Is it your dream to live in a student room in a stately mansion on the Rapenburg, which is one of Leiden’s and the Netherlands’ most picturesque canals? Or would you prefer to live in a large student complex? As you’d expect of a real student city, Leiden offers a broad choice of accommodation. But how do you actually find a room in Leiden, and what will change for you after you do?
Leiden University student housing office
Leiden University has its own student housing office that can help prospective students find a room or apartment in Leiden and The Hague. The office offers a useful step-by-step guide through the application process, including the criteria to see if you are eligible for assistance and the most important dates and deadlines. It also gives you an idea of the type of accommodation, along with the prices you can expect to pay.
Most students in Leiden find a room through DUWO, which is the largest student accommodation corporation in the Netherlands. With rooms of all types and sizes, in or near the city centre, this organisation is the ideal place to start your search. After registering with DUWO, there are two ways you can find a room.
In most cases, you’ll be sharing a house with other students. During what is akin to an open house, you’ll need to convince the resident students that you’ll make the ideal new roommate. If you succeed, DUWO will be informed of the decision and you can move in.
DUWO can also help you find individual accommodation. However, this is only possible for a very limited number of rooms in the larger complexes and these are allocated to prospective tenants by lottery. Please note that during the first year, only students with a travel time priority will be eligible to apply for these rooms.
Travel time priority
If you are a prospective first-year student and you live far outside Leiden you may be eligible for travel time priority. This is an advantage because it means you can apply for the rooms that come free in DUWO's 12 largest properties.
Tips on finding a room
- Do not leave it too late. It can take months to find a room, so inform your network in good time and tell everyone that you are looking for a room in Leiden.
- Register with DUWO.
- Use your membership or planned membership of a student association. Many associations control student accommodation for which you will only be accepted if you are a member of the association.
- Read advertisements in University buildings and the noticeboards of supermarkets, for example. And post your own advertisements to let people know that you are looking for accommodation.
- Keep an eye on the availability of student accommodation on various websites, including:
Living in student accommodation
You’ve found a room? Congratulations! Living and studying in Leiden will enrich your life. But it’ll probably take you a while to get used to too, because a lot will change after you leave home. You’ll have to do your own cooking and laundry for a start, and arrange your own finances. But on the other hand, living in student accommodation can be great fun; you’ll enjoy more freedom and you can make your own decisions.
How much does it cost to live in student accommodation?
The average cost of a room in Leiden is about €375 a month. That’s appreciably less than Amsterdam, for example, where you can expect to pay an average of about €450. Then, of course, you’ll also need money for things like groceries, insurance, study materials, transport and going out. So you’ll need to consider how you will approach all this financially.