You are in the Netherlands. Great! You are one step from realizing all your dreams!
Well, you think you are but I’ll not be the one to tell you that actually you’re (so) wrong.
Anyway, now that you’re here, you probably need to find a room or a house. The grachten are nice but probably you’re not a fan of sleeping under the bridges. Not only for the humongous rats that might keep you company and eat your nose off. It’s simply a fact that everybody in 2015 would expect to have the chance to rest and build a new life with the support of a nice shelter where you can refuge yourself.
Finding a house in the Netherlands – my adventures & weird experiences
I’m not here to tell you the best way to find a house in the Netherlands, but to share with you my story of a fresh emigrant arrived in the capital with 6 pieces of luggage and very few money.
I didn’t know anybody when I came here and I understood after the first researches that it was quite impossible to find a reasonably cheap room in Amsterdam when I was still in Italy.
Somewhat hopeless, I decided “to sell my soul”. I told myself: “you’re gay, so you’re most probably going to burn in hell anyway… Play dirty then”.
My first room
I’ve found my first room using a popular gay dating website. I cannot deny that the fact that I’m usually considered a pretty boy helped a lot. The shirtless pictures as well. So I’ve found this nerdy Dutch doctor, willing to rent me the storage in his beautiful flat in Gaasperplas for a very good price… But, I had to cook his meals as well. Considering that I’m Italian, it was like he had a private chef at home.
In case you’re wondering, flirting was part of the transaction. It just speeds things up, doesn’t it?
So I arrived in one of the most dangerous places in Amsterdam, late in the night and I entertained myself with a bunch of black guys while I was waiting for Mr. Doc. Of course they were drug dealers but I was honestly naive and full of hope at the time.
I spent almost 3 moths on a mattress on the floor with 2 boxes where I could place my personal belongings and not much more. The guy in the end behaved nicely. When he understood that “I’ll cook for you” didn’t mean “ I’ll do stuff with your cock”, he stopped flirting with me and he acted as a good flat mate.
I was a kind of ghost anyway, because I was waking up early in order to reach the center in time for work, coming home late and looking for another place to stay (possibly with contract… Again, how naive of me).
My second place
Eventually I’ve found a much better (and much more expensive) room in a big house next to the Ring, with 3 other flat mates, a big and well-furnished kitchen in Italian style and lots of gadgets from the movies (the owner was apparently a movie maker). I was welcomed in the house by a full sized Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt poster from “Mr and Mrs Smith”, the little mermaid was always happy to take a bath with me and a poster in front of the toilet was a perpetual reminder that “size does matter”( from the Godzilla movie).
I unfortunately had to keep looking for another room, considering that this one as well was with no regular contract and I’ve finally found my shelter: a studio room in Oost with balcony and shared bathroom (which I have no clue how many people use it but clearly too many), where I will most probably spend the rest of my life, “cause I hate looking for a house in Amsterdam”.
You might say something like “you lazy bitch, you just moved 3 times in 6 years”. Well excuse me, but you have no clue what I had to face while I was looking for a new place to stay.
MY WEIRD EXPERIENCES
For instance, that time when a fancy Indian woman asked me if it was fine with me to have a deal such like this: I was going to pay half of the rent if I was willing to “be kind with her” 3 times a month… At least. I gently took her hand away from my inner thigh and I made clear that I was into boys. Her answer was “one a month then? You can use the backdoor”.
No. Thank you. Bye.
Or that time where a nice Dutch lady advertised a private studio in Prinsengracht with a very fair price… and it ended up to be the storage for the garden with no electricity, still full of her paintings and smelling like a varnish factory (she was an artist, of course… As a good bunch of other lazy profiteers in Amsterdam). I was supposed to freeze or die for intoxication I guess and walk half-naked in the garden to the house if I wanted to take a shower… But still on Prinsengracht, how cool is that? I told her that she was a crazy bitch and I left.
Another amazing landlady was the one that didn’t want me to cook inside the house. Say what??! Yep. I guess I was supposed to do it on the balcony… Or starve to death.
Arabian gay guy
I felt sorry for the Arabian guy looking for a flat mate that had no problems with me being gay because he was gay as well, but he asked me if I could find another place to stay every weekend because the family was usually coming over and “they could have asked questions and they didn’t know about him”.
Or the very weird Egyptian man clearly on drugs that showed me a crap house with an obese black guy on the couch eating some chicken (with no plate or napkin) and a big stain on the floor of my (disgusting) bedroom. I’m pretty sure that somebody gave birth in there or has been killed.
Toilet & refrigerator
From my friends I know about a land lady that couldn’t wait to teach you how to take a dump properly, positioning the toilet paper inside the toilet in stripes or a landlord that placed the fridge in her room “but don’t worry, I’ll tell the other flat mates to take the food before or after you use the room”.
Still looking for housing?
I don’t mean to scare you but all of the above is what you could find. Good for you if you are an Expat (and with this I mean a wealthy emigrant), or if you have good relations with some Dutch people who like you so much that they are willing to introduce you to their secret world of contacts: you’ll find for sure good places (with insanely high rents) or good deals (but nothing is for free in this country, so sooner or later your Dutch friends will ask you for a payback… and good luck with that).
For the rest.. Keep in mind that as a foreigner looking for a house, you’re more a way to milk some money than a real human being.
- Hunger for stories: Barbara, from Veneto to Haarlem - August 5, 2015
- THE FUNNY MISTERY OF LE PETIT ROI AND THE DUTCH SELF-ESTEEM - May 27, 2015
- Spring in the Netherlands is: kids as pavement artists - April 7, 2015