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The basics
THE Netherlands: Student Finances - Must read

Student living costs in the Netherlands

Our guide to living costs for international students in the Netherlands, including accommodation, public transport and food.

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Costs of living in the Netherlands may have risen even higher since the introduction of the Euro, but that shouldn’t stop you from making it your study destination of choice.


Enjoying consistent success in global quality of life indexes, the Netherlands holds huge appeal as a study destination. But despite the allure of the nation’s stunning canals and happy populace, life in the Netherlands can be quite expensive, particularly for international students. Let our breakdown of basic living costs prove that you can study abroad in the Netherlands without needing to empty your bank account.



Unlike many other European countries, it is not common for students in the Netherlands to live on campus as most Dutch universities do not have a campus. Finding accommodation in densely populated cities, particularly in Amsterdam, can prove a real struggle. However, once you are accepted into a Dutch university, they will usually send you information that will help you find accommodation, as well as some housing reservation forms.


The University of Amsterdam has agreements with various housing corporations to offer a total of 1,700 furnished rooms to international students for a maximum of two semesters. You will need to pay a non-refundable fee of either €265-€315 to the UvA for one semester, or €450-€525 for a year, as well as separate administration fees to the relevant housing company. These vary depending on the company: De Key charges €150, whilst Ymere only charges €40. You may also need to pay a deposit, as well as separate rental costs that differ depending on size and location of the room.  On average, a furnished room in Amsterdam will cost between €300-€600 per month, which is usually inclusive of utilities and internet.


Many students live in student hostels, where nearly everyone has their own room but has to share kitchen and bathroom facilities. Room prices range from about €275-€500 per month. You will also have the option to rent publicly or privately, where prices operate on a points system based on a property’s particulars.  Rental prices vary across cities but will generally be higher in Amsterdam.


If you plan to stay in the Netherlands for a continuous period of four months, you are required to register with the municipality and then un-register when you leave.


Registration information


Living Costs

Just as in your home country, there are certain basic living costs you’ll be unable to dodge once in the Netherlands. Here is a rough idea of what you might pay:

  • Mandatory basic health insurance, per month ...€100
  • Visa/ residence permit, non-EU national...€320
  • Prepaid mobile local tariff, 1 minute, no discount or plan...€0.21
  • Cable internet, 1.5Mb/s, monthly (if not included in rent), ...€20
  • Electricity, gas, water, monthly (if not included in rent),... €100-€225



The Dutch are bicycle enthusiasts and in most cities bike lanes enjoy priority over cars and pedestrian sidewalks. Riding a bicycle is a cheap, green way to get around that doubles as being good for you. If you do need to travel further than a bike can take you, there are a number of public transport options at your disposal, too. If you use public transport often, it might be worth your while to get an OV-chipkaart, a travel card that electronically deducts funds for every trip you take.

  • Train ticket to/ from Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam...€4
  • Weekly travel ticket, Amsterdam...€32
  • Transport ticket, (bus, tram, train) 1hour, Amsterdam...€2.80
  • Monthly travel pass, GVB...€89
  • Bike rental, one day...€10




With a multitude of cafes, supermarkets and restaurants across all price ranges, how much you choose to spend on food is really up to you. Buying food in bulk from a supermarket is probably your best option as a student, where it’s easy to stock up on basics at a modest price.

  • Milk, 1L...€.90
  • Load of white sandwich bread, 500g...€1.20
  • Chicken breast fillet, 1kg... €6.50
  • Spaghetti, 500g...€0.90
  • Coca-cola, 1.5L...€1.80
  • White rice, 400g...€0.8
  • Eggs, 12pk...€2
  • Olive Oil, 1L...€5
  • Big Mac...€3.50


Misc. Costs

Again, entertaining yourself in the Netherlands can really cost as little or much as you like. Some restaurants and establishments offer student discounts, so if you’re on a bit of a budget it might be worth getting an International Student Identity Card to prove you’re eligible for the concession. The average student’s social exploits would roughly be around the following:

  • Pint of beer in a bar...€5
  • Cappuccino...€2.50
  • Bottle of water, 330ml...€1.80
  • Eating out, mid-range restaurant, 3 courses...€30
  • Glass of wine, mid-range restaurant...€4
  • Movie ticket, without student discount...€10

International Student Identity Card (ISIC)


Ready to discover what the Netherlands has to offer? Browse courses in the Netherlands now! 


Useful links:

I am Expat: housing agencies in the Netherlands

Woninghuren: houses for rent