Before coming on exchange, I was warned by lots of different people of the struggle to find student accommodation in the Netherlands. This was confirmed by Leiden University who stated that “accommodation is very scarce and competitive”. This was worrying for me as I believe that student accommodation whilst on exchange is the best way to fully immerse yourself in the experience and meet people with the same interests. Despite this, I have now been living in Enthovenplein (student accommodation) for 3 weeks and have loved the experience so far and have some advice on how to find student accommodation!

The housing for Leiden University College (LUC) is organised through Leiden University and is a first come best dressed system. Therefore, my main advice is to apply as early as possible. After you have applied online to Leiden apply for accommodation as you do not need to wait until you are accepted. The application process is simple; you need to pay a housing application fee and fill out a housing application form. The hardest part is choosing your preferences for housing. In The Hague, there are four options; Enthovenplein, Stamkartstraat, Statelann and Leemanstoren. From my experience Enthovenplein and Stamkartstraat are both filled with international students with different clubs and events making it easier to make friends. Despite this, most of the students living in these buildings attend Leiden University not LUC as LUC students live in the same building the classes are held in. To me this has not been an issue as I have been able to meet a different range of people as LUC is often described as a ‘bubble’.

My experience living in Enthovenplein has been amazing so far. I have joined clubs such as the cooking club where we have made delicious Italian and Mexican food, made lots of new friends to plan my travels with and the building is only a 10-minute bike ride away from university. I am living in a shared apartment with four other girls. In our apartment we share a kitchen, living space and have two bathrooms as well as huge bedroom each. As an extra perk the housing office provides you with furniture such as a desk and bed as well as bedding, cleaning and kitchen supplies which saves a lot of money and time when you first arrive. Despite this, you do need to buy your own router to get access to Wi-Fi. In the same building there are lots of other room arrangements ranging from single studio apartments to six share apartments with shared rooms and one bathroom. Therefore, to make sure you get housing as well as your preference it is worth applying early because if you are looking for a single apartment and get given a shared room that will be a bit of a shock. I am paying 590 euro per month for my accommodation.

If you are not searching for student accommodation there are Facebook pages such as ‘Student Housing the Hague’ and ‘Den Haag Housing’ to help find share houses and other housing options. Overall there are cheaper housing options with share houses but I would not recommend this option has much as land lord often don’t allow registration with the town hall which is a requirement to get a residence permit. It can also be more isolating to make friends. One main disadvantage I have found with student accommodation in the Hague is there is hardly any Dutch students and the vast majority of LUC students are international. Therefore, it can be hard to experience Dutch culture. Overall, I am having such a good time at Ethnovenplein and would highly recommend it to incoming exchange students.