just ask me
  • When negotiating a rental period, consider when your internship dates are. As I said before, some landlords will let you sub-let when you are away, but some won’t.
  • I think looking for a house together is a good idea, I did it for the first year, but it can be difficult and requires a lot of coordination. Always have a plan B.

“Go with a 2 months deposit cash in hand and only talk to the landlord, not the agent.”

Pierre’s resource list


  • Zoekt kamer in Amsterdam Community very active group for room search in Amsterdam
  • Commercial Initiatives

    • Kamernet  Good website I think. Requires a small membership but I just found a place in the center via this website. Not everyone replies though…
    • Pararius  Very popular website. I found my house in my first year with this.
    • Student Hotel   Really great option in my opinion. Some of my friends stayed here and had super opinions about it. A bit higher than average rent but you get a lot in return and in good locations.
    • Hotel Jansen  Similar option to the one above. Looks pretty sweet in my opinion.
    • Housing Anywhere  Similar option to the one above. Looks pretty sweet in my opinion.

    And Even More

    • Student Experience  Looks pretty good. Brand new and modern. ESP was negotiating with them about a deal for ESP students, you can use their Student Experience Alert App, or check directly availability on specific buildings
    • Blue Gray  Similar to the one above. I’m not sure if this is open yet or still in construction.
    • Expat Rentals  Never used this one
    • Huurexpert  Similar to Kamernet. Small membership required.
    • Nestpick  Interesting option if you want a place on the private market but are unable to travel to Amsterdam before September ! Similar to Airbnb, but more long-term. You need to have an open mind as you pay before arriving and you cannot visit the place before. I have used this, my bid got rejected but I think it could be useful if you want to be specific about your moving and moving out dates.

    I really wanted this post to be a student-to-student message, so we are not discussing the official answer on housing but really give you the inside info you have been searching for!

    OK, that’s what I have for now, message me if you have any more questions regarding this!


    ESP class of 2017

    by Karin

    Think outside of Amsterdam

    3 other girls and me from the program are living together in Abcoude. It is a typical Dutch village, located a bit south from uni, only 10 mins by bike.
    It’s a really nice and quiet place, a safe area surrounded by nature. There are grocery shops, local bars and cafes. There is a train station and the nearest metro station is the one next to uni, called Holendrecht.
    If you were to look for a place to stay in Abcoude , there are big houses which you are able to rent and more than 2 people can register since its considered to be outside of Amsterdam. The registration need to be done with the “gemeente” (city hall) in a village called Mijdrecht.
    The renting price is around to 500-600 euro per month, depending on size and amount of people living in the house.

    “I would definitely recommend living in Abcoude. In addition, you get to experience a bit of the Dutch charm on a daily basis.”

    Last words of advice

    Some of you will NOT find housing before arrival, most likely. Yes, that is very costly and annoying and exhausting especially because ESP will get very stressful very quickly. But don’t worry too much. Like I’ve said, eventually, everyone found housing. 

    On Instagram, I am also know as @coachcappucino. Please check out my channel and follow my journey inside and outside of ESP!


    ESP class of 2020


    Social Media Manager