Before moving to the Netherlands
We will start with the basic characteristics of the market around housing in the Netherlands: As in all things in the Netherlands, the state’s intervention in the “free market” is high. The system here is not really a free market which works to the benefit of the tenants. The Dutch state considers housing to be one of the basic human rights.
Below you will find information for Bachelor students or people planning to stay more than 1 year in the Netherlands
Housing is divided into two categories: private and social housing. The social houses are run by large real estate companies, the most famous and largest being Lefier (registration is done through other sites, we will mention them below). Main difference of these is the low rental cost according to the point system (further explained below) that each house holds, the low bills since almost all are at the price of the rent and that the admission is done with the waiting time.
Of course there are income criteria which are difficult, if not impossible, for students/workers on minimum wage or close-to-minimum wages to overcome, since the philosophy is cheap housing for people on low incomes.
We will start with links, comments and suggestions for housing, mainly for Master and Erasmus students which of course also apply to Bachelor students. We recommend these mainly for Master and Erasmus students since the maximum rental period is 1 year and 6 months respectively. The table below further explains several options, starting from the best options, with the categories and then the comments will follow.
||By lottery. Minimum stay, 12 months, Maximum, 6 months after you stop studying
||6 or 12 months, furnished, shared facilities or studios
||6 months (short-stay) or 12 months minimum (long-stay), furnished, studios
|At home in Groningen
||Various rooms collected from different sites that we will mention.
||6 or 12 months, furnished.
|The village Groningen
||Minimum, 1 month, maximum 12.
Here is a list of the real estate agencies. This is where things tighten up as there are many real estate agencies that don’t accept students, men, internationals, don’t accept friends but do accept couples, some may ask for proof of salary etc. A tip that generally works is simple sentences in Dutch ( google translate is your friend) , along the lines of “is this available,or can we make an appointment?” and in person you could say you would prefer to communicate in English because you just started Dutch. You have a much better chance of getting a reply and a viewing than in English. This does not apply to everything; you can send an email in English and if you don’t get a reply, send another email in Dutch.
|Real Estate Agencies
||Many real estate agencies in one site.
||Requires a subscription starting from 26€
|K & P makelaars
||Student friendly, they usually reply.
||Pretty good realtor, they work via Facebook and you send them a text on WhatsApp for an appointment..
Matching and Selection Procedures
Matching is a method that is used by the University of Groningen to help students determine whether their chosen degree programme matches their abilities and expectations. It is compulsory for the following faculties and programmes:
- Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences (with the exception of the Bachelor’s programme in Pedagogical Sciences )
- Faculty of Medical Sciences (Bachelor’s degree in Human Movement Sciences)
- Faculty of Law
- Faculty of Spatial Sciences (Bachelor’s programme in Spatial Planning and Design)
- Faculty of Science and Engineering
Bachelor’s programs with selection procedures or numerus fixus are not included in programmes for which matching is mandatory. The deadline is 1 of May 2023 for registering as a first year student for the 2023/2024 academic year.
The procedures and dates of the matching activities differ for each degree programme, so check the matching page of your degree or faculty for the exact procedure, or contact the matching coordinator of the programme. You can find links for the above on the university website:
The dates about the matching activities for the year 2023/2024 will be shown in the beginning of 2023.
2. Selection Procedures
Programmes with Selection Procedures or “Numerus Fixus Programmes” are programmes for which you need to undergo a test or series of tests in order to be accepted to the programme. These programmes have a limited amount of places available for students, so apart of the admissions procedure (grades etc.), you also need to do well in the selection procedure, in order to secure a place.
You can find more information on the website of the RUG, as well as the blog of the RUG:
Programmes requiring a selection procedure (English-taught and Dutch-taught)
- Artificial Intelligence
- 175 seats
- Online test on your basic knowledge
- Maths test
- 250 seats
- Online test on your basic knowledge
- Maths test
- Biomedical Engineering
- 125 seats
- Online test on your basic knowledge
- Maths test
- Computing Science
- 200 seats.
- Online test on your basic knowledge
- Maths test
- Option to participate in a training day before the test.
