Property types

Housing in the Netherlands

The Netherlands is one of the most densely populated countries in Europe, with almost 400 people per square kilometre. With little available space, houses at the lower and middle end of the market tend to be fairly compact out of necessity. How you see this depends on your experience in your home country. Most Europeans claim that housing is expensive and the gardens small. Americans used to the spacious properties frequently found in their home country also feel that the rooms themselves are small (particularly children’s bedrooms). They are more likely to require the more luxurious end of the market in terms of decoration, fixtures and fittings. Those coming from places such as Singapore however, where land is also at a premium, may see things differently. Wherever you come from, it is essential to realise that the housing available will probably not be the same as you are used to!

Types of houses


Renting an apartment is probably the best option for those looking for privacy. An independent apartment is ideal for professionals or even students but pricing might be an issue.

Shared apartments

These shared apartments offer private bedrooms and shared facilities (living room, kitchen, bathroom and garden/balcony)


  • Detached houses (Vrijstaand)
  • Semi-detached houses (Twee onder een kap)
  • Terraced/Town houses (Rijtjeshuis)

Landlord hosting

It is common for landlords or even families to rent out part of their houses to students and young professionals. You will have to comply with the family rules but you might enjoy family-cooked meal every day.

Temporary Houses

Holiday homes  & Houses for sale.


What to expect?

  • Houses are smaller and more compact than in many countries. But Dutch builders are extremely skilled in maximizing the use of space!
  • One bathroom in The Netherlands is the norm. Showers are more common than baths in most houses and apartments.
  • Dining rooms are a luxury, normally there is an open kitchen and living room with a dining area. Kitchens generally have four gas rings with a microwave. Ovens are not always standard.
  • Washing machines are sometimes located in the kitchen or in the bathroom (especially in the older or smaller houses/apartments).
  • Garages tend to be used as storage space in The Netherlands.
  • Parking permits are needed in some areas, particularly if you are living in the center of the city.
  • Houses usually have insulation and newer buildings will be double-glazed.


Costs of housing

The cost of housing depends on the area and the size of the property.

Most expats rent properties but some buy their homes. Both options are available depending on your company relocation policy, income and the length of your stay. Read more about the costs of a rental or owned house.

Rent or buy?

There are several factors to consider when deciding whether to rent or buy a house in the Netherlands.  If you plan to stay in the Netherlands for a short period it may be more advisable to rent a property rather than buy one. Find out more reasons to choose whether to rent or buy a property in the Netherlands.

Due to a lack of information on the local property market, laws and rules, it is advisable for newcomers to use the services of an estate agent (makelaar), rather than trying to find a property by themselves.  This applies to both renting and buying properties and saves unnecessary costs that might be incurred on top of an agent’s commission. Read more information in our Housing section.

How we can help you

ExpatsHaarlem offers a wide range of services to make your relocation to or your house hunting in the Haarlem area as smooth as possible. Many of our services are free of charge for our registered members. Have a look at our services and contact us for any help.


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