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Accommodation for PhD students

The housing market is very tight in Amsterdam for everyone so it can be difficult to find affordable housing.

VU Amsterdam has reserved a limited number of accommodations for prospective international staff with different housing providers. Unfortunately, we can only offer housing to about 50% of all new incoming staff. We strongly recommend that you begin searching for housing on your own to improve your chances.

More information

  • General information about housing in the Netherlands

    We advise you to start your search on time and  to widen your search to areas further away from Amsterdam, like for example Zaandam, Almere, Hoofddorp, or Alphen aan de Rijn. Be prepared to start your own search as housing is very difficult to find in the Netherlands. We can only offer housing to about 50% of all new incoming Phds. Public transport is available but be aware that it will come with extra costs if you need to travel to VU Amsterdam. Information on the following website might also be useful: Access website.

    Dutch housing system

    In the Netherlands there is a difference between Social housing and housing on the Private market. The differences are in short:

    Social housing: Affordable housing, for people with a low income, owned by housing corporations. For internationals coming to the Netherlands is very hard to obtain, as they work with registration time. At the moment, the waiting time is 8- 15 years. To apply for social housing, contact the municipality to find the local organisation. The maximum rent of these housing options is €808,06 excluding services and extras. Sometimes tenants are eligible for housing allowance. There are income restrictions, you can find more information here

    Once you are in social housing, you can apply for a housing allowance (a state contribution to your rent). Some conditions must be met in order to receive a housing allowance. VU Amsterdam has no influence on the outcome of your housing allowance application.

    Private market (Free sector): House prices in the Netherlands have increased heavily in the last few years, and as a result, finding affordable accommodation in the main Dutch cities can be a challenge. Unlike what you might be used to, a substantial part of your budget will probably be spent on rent and other housing related costs. For example, a one-bedroom apartment to rent in Amsterdam can range from €1,100 to €2,000 a month while three-bedroom apartments start from around €3000. In addition, there will be mandatory costs for utility and water bills, municipal taxes and insurance. If you are planning to come to Amsterdam with your partner and/or children, be aware that it is even more difficult to find affordable housing in Amsterdam and surroundings.

  • Eligibility

    Who can apply for accommodation?

    All guests, staff members, interns and PhDs who have a courtesy or employment contract at VU Amsterdam (initiated by the supervisor of the department) and in case of a non EU citizen the VISA procedure has been approved (conditionally) will receive an invitation to apply for accommodation online via a google doc link.  You can only apply for accommodation from VU Amsterdam when you meet the following criteria:

    • You have a non-Dutch nationality. Please note that when you have dual citizenship of the Netherlands and an EU/Non-EU country, you are not eligible for accommodation via us;
    • You are not living in the Netherlands already. Our services are meant to provide a so-called soft landing. When you already found accommodation on your own or received accommodation from us before, it is not possible to apply again.
    • If you are a single person or in a couple, then you are eligible for one of our housing options. We do not have family housing available.
  • Application procedure and waiting list

    You will automatically receive an invitation to apply for housing, this is part of the employment or courtesy contract process. Once your VU Amsterdam supervisor / promotor has initiated the employment contract process in your personal dashboard on, your file will also be sent to the international office and then you will receive information regarding our accommodation services. We advise the department to initiate the process a long time before your arrival.

    This means that after that you will receive an application form (Google doc) by e-mail. We advise you to send in your application form as soon as possible to have the best chance to get housing upon arrival.

  • Accommodation types and contract information

    Our accommodation consists of furnished short stay studios with a maximum rental period of 12 months.

    We will try to offer a short stay studio to provide a so-called soft landing and we aim to do that around two months prior to arrival, however we only have limited availability and can't guarantee accommodation for everyone! If you plan to stay longer than 1 year, you will need to find accommodation yourself. Extensions are not possible. For more information on the accommodation types, please click here.

    Important: We do not keep lists based on specific wishes, like distance, neighbourhoods, prices or the size of an apartment. The only thing you can add to your application is your wish to apply for a couple studios or a single one. You may refuse an offer once (with a reasonable explanation why) and after refusing or not replying to an offer twice, we will remove your name from the list! 

    Housing options for couple

    We have very limited rooms available for couples therefore it is important to apply early if you are planning to come with a partner. Your partner does not need to be associated with the VU Amsterdam for you to live together if assigned university housing. Please note these apartments are often fully rented out and therefore have very limited availability. 

    There are unfortunately no housing options for families

    Families with children need to find their own accommodation on the private market. The cost of family apartments can be quite expensive, and square meterage can be smaller than you may expect. It is always difficult if you have to move to a different location while finding new schools/ day care / general practitioners. Another option is for guest / employees to come alone to the Netherlands first and try to find accommodation for their families while living here. You can read more about bringing your family to the Netherlands here.

  • Rules and Regulations

    When you receive a short stay accommodation from us and you wish to end it any sooner than the official end date, you may do so with a full one month notice time per the 15th of the month or per the last day of the month. In that case, please notify both us (by e-mail) and DUWO via the button: terminate rental agreement in your own personal DUWO account. In case you would like to extend up to the maximum allowed period, please let us know by email ( and at least two or three months before the official end date of the housing contract.