Are you a first-year student looking for a room in Rotterdam? This can be a stressful and complicated business! But EM will be offering a few tips that can help you optimise your search and ensure that you aren’t forced – like the international students in this picture – to share a space with six other people.
1. Your first step for the long term: register with a housing corporation like Stadswonen Rotterdam or SSH. Stadswonen charges a one-off fee of 20 euros. They allocate some of their studios and rooms on the basis of the candidate’s registration term: the longer you are registered with them, the sooner you make it to the top of the list of candidates responding to an advert for a studio or room. Experience shows that after having built up a term of two years or so, you have a decent chance of scoring an affordable studio.
In addition, every year, Stadswonen Rotterdam organises a special promotion for first-year students. First-year students who register for this so-called ‘Kameractie’ are actually given priority over candidates with a longer registration term for a selection of rooms offered by Stadswonen Rotterdam.
Kamernet and aunties on Facebook
2. For the short term: register with websites that offer rooms to let. Examples include Kamernet and Kamers.nl. While these sites do charge you a fee, they can come in handy if you don’t have a network of your own in Rotterdam. Landlords use these sites to post adverts for rooms which students can respond to. You do have to keep in mind that far from every house will actually get back to you on your carefully composed email. So we recommend basically responding to every room listed on the site, rather than limiting yourself to one or two stabs.
3. Look for Facebook pages that include room listings like ‘find a room(mate) or house in Rotterdam’. These pages follow the same concept as the aforementioned commercial sites, but they’re free of charge.
4. Post a call on social media. This way, your friends and acquaintances know you’re looking for a room. And who knows: maybe that aunt who likes all your updates actually has a few good connections in Rotterdam – allowing you to score a place of your own.
Anti-squatting and temporary accommodation
5. You could consider anti-squatting. As an anti-squatter, you temporarily rent a room in a vacant building. The fact that you live there protects it from vandalism. How does it work? As soon as the building has been assigned a new purpose, the anti-squat ‘tenants’ have to clear out again – albeit with one month’s notice. Some of this inconvenience is made up for by an incredibly low rent. Organisations that arrange this kind of accommodation include Ad Hoc Beheer, Camelot and Villex.
6. You can also check out rooms that are let on a temporary basis. Every year, quite a few rooms are sublet by students who will be studying abroad for 6 or 12 months. While this may be a temporary arrangement, at least it allows you to cover the first few months as a student in Rotterdam. After subletting for half a year, you’re bound to know more people in the city – meaning that it’s a lot easier to find permanent houses.
7. Are you thinking about joining a student association? That’s another good channel through which to land your own place. Many student association members team up to rent a house together, and when a room becomes available, they usually scope out candidates among their fellow members.
Living with senior citizens
8. You can also check out livable.nl. This organisation hooks up students with volunteer organisations. In some cases, students can live in a senior citizens’ home for low rent – provided they agree to regularly share a cup of coffee with their elderly neighbours. Another option is renting a room in Schiedam. In exchange for low rent, you and five housemates serve as ambassadors for this town on the western edge of Rotterdam.