How to Find a House in Groningen
Finding housing in Groningen can be a frustrating process for students. It’s a big decision that will largely shape your university experience. And because here at /SLASH/ we care about our fellow classmates and readers, we gathered some tips (a huge thank you to Merethe) on how to find accommodation that will hopefully make this ordeal less stressful, and perhaps even enjoyable.
Pick your poison
Firstly, there are two types of accommodation you can get in Groningen as a student, either with an agency (such as SSH) and stay in student accommodation, or with private landlords. Subletting is also an option, but not a recommended one since it’s usually for shorter periods, which means you may end up struggling to find for new accommodation in the middle of the year.
For those who enjoyed their first year in Frascati, another good, and cheaper, option would be a student housing complex. Even if you have been ambivalent about your Frascati experience, student housing is highly recommended since, as the name implies, they’re specifically for students and you don’t have to worry about landlords not renting to you because you’re a student or an international.
Apartments can be quite difficult to get since landlords generally prefer PhD students and families. If you’re thinking about living with a couple of friends, however, a shared house could be a great option for you. A lot of UCG students have gotten a shared house after leaving Frascati and they all highly recommend it if you’re with the right people. On the other hand, if you enjoy your alone time you could try to find an individual room. It’s not too hard to find a place with your own bedroom, but in most places, you have to share the kitchen and bathroom with other people. At least Frascati prepared you for that.
If you’re able to afford it, and you’re looking for a more comfortable and luxurious accommodation, you will probably like the Student Hotel. It is located just north of the Binnenstad, near the UMCG and DOT. They provide different rooms and many facilities such as study rooms, a gym, bike storage and more. You can even pay more to get your own kitchenette in your room, and the rooms are furnished with a large bed and flat screen TV. It is expensive though, with prices being between (€744 and -€923 per month).
If you’re looking for a completely different housing experience, you could also try finding a houseboat. Houseboats are extremely popular among students in Groningen, but even more so competitive. Keep in mind that if you do find a houseboat, it’s likely to be a bit outside of Groningen. It may not be the most practical option, but then again, most students that have lived in a houseboat loved the experience, so definitely give it a shot if this is something you can see yourself enjoying.
Some very helpful websites that students used and recommended can be found below:
At Home in Groningen Provides information about everything you need to know about finding a place and living in Groningen
Kamernet Very useful and highly recommended, but like most accommodation websites, you need to have a premium account in order to respond to messages and adverts.
Clawq Selects a few housing options for you according to your criteria, and you pay to receive 10-20 suggestions.
Lefier A very cheap website that has a good selection of rooms. You do have to pay a one-time fee of €30 to be able to get a room.
Huurexpert Provides apartments and houses.
In addition, find and join groups on Facebook about accommodation in Groningen.
Arguably even more important than the place you’ll be living in, is the people you’ll be living with. Landlords are often picky when it comes to internationals, and specifically guys, so it would be ideal to have a Dutch person or a girl in your group. Living with your friends can be incredibly fun, but besides being comfortable living with them, you also need to make sure you have compatible living preferences. These are simple things like cleaning schedules and house rules. Although these may not seem paramount to some of you now, they can quickly transform a pleasant living experience with friends to an inescapable housing arrangement with people you can no longer stand. Finally, keep in mind, that although the people you’ll be staying with will be a very important aspect of your life here in Groningen, as a student you won’t be spending all your time at home. Therefore, your flatmates don’t necessarily have to be your best mates, just people who you can mutually agree on and respect certain ground rules, and whose company you can enjoy.
Another note that’s not really relevant in your search for accommodation, but has been causing a lot of stress to some UCG students (especially internationals) is where to store your belongings over the summer. The cheapest option would be to try and find friends who already have a place here in Groningen and ask to leave your things with them. Another option is to start paying rent for your new place as soon as your SSH contract expires, so you can leave your stuff there over the summer holidays. That might be a bit expensive though, so it’s highly recommended to rent a storage unit for the summer. It can be quite cheap, especially if you share it with a friend. This storage company is highly recommended.
Finally, if you want to hire an agency to help you in your search, here is a list of agencies, that we’ve split into two categories: ones you should try and ones you should avoid, based on past experiences of students
Agencies to try:
- Maxx - K&P
- Havos Vastgoed
- Kaan - Rental Today
- SSG Vastgoed
- Vastgoed Groningen
- Woldering Verhuur
Give this article a read as well for more information on what agencies to avoid and why.
The motto “better late than never”, doesn’t really apply to finding a house in Groningen. If you don’t start soon enough, you might end up settling for second-best (or worse). The sooner you start, the better your chances of finding your ideal home. We tried our best to give you the most helpful tips and information to make this process easier for you, but don’t be fooled, because, as you’ll see for yourselves, getting your own place can be a lot of work, and you have to be willing to put in the effort. Despite that, there’s no need to excessively stress over finding housing, because although it can be competitive, all UCG students end up finding a place. And if not, don’t be closed-minded; homelessness could be a pretty exciting experience.