- Geneeskunde Dutch & Medicine English
- 410 seats.
- Two tests (cognitive and noncognitive), selection day in Groningen (you will get homework beforehand)
- International Business
- 550 seats.
- Submit grades, achievements and motivation letter
- Online Webclass
- International Relations and International Organization
- 300 seats
- Submit grades, achievements and motivation letter
- 225 seats.
- Online test (you will get homework beforehand)
- Submit portfolio
- Psychologie Dutch & Psychology English
- 600 seats.
- Submit motivation letter
- Three online tests (you will get homework beforehand.)
- Tandheelkunde (in Dutch)
- 48 seats.
- Two tests on the selection day in Groningen (you will get homework beforehand.)
- Check if your degree is recognized in Cyprus/Greece/country of origin
Some degrees are not directly recognized by the Greek or Cypriot Governments, and require further examinations in order to be licensed to practice and use your degree in each country respectively.
In Cyprus , the organization responsible for determining whether a degree will be recognized is KYSATS (KYΣΑΤΣ), and in Greece it is called DOATAP (ΔΟΑΤΑΠ).
Υou can refer to the links below which will lead to the website for each one respectively for more information.
For Greece : https://www.doatap.gr/
For Cyprus: https://www.kysats.ac.cy/index.php/el/
- European Health Insurance Card
Before coming to stay in the Netherlands, it would be wise to issue an EHIC, which is a card issued free of charge , which gives you access to medically necessary, state-provided healthcare in the EU. This card is applicable for temporary stay in the Netherlands (including studying here), so if you are studying and not working here at the same time, yo9u can use this card instead of having Dutch Health Insurance.
In Cyprus, you can easily get this card at (KEP or ΚΕΠΟ; Κέντρο Εξυπηρέτησης του Πολίτη, Citizen Service Centers) with an appointment.
In Greece, an application for the card can be made at the local Social Insurance Institute (IKA) or at a Citizen Service Centre (KEP). For more information on the procedure you can visit
- Passport, ID, Birth Certificate/ Necessary Documents
For Cypriot students, travelling to the Netherlands with their ID is enough, so no passport is necessary. However, you do need either a passport or a birth certificate to register with the municipality.
For Greek Students it would be advisable to have a passport or a drivers license with you, since the Greek ID is not always recognized everywhere because it differs from standard European IDs. Passports or Birth Certificates are also needed when registering with the Municipality.
Just Moved to the Netherlands
Little things regarding the dutch banking:
- In the Netherlands they use Maestro cards. But it has been announced by the government that now Μastercards will be issued, sometime in the year of 2023.
- There are banks that offer a student package usually without charge. Some them are:
- But if you are a medical student, the ABN AMRO bank provides this package:
- What do you need so you can create a dutch bank account?
- Citizen Service Number (BSN)
- Official Proof of Address (e.g. Tenancy Agreement)
- The activation for the bank account usually takes 5-7 working days.
- Keep in mind that you don’t need to make an appointment to create an account, you can also do it online by yourself.
Electricity and LPG
In the event that you are not satisfied with the provider who already is in the house, you can use a price comparison website. One of them is energievergelijk where you can also find packages to combine with other services. Cancellation of a contract can be done on a monthly basis. The cost is based on approximately how much you consumed.
You can’t choose the water provider since it’s public and there are 10 providers from the different regions all over the Netherlands: If you have a meter you pay exactly the water you consumed, if not, as with the electricity, it goes to an approximate estimation, taxes for the pipes, maintenance etc., again depending on how much you consumed and finally the garbage, which are priced according to how much you threw away, since the trash card is for that particular house. Every 6 months the bills come.
Again, as with electricity, you can compare packages and providers. It is noteworthy that they offer a 50% discount for 6 months. A useful website for comparing prices in case you did not book a package together with the other accounts is prijsvergelijken. For one person, the prices for optical fiber for 50 and 100 are very satisfactory.
