Randy, Cam and I moved to The Netherlands exactly two weeks ago today. I have woken up on several mornings within the past couple days in disbelief that we have fulfilled our lifelong dream of living in Europe. We’re actually here!! Now comes the fun part of finding an apartment in the Netherlands.
We made a solid decision in December 2020 that the Netherlands is where we wanted to set up a base and see our son grow up.
This is after doing exhaustive research and discovering that Americans had the opportunity to relocate to the Netherlands thanks to an agreement between the two countries known as the DAFT (Dutch American Friendship Treaty), but that’s a story for another day 🙂
My purpose today is to help you figure out the most important thing you should do during your first week in the Netherlands to avoid getting yourself overwhelmed.
Finding An Apartment in the Netherlands
Find a place to live!!!! I get it..this sounds like a no brainer but honestly speaking, this has so far been the biggest challenge we have had to deal with. If you know anything about The Netherlands is that the housing market is EXTREMELY competitive! Supply is far less than Demand.
We tried being proactive and reaching out to Housing Agents a month before our move and truth be told..our efforts were futile. A house would go up for rent and two seconds later it would be rented out. Well, maybe not two seconds…but you catch my drift.
You have the option to pay the rental agents a fee to find you a home; typically equivalent to one month’s rent, but again…if you know anything about The Netherlands, one month’s rent isn’t cheap!
If you’re looking to go the alternate route and look for a new humble abode on your own then my recommendation would be to start scheduling viewings for any Houses/Apartments that you may be interested in 2-3 days before you land in the Netherlands. This way, the viewings will be scheduled right around the time when you arrive.
Don’t waste your time trying to schedule the viewings if you’re not set to arrive within a maximum of three days. This is because they’re typically scheduled relatively quickly and don’t have the desire to wait for you to arrive because seven other people have already expressed interest in the place. I get it….it’s nerve wrecking and you would like to have a place to call home.
Apartment Listing Websites
We heavily relied on the website Pararius during our search, but not to worry..there are several other house/apartment sites such as Funda and HousingXL. Some sites are even geared towards expats only.
Something to be aware of is the accessibility of the areas you may be looking at. We had assumed that if an area was a 30 mins drive from Amsterdam then it automatically meant that all you needed was a direct train to get there; but we quickly realized that this isn’t always the case.
A 30 mins car ride from Amsterdam could translate to a 17 min walk, 20 minute train ride, 10 minute bus ride and then another 12 minute walk. Umm..I have a 7 year old; so… no thank you! Truthfully speaking, I still wouldn’t want to do it if I was by myself.
Therefore, do your research and be realistic! If you’re looking to have a place closer to Amsterdam, then be prepared to cough up the big bucks and live in tight quarters.
We opted to live in Dordrecht, the 5th largest City in the Netherlands. I’ll get into more of how we settled on this area in a different post but living a considerable distance from Amsterdam means that we have a little backyard and room to store our six suitcases! It’s the little things…. 🙂
Love & Light
Also check out What To Do On An Amsterdam Layover