What You Can Expect Upon Arrival
When finding accommodation in the Netherlands, it’s important to check what – or if any – furniture will be included.
It’s common for rooms in student houses to have essential furniture such as a bed, a desk, a bookcase, a wardrobe all included in the rent. This saves you both the money and effort of getting basic furniture when you’re new to the city, especially if you don’t have a Dutch bank account yet.
As a rule of thumb, the difference between a furnished room and an unfurnished one is that the former will have all the basic furniture you’ll need while the latter will be empty. Keep in mind that some items you might see as necessary for a comfortable living might not be included, so make sure to check before you move.
When renting a room that another student has previously lived in, it’s also possible to buy their old furniture. This way, you’ll probably get a discount, and you won’t have to worry about moving it to your place room. Just be careful of scammers and ask for specifics and pictures of the furniture to judge whether it’s worth your money.
If your room is in a student house or a shared apartment, most furniture and equipment you would expect to use in common areas will probably already be there. This typically includes basic kitchen appliances as well as couches, tables, and chairs in areas where people can gather and hang out. There may even be a washing machine you can use for your clothes.
If you’re renting your own apartment or studio, you’ll probably have to manage most of your furniture by yourself. Still, there are exceptions, and some agencies rent out furniture with the apartment, so make sure to check.
It may be a troublesome task, but making sure that you have all the essentials for comfortable living is important, especially when you’ve just arrived at your new home. If you need to buy a lot, make sure to plan ahead so you’ll be able to take your time buying everything you need.
Basic Furniture That You’ll Definitely Need
There’s some furniture that you just can’t live comfortably without, and one of them is a bed. Even if you want to settle for a mattress with beer crates supporting it, you’ll need somewhere to sleep. As these things are heavy and difficult to move on your own, make sure you get someone to help you buy one if it isn’t already included in your new accommodation.
Another essential thing to have is a nice study area, usually made up of at least a desk and a chair. Even if you prefer to study in the library or a nearby café, you’ll still need somewhere to get things done in your own home, and working while lying in bed just won’t do sometimes.
It can also be nice to have a place to store all your books and other items, so they don’t take up space on a cluttered floor. A bookshelf would, therefore, be another essential item to have. You can even find a small one if you don’t want to splurge or for it to take up too much space.
Something you’ll definitely need is a place to store your clothes. For this, you could get drawers, a wardrobe, a hanger stand, or a combination. It’ll be a good idea to buy something that’ll fit with the number of clothes you’ll expect to need at the ready during your stay in the Netherlands.
Lastly, there may also be various essentials that you’ll need for cooking. Things such as kitchen utensils, cutlery, plates, and necessary tools like scissors and knives all become vital if you want to start cooking your own food. A guide on the basic stuff you’ll need for this can be found further down below.
Basic Furniture – Where to buy it?
Whatever furniture you’re looking for, the odds are that IKEA will have them. They are spread throughout the Netherlands and offer all kinds of furniture and decorations that you might want for your new accommodations. Moreover, they also offer shipping at an additional fee if you’re having trouble with transporting your things.
If you don’t mind not seeing your purchase in real life before, you can always order it online. Even furniture as large as beds can be ordered on Amazon, though the shipping might take a longer time than usual.
Another online option is website bol.com. They have a wide range of cheap furniture, quick delivery to the Netherlands, and free shipping on purchases over €20. Just be careful to read the reviews on whatever you’re looking at, as you would when buying anything online.
You can also go to a nearby second-hand store that sells used furniture. It may be older, but you can also get it for a lower price. Some of these shops give some of their proceeds to charity, which will also help a good cause. Check out what’s in your area and see if some of them have good prices and offers.
You can also go on Facebook and see if others are selling their used furniture. There are many groups dedicated to this and centred on specific cities so you can find something near you. The prices here are usually low and can be haggled down, but you will probably have to take care of transportation yourself.
What Do You Do About Transport
It can be challenging to find out how to transport your furniture if it’s particularly large or heavy. Thankfully, many shops and websites that sell them also offer to ship straight to the door, so all you have to worry about is carrying it to your room. When you buy in a shop, simply ask if they can help with transport if you know it’s going to be difficult for you to figure out otherwise.
If you have to transport your things yourself, you can always take the most Dutch solution: a bike. Bakfiets (literally meaning cargo bikes) are bikes that let you easily transport large objects, and they can be rented for a small fee from various shops all over the Netherlands. Just make sure that you’re ready to put in the physical effort and check the time you’ll have available before returning it.
If you have a driver’s license, you can also take a car. If you have one or know someone who does, it’s a simple matter of picking up your furniture and transporting it to your place. Otherwise, you can always rent a car, though it might be a bit expensive.
It’s also possible to transport something by using public transport. As long as it isn’t large enough to disturb other passengers, it should be allowed. Bring a friend if you think it will help as this way of transport can be quite straining, depending on the distance and the object itself.
Where to Get Electrical Kitchen Appliances
Whether you’re moving into a room and will be sharing a kitchen with other students or you get to have your own, the odds are that many of the kitchen appliances you’ll need will already be included. Things such as a fridge, freezer, stove, and oven are to be expected, though they’re not always guaranteed.
Still, these appliances are a necessity, and if you don’t have them, you should acquire them if possible. Other than these, something you’re probably going to need is a microwave and a kettle. A microwave will make it much easier to heat up pre-made or leftover food, and a kettle is handy for heating up water for coffee, tea, or anything else you might need it for.