Available mobile phone companies:
- Lyca Mobile
For Erasmus students:
If you are not working: You don’t need to get a Dutch number, you can easily use your package for 4 months, having simply activated roaming from your mobile settings . After the 4 months according to the European Union, your provider will charge you:
€0.022 per minute of voice call
€0.004 per text message
€2 per GB of data ( maximum in 2022, it will decrease over time to €1/GB, which will be the maximum surcharge from 2027 onwards) (mobile roams)
If you get a job, which needs a Dutch bank account, you need a Dutch phone plan. In this case the best you can do is to get a simple sim, put money in it and activate a package from the app in question.
For Master students (1 year):
The same thing that applies for erasmus applies here as well, with the difference that after 4 months you can consider if it is in your interest to use a package from one of the cheap companies and change it to your old one every 3 months.
For Master (2 years) and Bachelor students:
Choosing one of the above companies is a good idea. They offer very good packages with very good prices and 50% discounts for the first 6 months if you sign a 2 year contract. They give for a small cost unlimited minutes and sms to everyone, upgrade to 4G+ and lots of features and GB, with many of them easily and quickly changed from the app as needed.
Important! If you are also in search of a new phone, check if a company can give you the device as a gift with a 2 pack and it’s worth the price difference with a single pack (an indicative site, use google for further information: https://www.prijsvergelijken.nl/telefoon-abonnement/)
More information on roaming:
Mobile roams. Europe. Retrieved January 7, 2023, from https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/consumers/internet-telecoms/mobile-roaming-costs/index_el.htm
- There are biking rules in the Netherlands
- The sign that applies to car, applies also to the bikes
- Μake sure you always turn on your bike lights after it starts getting dark
- Do not use your phone while biking
- Be careful where you park your bike, because it might be easy to get stolen
- Before turning right or left, make sure that you extend your arm towards the direction where you will go
- You need yellow or white lights at the front and red at the back of the bike
- Suggestions to get a bike:
- Market place facebook
- Second-hand bike shops: be alert of abnormally overpriced bikes
- Swapfiets: rent a bike for a monthly rate, service is included in the monthly price
Places that you can get a bike
You can rent bikes from:
You can buy bikes:
- Bikes in Groningen
- Ganze Fietsen
- Budget Bikes
- Bike Center Dik
- TrendEWheels Groningen
- Mayor’s Bike
In addition, you can find second-hand and cheaper bikes in facebook group chats
Public transport in the Netherlands
The basic form of public transport within Groningen are buses. In order to get access to the buses, you need either a public transport card or a ticket. More details about the different options can be found below:
- Public transport card: for students in the Netherlands, there are two types of cards. The first one is the ov-card which allows you to travel without the need to get a ticket each time. With this card, you have access to buses, trains, trams and metros throughout the NL. You can either choose for a personal OV (that includes your name and picture) or an anonymous one. International students can also use the ISIC card
*it is important to mention that for your bus trip you need to check in and out (at the entrance and exit)
*in order to upload subscriptions on your ov-kaart you need to have a personal card
Subscriptions and travel products:
If you plan to use trains or busses often in the NL, it is a good idea to consider some of the subscriptions offered by the NS, Arriva and Qbuzz. More information can be found on the following link:
*Note that these subscriptions apply only to the from of public transport that is operated by the specific company. For example NS and Arriva are two different train companies.
**Above on Qbuzz in mentioned for buses because it is the only available public transport operating within the city of Groningen.
NS group ticket:
The NS group ticket is very useful in instances that you travel occasionally with two or more people together towards the same destination with NS trains, where you can get a ticket for a significantly discounted rate compared with the standard fare. More info can be found on the following link: https://www.ns.nl/producten/en/meest-gekocht/p/groepsticket-daluren
*keep in mind that the group ticket is not valid during peak times on weekdays
Registering with the Municipality / Gemeente
The first thing that is handy to do when arriving in the NL is registering with the municipality (NL: gemeente)
Link 1: Website Gemeente Groningen
Luckily, their website is also in English. Once you have clicked on “English” you get redirected to the following
Are you planning on staying in the NL for at least 4 months? Then you choose, “Moving to the Netherlands”. There are also options for people who are planning to stay shorter than 4 months.
