A Blog by International Students at Leiden University

Affordable student life pt. 3 – Allowances

Here we are in our last segment on how to come to live in the Netherlands without worrying too much about money. You can find the first two episodes here:

Affordable student life pt.1: Work 

Affordable student life pt.2 – Cheap purchases

Now, it is time to speak of another good friend of every student: allowances. In the Nederlands as a student (yes, even if you are an international!), you can get allowances from the government, and while the process may seem very complicated, it is surely worth knowing about. All these possibilities can be found and applied for in the website. Please know that for all these kinds of services you are required to have a DigiID, a digital method of recognition that allows you to get access safely in many government’s websites. You can ask your DigiID here: .

metro station people woman

Free Public Transport

If you have a working contract of at least 7 hours per week you can apply for the so-called “student-product”. This promotion that can be activated on your personal OV-chipkaart allows you to take public transports for free in the whole country.  Through the same application for the Public Transport you can also ask for a student allowance, through which the government will give you a monthly sum to support you during your studies.

orange concrete houses under blue sky

Rental Allowance

Through a section of the DUO website ( you can require a rental allowance if your house reaches certain criteria. First of all, you need to live on your own, with your own bathroom and kitchen and with a door with a lock that separates you from the rest of the building. Second of all, you need to be paying the rent from your own bank account (it doesn’t matter if it is a foreign bank account, as long as it is under your name).  Third, your rent should not be unreasonably high (meaning more than 1000+ euros) or low (roughly under 400). The allowance will give you a certain amount of money on a monthly basis to help you pay the rent!

person holding pen writing on life insurance paper

Insurance Allowance

You have the possibility to work in the Netherlands but you are scared of the money you would have to spend on insurance? don’t worry, there is a solution for this as well. Students can ask for an allowance on their insurance that is around 99 euros per month through the same website of the Rental Allowance ( A basic health insurance in the Netherlands is around 100 euros, therefore, in the end, you will pay a ridiculously low price and you will also have insurance!


Two tips for you!

  • You have just arrived in the Netherlands and you don’t have time to go through the whole process? It is totally understandable, it’s really a bit overwhelming. However, you don’t have to dive into the Dutch bureaucracy right away!  All the allowances are retroactive meaning that they will allocate you the money from the beginning of your insurance, your contract or your registration in the town hall. If you are not in a hurry to get the money, you can definitely apply later on.
  • The website is in Dutch and, since it uses very technical terms,  google translator may not be your best option. But don’t worry! If you ask for help to the international student advisor at the University (both in Leiden and in the Hague) they will help you navigate the website and you will be sure that you have done everything correctly!



My guide for Affordable Student Life is finished! Did you find it useful? Are there any other bits of advice you would like to give or receive? let us know in the comments!


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This entry was posted on May 6, 2019 by in Sara, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , .

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