Moving on from the essentials, there are some appliances that are nice to own and will make your food a bit more interesting with minimal effort from you. If you buy a blender, you can easily make smoothies, milkshakes, or interesting cocktails. Even more useful, if you get a toaster, you can make your bread warm and crisp. Both of these should be relatively cheap.
You can find your kitchen appliances in a variety of shops. One that you’re bound to find somewhere nearby is Mediamarkt, which specialises in most forms of electronics. They’ll have almost anything you might need of big and small appliances. It is on the more expensive side, though. Other options include BCC, Blokker, Coolblue and more.
If you’re looking for something cheaper, you can also visit a nearby Action. They offer a wide range of practical and decorative wares and will usually sell small kitchen appliances such as blenders, toasters, kettles, and so on. However, keep in mind that they don’t sell larger devices such as fridges and ovens.
Kitchen Utensils – What Do You Need?
If you want to eat anything in your new accommodation, you’re going to need some essential kitchen utensils. Things like cutlery, plates, and bowls are a must if you want to eat even the most basic of meals. They should, therefore, be bought very soon upon arrival or perhaps be brought with you from home.
For the simplest of dishes – the ready-made or frozen ones from the supermarket – you’re going to need some essential tools. Scissors and knives can always come into use, especially if you’re faced with a bag or packaging that’s particularly difficult to open. Oven mittens might also come in handy if you want to take out food you’ve warmed up.
If you feel ready to cook some basic meals for yourself, you’re going to need some pots and pans. With these, you can easily prepare some pasta or throw together whatever you have left in the fridge that looks edible. These are essential for most cooking and should be bought early on.
When you’re cooking your own food, you might as well make the portion big and save some for later. For that, you’re going to need containers to store the food. Then it’s just a matter of putting it in the fridge and warming it up when you want to eat it.
As you get more confident in your cooking skills and want to broaden the selection of food you can make, you might want to invest in more advanced cooking equipment. A strainer can help you drain pasta water easily, and a cutting board is useful when you want to add vegetables and meat.
You can also delve into baking if you wish. Equipment like a whisk and mixing bowl will then be essential to mix the dough and whatever other ingredients are involved. You might also find some use for them in your normal cooking.
It’s always possible to buy more equipment later, so you should focus on having access to all the basics before or upon arrival. It can make cooking a lot more manageable if you have everything needed to do it yourself.
Kitchen Utensils – Where to Buy It?
There are many places you can find whatever kitchen equipment you need. One you might already be familiar with is IKEA, which has most utensils you would need at a reasonable price. There are many IKEA stores scattered around the Netherlands, so you might have one near your city.
You can also stop by your nearest HEMA. They have many things you might need for your new accommodation, including a wide selection of kitchen utensils and equipment.
Another cheap option would be to go to Xenos. This is a chain of shops that sell various things you might need for your home or studying. Included in this is, of course, various kitchen equipment you might need.
Nice Things to Have at Home
Some things may not be considered essential, but they’re still nice to have and can help truly make your place of living feel like home. You can buy decoration pieces like posters, rugs, pillows, and so on in order to bring in some life and personality. While this is by no means an urgent errand, it can help make you further enjoy your stay in the Netherlands.
If you want some more literal life, you could always get a plant. It can be nice to take care of and will bring colour to your room. For something easy to care for, you can get an aloe vera plant or a cactus. Just be careful you don’t overwater your plants!
If you have the space and the budget for it, you might also want to make a comfortable hang-out area. It doesn’t have to be much, but any kind of place where you can go to unwind after a stressful day can do wonders for your ability to relax when you need it. It might also make for a nice place to hang out with friends.
Something a bit more practical that you might want is a board to hang on the wall. Whether it’s an old-fashioned blackboard or a more modern whiteboard, you can use it to write down notes, plan your day, or do small motivational drawings. It also helps in adding a bit more detail and personality to your room.
What You Should Bring From Home
To make it easier on your wallet or reduce the trips to shop for all the things you need, you might want to bring some stuff with you from home. How much and what to bring depends on how you travel and how much you can take with you. There are four factors to consider when deciding whether or not to bring an item.
Is it something you know you’re going to need? Things such as basic kitchen utensils, bed linens, and such are stuff you’re going to need very early on in your stay, and it might not be available at arrival. Bring the things you know you’d need and don’t want to go out and buy right when you get there.
If your item is of high value, it might be worth considering bringing it along instead of buying a new one for the Netherlands. If you have a cooking pot of good quality or a cool desktop computer you want to bring along, do so.
Your item may be of high personal value, and if such, can’t really be replaced with anything you could buy in the Netherlands. A family heirloom or a personal gift may be worth bringing if you want it close to you.
Would your item be just relatively easy to move? You might wish to bring your favourite chair or two bookcases’ worth of books, but the money and space necessary to transport that may very well not be worth it. Keep in mind that it may not be as easy to move the second time as it is the first, especially if you end up with even more stuff.
What to Do When Stuff Breaks
It can be hard to generalise what to do when something breaks as it depends on what that object is as well as who technically owns it. Still, there are some general rules you can go by. If you’re in doubt about who owns what and what counts as your landlord or student housing agency’s responsibility, read through your contract.
If it’s a part of your accommodations like a door, a faucet, or something of the like, you should contact your landlord or student housing agency. It’s then their responsibility to have it fixed, and they will in many cases also pay for any reparations as long as it wasn’t directly your fault.
Larger furniture owned by your student housing agency or landlord should also be replaced by them if it’s necessary. In this case, the bill will most likely be yours to pay. If you own the furniture yourself, you can see if it’s possible to fix. Otherwise, buying a replacement may be necessary.