Let’s follow the course for “Moving to the Netherlands”. You are then redirected to a page listing all necessary documents that you need to bring with you to the gemeente in order to be able to register. As mentioned, in order to register you need to visit the gemeente desk in person. You need an appointment for this! This is the address of the office of the Municipality of Groningen next to the Maritinitoren: Kreupelstraat 1, 9712 HW Groningen, with opening times:
These, as listed, include:
Once you register, you will receive you citizen service number or BSN (burger service nummer). Your BSN is very important and you should write it down or save the paper, as it is like your identification number in the Netherlands and is needed -among others- for opening a bank account, getting hired for a job, applying for various allowances/ toeslagen, getting a health insurance/ zorg verzekering and many more.
Once you have your BSN number, it would be advisable to apply for your DigiD. Your DigiD is necessary for arranging matters -like the ones mentioned above- safely online.
Link 2: Apply for DigiD
Link 2 takes you to the website for DigiD which is also available in English
The whole procedure can take a few days to weeks since you have to receive a code by letter in order to activate your DigiD. After that, you can also download the DigiD app and easily log in and apply for studiefinanciering, zorgtoeslag, huurtoeslag or a zorgverzekering in case you meet the other requirements. More information about how to apply for allowances, insurance or study financing you can find under the respective tabs.
BSN – Burger Service Number / Social Security Number
The following links lead to websites in DUTCH
Anyone moving to the Netherlands for at least 4 months has to register with the gemeente within 5 days of moving.
Link 1: Moving to NL/ immigration
Anyone moving to the Netherlands for less than 4 months, a different type of registration is necessary.
Link 2: Moving to NL <4 months/ RNI
The following links lead to websites in DUTCH
As a student in the NL, you might have the right to various subsidies (NL: toeslagen). These include:
–Huurtoeslag :rent subsidy
Conditions for the tenant:
- The age of the tenant
- The financial ability of the contractees (including savings accounts etc)/ vermogen
- This is calculated every year. For 2022 must the yearly income of each contractee separately not exceed 31.747 euros. For partners must the yearly income together not exceed 63.494 euros (see link 1 for changes each year).
- The income of the contractees (inkomen); this determines the amount of huurtoeslag that the contractee(s) can receive . Study financing/ studiefinanciering does not count towards this calculation!
- Through clicking link 6 you can calculate the amount that you have right to.
Link 6: https://www.belastingdienst.nl/wps/wcm/connect/nl/toeslagen/content/hulpmiddel-proefberekening-toeslagen
Conditions for de woning
- The rent price
- All tenants 18 to 23 y/o : the exclusive rent (de kale huur) plus certain service costs* must not exceed 442,46 euros (2022; this changes every year. See link 1)
- At least 1 tenant 23 y/o or older : the exclusive rent (de kale huur) plus certain service costs* must not exceed 763,47 euros (2022; this changes every year. See link
- The type of housing
Not all types of housing are eligible for huurtoeslag. In the following link (link 5) you can find precise information about different types of housing (like houseboats, student housing etc) but there are some general conditions:
- It has to be an independent dwelling (zelfstandig woning) ; this means the contract is for the whole house and the contracts are not per bedroom. Or otherwise stated, the contract gives the contractees exclusive access to use of all of the rooms hereafter:
- An own living-/ bed- room
- An own kitchen with a counter, water supply and drain and a power supply for a cooking device
- An own wc with its own ability to flush water
- An access door, which can be locked from within and outside of the dwelling
Link 5: https://www.belastingdienst.nl/wps/wcm/connect/nl/huurtoeslag/content/voor-welke-woningen-huurtoeslag
How to apply
- Got to “mijn toeslagen” : https://www.belastingdienst.nl/wps/wcm/connect/bldcontentnl/belastingdienst/prive/toeslagen/inloggen_op_mijn_toeslagen
- Log in with DigiD (use the DigID app)
- You should already see a list with toeslagen : zorgtoeslag, kindgebonden budget, huurtoeslag and kinderopvangtoeslag >> choose huurtoeslag
- Submit the form
If more information is necessary they will ask for it immediately or via post. Normally there is the possibility to submit the information through the website
–Zorgtoeslag: subsidy for health insurance
(link 2: https://www.belastingdienst.nl/wps/wcm/connect/nl/zorgtoeslag/zorgtoeslag)
You might also have the right to study financing (NL: studie financiering). Study financing includes a “gift” (that you don’t have to pay if you graduate within 10 years) and a loan.
