Living in the Netherlands

Moving abroad can be an exciting and daunting prospective. To prepare you a little bit, here is some basic information about living and studying in the Netherlands, and trying to understand Dutch people and the culture.

The country

 The country

he Netherlands is the ideal place to study for an international degree. With around 260.000 students and millions of tourists visiting all year round, there is always something to do. Due to its long history of international trade, it is one of the most multicultural and innovative nations in Europe. This entrepreneurial spirit is deeply embedded in Dutch society, and this is reflected in our range of programmes.

Facts about the Netherlands:

  • Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands, however, the government is situated in The Hague.
  • More than 60% of the population live in the West of Holland known as the Randstad, which includes the four major cities of Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam and Utrecht.
  • The cost of living in Amsterdam is relatively low compared to other major cities like New York, London, Paris or Beijing.
  • There are 18 million bikes in the Netherlands. That’s more than the country’s 17 million residents!
  • The Netherlands is in the top 10 of best countries in the world to do business, right after Hong Kong.
    The Netherlands is home to many global firms including Philips, Shell, Heineken, KPMG and Unilever.
  • Around 26% of the Netherlands lies below sea level, with the lowest point being 22 feet (6.7 meters) below sea level.
  • Dutch is the national language, but most people also speak English. And if you're learning Dutch, you'll  notice that the languages are quite similar, both in sound and spelling.



The Dutch housing market is tough. Prices are increasing and rental property in the cheaper segments are scarce. For students there are two options: student housing or the private market. 

Student housing
Inholland University of Applied Sciences offers a limited amount of rooms near the university building for international students. Head to the page of your location to see the possibilities.

We recommend that you also register with Studentenwoningweb and as soon as you can, because there is a long waiting list! 

Private housing
The private market boasts a lot more variety in types of rooms and locations. This type of housing isn't just reserved for students,  

e aware that many student rooms in the Netherlands are unfurnished.  The websites below can also help you to find accommodation in the area. 

  • Housing Anywhere - student to student housing portal offering rooms for short-term sublet.
  • Nestpick -  find your next flat by showing you only listings that match your needs with filters for price, neighbourhood, room size, amenities and more.
  • DUWO - the largest student housing corporation in the Netherlands.
  • Kamernet - offers rooms, apartments or studios for rent.
  • The Student Hotel - luxurious fully furnished studios.

In addition, you can join Facebook Groups to find a roommate or room. Please be aware of scams and never pay before you have seen the room. Never sign a contract without having read the contract completely. If it sounds too good to be true, it often is too good to be true.



You will find that you can live very easily in the Netherlands without a car. The public transportation network and bike paths extend to every remote corner of the country. Although train and bus fares are not cheap, they are still nowhere near as expensive as buying and maintaining a car.

The Dutch own more bicycles per capita than any other country in the world. Rich, poor, young and old, all get around on bikes. Members of parliament and well-dressed business people go to work on bicycles. You will see mums cycling with kids in bike seats and shopping bags hanging from the handlebars.  Most students choose to ride the bike to school and for daily life.

A new bike costs between € 180 and € 450, but second-hand bikes cost a fraction of that price. Ask a fellow student to suggest a shop, or inquire at the railway station ('fietsenstalling'), or check the ads on the supermarket wall for a good used bike for cheap.

It's best not to spend too much money on a bicycle because it may get stolen. Invest in a heavy steel chain and good lock to keep your bike safe.

Public transportation
The trains run very frequently: four to six times an hour between the main cities. The train carriages are either first or second-class. You can buy single tickets for public transport, but it is cheaper and more convenient to get an OV-chipkaart. This is the payment method for all public transport in the Netherlands

Easily plan your journey through or (for train journeys)

Holidays & traditions

Holidays & traditions

King's Day (Koningsdag)
The birthday of Dutch royals have always been celebrated with enthusiasm. King's Day is celebrated on King Willem-Alexander's official birthday, 27 April.

Put on your best orange clothes, eat an orange tompouce and head to any city or town to celebrate. Amsterdam and Utrecht in particular go all out on this day with huge flea markets and concerts.

Remembrance Day and Liberation Day 
4 May is the day when Dutch victims of war are remembered. At 8pm, a two-minute silence is observed nationally. People stop whatever they are doing (often pulling their cars over to the side of the road), special wreaths are placed at national monuments and flags are hung at half mast.

Following the commemorations of 4 May, the Dutch celebrate their liberation from German occupation on 5 May 1945. Flags are hung at full mast and there are festivals throughout the country

Throughout the centuries, Sinterklaas has been considered the patron saint of children, as well as of traders. On 5 December, he brings children gifts that are dropped off in a sack on their doorstep. Despite the initial similarities with Santa Claus, Sinterklaas lives in Spain, travels by steamboat and rides a white horse.

During the evening, families exchange small gifts and chocolate letters.

Christmas and New Year's Eve
Christmas Day is usually reserved for religious observances and family gatherings. The day after Christmas on 26 December, Boxing Day, is also a national holiday.

During the evening of New Year's Eve, families and friends gather together to eat oliebollen. Shortly after midnight, deafening waves of fireworks resembling machine-gun fire rock the air all at once. Many compare the experience to being in a war zone. The noise lasts for about an hour.

New Year's Day is quiet, and the streets are blanketed in burnt wrappers from the approximately €68 million worth of fireworks that went up in smoke the night before.


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