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Cost of living and working

Before you start your degree programme, it is good to have an idea of what it will cost and how you are going to pay for it.

When planning for your studies at university, you must take the necessary costs into account. Experience shows that living and studying in the Netherlands for one year costs a student between €1,000 and €2,000 per month. Some students manage to spend less, but this depends on your own lifestyle.

More information

  • An indication of likely monthly expenses

    Some students manage to spend less, but this of course depends on your own lifestyle. By way of indication (not including tuition fees), you can expect the following costs:

    • Accommodation: €400 - €1,250
    • Living expenses (food etc.): €325 - €400
    • Insurance: €115 
    • Public transport: €60 - €72
    • Books and printing: €49
    • Other costs (clothing etc.): €100
  • Working while studying

    You cannot count on finding a source of additional income after you arrive and, unless you are from an EU member state, your opportunities to work are restricted. If you are a non-EU student, under Dutch law you are only permitted to work a maximum of 16 hours per week if you have a work permit.

    • How many hours am I allowed to work in the Netherlands? 

    If you hold a passport from a country that belongs to the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, then you are permitted to work in the Netherlands without limitation. If this is not the case, then you are only permitted to work a maximum of 16 hours per week averaged over the year or full-time during the summer months (June, July, August). Your employer will also be required to apply for a work permit.

    • Do I have to pay income tax if I work in the Netherlands? 

    Under Dutch law, everyone who works in the Netherlands is obliged to pay income tax to the Dutch government. However, the rules may be different if you are already paying income tax in your home country and that country has signed a treaty with the Netherlands that income tax is only to be paid in one of the two countries. All EU member states have signed such a treaty.

    • What does the Dutch government do for international students working in the Netherlands? 

    The Dutch government has a comprehensive system of social security, insurance and tax measures related to working in the Netherlands.

    More information can be found on the Study in NL website Working while studying.

  • Applying for student finance through DUO

    If you are a Dutch national (or have the same rights) and are about to start your studies, you can apply for student finance. Student finance consists of various components. You decide which parts to apply for. With the calculation tool from DUO, you can calculate how much student finance you are eligible for and then determine which components you want to apply for.

    You will receive the amount for the tuition fees as soon as you begin your studies, usually as of 1 September, on the condition that you are registered by that date. The additional financing amount will be deposited into your account at the end of every month, also during the summer holidays.

    When you apply for student finance, you can apply for the public transportation student card (also called the student travel product) at the same time.

     Extra travel costs

    When you cannot get by with your week- or weekend student travel product, for instance because you cannot get at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam on time in the morning for the first class or because you need to travel more than an hour and a half just to get there, you may be eligible for extra compensation for travel costs from DUO. To apply for compensation, go to In order to apply for this compensation, you need a signed statement of the educational institution.

    • Do you have classes on campus? Please bring the completed statement to the Central Student Desk (main building, central hall) where you can have it signed.
    • Are you doing an internship? Complete the statement except for part 4: Gegevens stage. Your faculty will complete this part. If you are a student at VUmc, please bring the form to the Student Service Centre. If you are studying at any other faculty, please use the form Question to the Faculty where you can upload the (partly) completed statement as an attachment.

    You can only get the form for extra compensation for travel costs signed when you are fully enrolled for the academic year for which you want to receive the extra compensation. Please bring or upload a print of the travel planner which indicates your time of travel. You can also send the form through email:

  • Other finance options

    There are various scholarships available for students. For more information, please take a look on the Scholarship webpage. Other finance options can be found on the Study in Holland website.