–Aanvullende Beurs : Gift
(link 3 :https://duo.nl/particulier/aanvullende-beurs-of-toelage/)
–Studiefinanciering: Study financing (loan)
(link 4: https://duo.nl/particulier/studiefinanciering/)
During your Studies
Learn more about the Dutch Culture and traditions here.
Dutch Language Lessons
Italki is available as a website and an app. Downloading and registering is free. In italki there are both professional teachers and community tutors who can help with learning a language against an hourly fee.
- Staatexamen ; NTII
Working in the Netherlands
Laws regarding working in NL
Everyone living and working/studying in the NL needs to have basic health insurance (basisverzekering). This covers healthy expenses like visits to the GP (huisarts), the hospital, the psychiatrist and the pharmacy. (link 1: https://www.rijksoverheid.nl/onderwerpen/zorgverzekering/vraag-en-antwoord/ben-ik-verplicht-een-zorgverzekering-af-te-sluiten )
International students in the NL are often insured against health costs from the country of origin. This is usually the European health insurance and the costs it covers depend on the health insurance of the student in the country of origin.
Sometimes however, the European insurance card is not enough. Link 2 leads to a website in english explaining when a foreign student has right to or is legally required to get a public health insurance in the Netherlands
(link 2: https://www.studyinnl.org/plan-your-stay/insurance )
If you are working part or full time in the Netherlands and have a public health insurance you might be eligible for the health subside/ zorgtoeslag . The zorgtoeslag is a subsidy that covers an amount of the monthly health insurance costs.
The Noordelijk Belastingkantoor is basically the municipality tax that registered residents of the municipality of Groningen are obligated to pay every year. This tax is sent to residents that rent a house/apartment/studio/shared flat etc. under their own name. This means that students/residents living in a student housing compound, such as the SSH, do not receive this tax.
The tax notification arrives by mail, under the resident’s name, at the registered address. This physical mail, not e-mail, usually arrives in the early months of the year. Most of the time, this is around February-April. So, for example, the tax notification mail for the year 2022 will arrive during the period of February-April of 2022.
It is possible to ask for remission in the case the tax is too expensive for you to pay, or you think something is not as it should. This can be done via the website. Here you can see what it looks like. The button you need to press in order to begin the remission process is called ‘’Kwijstschelding’’ or ‘’Remission’’ if translated. From that point on you need to follow the procedure, fill in the necessary personal information (name, age, address, study/work info etc.) and upload some documents (rental agreement contract, bank statements, passport etc.) After you submit your remission request, you will wait for either their answer or their request for further information/document upload. This can take multiple months. Either way, it is something worth doing since the tax amount you will have to pay can be severely reduced, so we highly recommend it.
The payment of the tax can be all at once, or it can be paid in up to 10 monthly installments. This is completely up to you to decide. In the mail you will receive with the tax, an extra folder will be included for you to pay. We recommend you don’t do it that way, but instead pay online via the website. Via the website, you can also set up the monthly installments. The payment or arrangement of payment can be done through the ‘’betalen’’ or, if translated, ‘’pay’’ button. You will then find all the possible options regarding payment.
The tax includes a whole calendar year.
Logging in online is possible via https://mijn.noordelijkbelastingkantoor.nl. It can be very useful in order to keep track of the amount you still need to pay, payment methods, remission requests etc. In order to login online, the use of DigiD is required.
In case you come upon a problem or have a question that is not available on the website, you can always call the support line. Despite the bad reviews, they can prove very helpful, and they also speak good English, so give them a try.
Finally, before renting a place, discuss with your landlord about the tax and who is going to be paying for it. Most of the time the tax is not included in the rental agreement, so arranging this beforehand can save you from stress and skirmishes with the landlord in the future.
Student’s Guide Question Form