A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
Having just read Laurence’s post Te huur or not te huur, I was inspired to relate my own experiences on the housing issue.
Long before I arrived in Leiden I was working on finding myself a place to live. Now, I’m of a somewhat romantic disposition, so a canal side attic with beams for minimal rent was the ideal. However, I had looked at the university accommodation and found halls that resembled a castle with turrets so decided that would equally satisfy my romantic sentiments. I sent them the not so romantic deposit of 500 euros and patiently waited to be told I had a room. Sometime later, oh, say one or two months, I was told that they did not have any accommodation for me.
So what was I to do? I can tell you that I was utterly clueless. I began to trawl the internet for rooms in Leiden but unfortunately I’m not a Dutch speaker so whether it was a big double room or a broom closet under the stairs I could not say. All I knew was I had to go to Leiden. So off I went to Holland (for the first time, may I add) and spent quite some time in hostels in Amsterdam commuting to Leiden to view rooms.
I think I left it a little late for finding a room. When I finally found one it was indeed a room overlooking a canal with beams. Only, the bed was a small shelf built in to the wall far too high off the ground. I could swing my feet off it like a child on a set of swings. But I had no choice so I paid the deposit of 750 euros plus the 350 agency fee and went off to IKEA to buy some furniture for my empty shell of a child’s room.
About five months later I was fed up with my house. There was no oven, there were rats and that damn bed made me feel like a five year old. Plus the rent was ludicrous. So I set about looking again. I signed up to kamernet online and was overjoyed to find that there were lovely cheap rooms out there in Leiden, just waiting for me to romanticise about them. However, my joy was short lived as no one replied to my emails except one, informing me that as I was not Dutch no one would be interested in me.
So back I went to the agencies, and lo and behold, I found it. THE room. Overlooking Hooglandse Kerk, the beautiful gothic church, in an attic, with beams. I paid the deposit immediately.
So the moral is; there are nice affordable rooms out there, it’s just a herculean task finding them.