Cost of Living in Netherlands: Travel and Stay International for Students

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    Bhavya Rawal

    Study Abroad Expert

    The Netherlands is popular among students because of the high quality of life there, even being listed on the QS Best Student Cities Top 100. However, one cannot ignore the fact that it is a rather expensive country to live in. The cost of living in the Netherlands is nearly 210% higher than in India.

    Hence, international students must plan ahead on how to cover their expenses. One of the best options is to apply for scholarships like the Holland Scholarship, which awards students EUR 5,000-15,000 for their study costs. The LEARN for Impact Scholarship also provides international students EUR 10,000-22,000 for the same purpose.

    Cost of Living in Netherlands: Travel Guide

    Students from India can travel to the Netherlands by flight, with the one-way ticket price being INR 54,000-67,000. Most international arrivals are in the Amsterdam Schiphol airport. From there, once you have got your Netherlands student visa checked, completed immigration and collected your baggage, you may move out to your accommodation facility using the extensive public transport network in the Netherlands.

    Netherlands Travel Restrictions

    India is not on the list of high-risk countries, and therefore is currently not subject to the flight ban. However, in the context of students, only the following persons are allowed to travel to the Netherlands:

    • You must already have a long stay visa or mvv.
    • You must be a student coming to the Netherlands for a stay of longer than 3 months, do not require a long-stay visa and have a sponsor letter from the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND).
    • You must have a valid residence permit for the Netherlands.

    If you are not sure whether you meet the above criteria, know that you need to get a type D visa sticker in your passport to be able to travel to the Netherlands. If you are going to travel to the Netherlands, you need to take care of the following things:

    • Taking a coronavirus test is not compulsory for Indians, but you must definitely undergo 10 days quarantine upon arrival
    • You must fill in a health screening form.
    • It is necessary that you wear a facemask in the aircraft and at the airport

    Even after you have completed quarantine, you might not be able to travel around the Netherlands, especially if you are in the capital city. All non-essential stores and other public venues in Amsterdam are closed until 2 March 2021

    Cost of Transportation in Netherlands

    Public transportation in Netherlands is one of the best in the world. Although you will mostly be using public transport during your time there, it is useful to know the travel costs of all the various modes of transport:

    • The Dutch frequently travel by bike, so much that nearly all cities have designated bicycle lanes. Buying a new bike is costly - around EUR 250-500 - so most students buy second-hand bikes for EUR 50-150. You can also rent them for EUR 10-40 per day.
    • Trains in the Netherlands are operated by NS, and they are of two types - the Sprinter and the Intercity, which are slow trains and fast trains respectively. The ticket prices vary with destination, but you can expect a single ticket to cost at least EUR 4-5. It is possible to purchase a 40% discount card for train tickets for travelling outside rush hour.
    • Buses are also an easy method of transport, costing EUR 2 for a single ticket.
    • Similar to buses, trams can be used to get around the city for tickets of EUR 3-13.
    • Metro lines are available in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, with charges of EUR 1-3 for an average journey.
    • When getting a taxi, you can always ask for the approximate cost of the journey. The start rate is usually EUR 7.5.
    • Ferries make for a unique experience, and you can use it to reduce your cost of living in Netherlands if you are travelling by cycle, as there are free ferry rides for cyclists from port to port. Some ferries also need tickets of EUR 1-2.

    The Dutch normally do not use cash to meet travel costs. One of the best options for managing transportation costs in the Netherlands is to get an OV Chipcard. It is of two types, that is the anonymous OV Chipcard and the personal OV Chipcard. Both cost 7.50 euros and remain valid for five years. However, if you are staying long term in the Netherlands, it is advisable to get the personal card, as you get the option of adding passes and availing age discounts, and this brings down your total cost of living in Netherlands. These cards can be topped-up online or at a ticket machine. You must have a minimum of EUR 20 to travel on trains.

    You can visit the websites of public transport operators in major cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam and the Hague for more information on transportation in the Netherlands.

    What to Do Upon Arrival in Netherlands

    After settling down in your accommodation in Netherlands, there are a couple of necessary things to do, the first being registering yourself as a resident in the city council’s Personal Records Database (BRP), if you are staying in the Netherlands for more than 4 months. Through this process, you can obtain your Citizen Service number (BSN), which is required to open a bank account, take out health insurance or get a job/internship position in the Netherlands. The following documents are needed to complete the registration:

    • Passport, and a copy of this passport
    • Copy of your rental contract
    • Student card, or proof of registration at a university

    You may apply for a DigiD, after you get the BSN. A DigiD can be used to log in to government websites like DUO, Belastingdienst or municipality services.

    The most important step is to open a bank account. This is required to manage your funding to study in the Netherlands. You can visit the nearest bank with the following documents:

    • Your passport
    • Student card or other proof of enrollment
    • Tax Identification Number
    • BSN
    • Declaration of consent

    You must fill in the application form meant for international students.

    Cost of Living in Netherlands: Accommodation Costs

    Universities in the Netherlands usually do not have on-campus accommodation, so you are expected to find accommodation on your own. However, some institutions provide housing services in tie-up with companies, often for a small fee. You can go for these, or you can use the free resources on the university websites, on where to find accommodation nearby.

    The average room rent in the Netherlands for a single person is EUR 300-600, and the rooms are mostly furnished. Depending on the type of property, you can budget for these costs:

    • Private room - EUR 300-500 per month
    • Studio apartment - EUR 500-1200 per month
    • Full apartment - EUR 1100-1500 per month

    Students generally live in a house or an apartment, on a sharing basis. If you are renting a room from a student housing company like DUWO or SSH Student Housing, you can expect to find

    • Curtains
    • Floor coverings
    • Bed
    • Chair
    • Shelf
    • Washing area

    The rent almost always includes water, electricity, and internet. You will most likely have to share a kitchen, living room and bathrooms with other occupants though. It is important that you start looking for housing at least 3 months before you arrive in the Netherlands, because it is quite difficult to find an affordable property. If you choose a room far away from campus or with too many unnecessary amenities, your cost of living in Netherlands will increase.

    Cost of Living in Netherlands: Top Student Cities

    Students spend between EUR 800 and 1,100 every month, though the cost of living in Netherlands varies in different cities.

    City Cost of Living Accommodation Rent
    Amsterdam EUR 913 EUR 1,283-1,587
    Leiden EUR 841 EUR 836-1,033
    Utrecht EUR 886 EUR 967-1,222
    Groningen EUR 832 EUR 614-765
    Rotterdam EUR 814 EUR 899-1,202

    The capital city Amsterdam has the most expensive student accommodation in the country. If you want to live somewhere cheaper, Groningen is the cheapest student city in the Netherlands, and the countryside is also generally cheap. Still, there is a shortage of accommodation in cities and in the countryside.

    A single student in the Netherlands should budget for these living costs:

    • Food and groceries - EUR 150-170 per month
    • Utilities - EUR 120-180 per month
    • Mobile phone, internet and television - EUR 20-50 per month

    Your student ID card will definitely come in handy in getting discounts at bars, restaurants, cinemas, museums, festivals, etc. You can use your university ID card, an International Student Identity Card (ISIC), or a Dutch CJP discount card. Other than discounts, you can also manage your cost of living in Netherlands by getting a part-time job or an internship.


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