Rental property search
4 min

Conquering the Amsterdam Rental Market

4 min

Let's face it, Amsterdam is a dream city. Canals that whisper history, charming cafes overflowing with laughter, and a vibrant art scene that pulsates with life. But for many as an expat, the initial dream quickly collides with the harsh reality of the housing market. A flat hunt can be a whirlwind of frantic viewings, fierce competition, and moments of sheer despair.

But fear not, I'm here to equip you with the knowledge and strategies to conquer the Amsterdam rental market. This comprehensive guide aims to navigate expatriates through the process of finding housing in Amsterdam, offering practical advice and insights.

A Unique Housing System

The Dutch housing market operates differently from many other countries. Here's a breakdown of the key players and concepts you'll encounter:

  • Social Housing (Woningcorporaties): These non-profit organizations manage a significant portion of Amsterdam's housing stock, offering affordable rents with long waiting lists (often years). Eligibility is based on income and residency permits.
  • Private Rentals: This is where most expats find themselves. Landlords can be individuals or estate agents (makelaars) who manage properties on their behalf.
  • Housing Cooperatives (Woning genootschappen): These resident-owned and managed properties offer a unique community experience but often involve a waiting list and adherence to specific house rules.

Government Involvement

Amsterdam's housing market has seen a surge in demand in recent years, pushing rents upwards and vacancy rates down. This has put pressure on both locals and expats vying for limited space. The government is taking steps to increase housing supply, but the situation remains competitive.

  • Rent Control: there is a whole system in The Netherlands to regulate the rental market. An assessment with the point system will determine if an accommodation is in the free sector or not.
  • Tenant Rights: The Good Landlordship Act was established in July '23. Tenants have certain rights and now landlords/agents, need to address these rights to the tenants in writing.
  • Temporary Rent increase freeze: until 2029, landlords can only raise the annual rent by a maximum percentage, set by the Dutch government

Understanding the diverse housing market options


  • Furnished Rental (Gemeubileerde Huur): As the name suggests, the apartment comes furnished and is the most common type. Furnishings can range from the basics to fully equipped. This option can be more expensive but convenient, especially for short-term stays.
  • Unfurnished rental (Gestoffeerde / Ongemeubileerde Huur): Now the apartment comes unfurnished, rents are a bit lower and you can have your own furniture shipped over. Or just buy an entire new house inventory.
  • Bare Rental (Kale Huur): With this type you only rent the bare walls and bare floor. You'll need to arrange and pay for installing floors, painting the walls etc. Rental prices are lower and you will get a rental agreement for an indefinite period of time, but you need to invest your money.

Contracts (the 3 most common ones):

  • Indefinite Term (onbepaalde tijd):  An Indefinite term contract, provides long-term security and stability. It has no predetermined end date and continues indefinitely until either party gives notice to terminate. It often comes with a minimum rental period of 12 months.
  • Fixed Term, maximum 24 months (bepaalde tijd): A fixed term, max 24 months contract is a specific type of fixed-term agreement with a maximum duration of two years. There is no minimum period for a tenant. This contract can't be used anymore after July 1st, 2024, due to Government involvement.
  • Fixed Term, intermediate rental (tussenhuur): A fixed term contract, is a temporary agreement with a predetermined duration, typically ranging from one to five years. The landlord will come back to live in the accommodation himself, after the end of the tenancy.

Different types of Homes

  • Apartments: The most common type of rental. Apartments come in various sizes, from studios (suitable for singles) to spacious family apartments with multiple bedrooms.
  • Houses: While less common, particularly in the city center, single-family homes or townhouses can be found for rent in some areas. Or little outside of Amsterdam.
  • Rooms: Sharing an apartment with roommates is a popular option, especially for budget-conscious expats. Look for "kamers" (rooms) advertised individually or as part of a "woondeelgemeenschap" (shared living arrangement).
  • Utilize online platforms such as Funda, Pararius, and Xpat Rentals to browse available properties.
  • Real Estate Agencies: Engage with local real estate agencies for professional assistance and access to exclusive listings.

Now that you have learned some good basics about the Dutch rental market, now lets get to the nine tips on how to beat your competition and to get you that rental listing!

  1. Prepare a comprehensive application: Stand out by providing a complete application with references, proof of income, and a well-crafted letter of intent.
  2. Be Prompt and Responsive: Respond promptly to listings and be prepared for potential interviews with landlords.
  3. Networking and Expat Communities Expatriate Networks: Join expat communities and forums to gain insights, tips, and potential leads from those who have gone through the process.
  4. Local Connections: Leverage local connections and ask colleagues or friends for recommendations.
  5. Temporary Accommodation Options Short-Term Rentals: Consider short-term rentals or serviced apartments while you search for a more permanent residence.
  6. Hotels and Hostels: Explore temporary accommodation options if you need a place to stay upon arrival.
  7. Remaining Flexible and Persistent Patience is Key: The housing market in Amsterdam can be competitive, so remain patient and persistent in your search.
  8. Consider Temporary Solutions: If necessary, consider initially securing temporary accommodation while continuing your search for the ideal long-term home.
  9. Hire a professional estate agent: If using an estate agent, expect to pay a one-month rent commission fee upon successful mediation. This way you can beat a lot of competition and you are safe from scams.


By following this comprehensive guide, expatriates can navigate the Amsterdam housing market with greater confidence and increase their chances of finding suitable accommodation in this dynamic and welcoming city. Remember, each individual's journey is unique, so adapt these tips to your specific situation and needs.

Good luck with your housing search in Amsterdam!