A Blog by International Students at Leiden University

Student Housing – Which City Shall I Pick? pt. 1

As a prospective student, there are a lot of things to consider. A really big question you might be asking yourself right now, is where to live during your studies: Leiden, The Hague or even somewhere else? In this article, I’ll have a look at the main arguments for and against each location.

First of all, I have to warn you that it can be really tough to find a place at all, especially if you are searching during the summer months. The Dutch housing market is fast-paced, meaning that a lot of properties are listed this week and already rented by next week. I’m not going to lie, I’ve heard a lot of frustrating stories. So far though, all of them had a happy end. Just make sure to start looking in time (preferably in person!) and apply to a lot of different places, then you’ll be fine!


Photograph by Laura Cirigliano

When I decided to study in Leiden, I emailed countless landlords and housing agencies – but seldomly got any answers. When the University couldn’t offer me student accommodation either, I was getting really nervous. In the end, I opted to stay in the Student Hotel (in The Hague) for a semester. It was wonderful to become part of a community right on arrival, like a home away from home. During my stay there, I started house-hunting (or rather student-room-hunting) and ended up in a lovely place, just outside of Leiden.

There are a couple of things to consider when choosing a city to live in. There is a great blog, written by Sebastian, with the most important questions to ask yourself. Find it here:

Let’s have a look at the first city:



Photograph by Laura Cirigliano

The obvious choice – but with good reason! Leiden is a beautiful city, full of students and bustling with life. It’s cosy, without feeling cramped, and most of the university facilities are located here: several faculties, the main library, the student centre (plexus) and of course the university sports centre (USC). Everything is just a short bike ride away, so you can easily go to your morning yoga session before your first lecture.

When you’re not studying, you can enjoy countless cafés, parks and restaurants – even after three years of living here we haven’t tried all of them. Beyond that, you’ll find movie theatres, bouldering halls, the rowing club and the International Student Network (ISN) right in the centre, so life in Leiden never gets boring.

If you’re studying at a faculty located in Leiden, chances are that most of your friends will also live in Leiden. This can make a big difference! Living outside of Leiden, it sometimes doesn’t make sense to go to my friend’s house for an hour. If they live just around the corner, you can drop by whenever you want!


Photograph by Laura Cirigliano

What about travelling in the Netherlands? Leiden’s central station is a major hub, with frequent trains running to every part of the country. You can go to Amsterdam in less than an hour, and the next international airport is even closer!

The only real disadvantage of living in Leiden is that the rent can be quite high and it can be difficult to find a room. But if you are persistent enough and have just a little bit of luck, you can find a nice place close to the centre (that will not lead to your inevitable bankruptcy).

So much for Leiden, in the second part we’ll have a look at The Hague and the towns surrounding Leiden!

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