AmsterDO’s own agony aunt, Amy, uses this month to look at the issues and problems facing anyone searching for a home in Amsterdam.
Summer has truly hit us in Amsterdam at last! I can’t guarantee what the weather is like as you’re reading this, but at the time of writing this it is steaming! Not much sleep is going down in this hot town.
The topic for this month is something very close to my heart right now; finding a home in Amsterdam. Once again the time has come for me to search for new dwellings and, as always, it is proving a challenge. It’s especially hard to concentrate on finding a new place, what with so much going on in this Dam town.
There are festivals, work and, at this time of year, always friends visiting from various parts of the world. I did my share of being festive this July when I headed down to Dour in Belgium…it was as wet and muddy as I expected.
Now though, I’ve gotten that out of my system, and it’stime to apartment hunt. Last year I had a three month spell of homelessness, an experience which teaches you, amongstother things, how vital your friends are and how great they can be at helping out in these hard times. This is when you find your true Amsterdam friends…or even make some new ones. In this city, I do believe I’m not the only one with this story to tell.
I’m going through all the channels to try and find a place;the websites, friends, networking, asking random strangers…all of them except one. This one route that I haven’t gone downis the path of agencies, where they will charge you two month’s rent in addition to their agency fee. It’s a damn expensive route, this one. Of course, if you have the money, it’s a very f easible option. Otherwise, you have to use your brains, talentsand adaptability to have any chance of getting something acceptable. It helps when you have other friends looking too,as it can work out cheaper, plus it can provide you with a whole support system during the time you are looking etc.
Typical websites to look for rooms in Amsterdam are kamernet.nl, and also marktplaats.nl which advertises bothrooms and apartments. Elynx is an online English-speakingcommunity in the Netherlands; an expat site on which you canfind short or long term accommodation. Craigslist.nl is alwaysan option, just be very careful and aware, especially whenthe person says “they are out of town and will not be able to show you the place, but you can look at the outside and wire money to them”. Also couchsurfing.org can always be help fulin emergencies. You will find a lot of people looking for, as well as offering a couch. It can be a good way to network and also make new friends if you are really new in town.
A couple of possibilities have presented themselves so faron my search, but none worth pursuing with intent. I could have had a room in the RLD. It was a studio about the size of awalk-in wardrobe. This might sound small, but sometimes you get to a point where anything would be better than nothing,especially at a good price. Unfortunately this studio was priced at 700 EUR, including the chance to share, not a private, but acommunal shower and toilet! I commented that it was a little overpriced for me, and the landlord then asked me if I had aboyfriend. “No”, I responded, to which he queried, “Why not?” The conversation was going a little off-topic and I told him that,even if I did, there’s no way I could share such a small space with anyone…we would end up killing each other!
But now things are getting a bit more real as regardsmy upcoming homelessness. I might just try looking at the boyfriend option…you just never know
So, given that this is such a common issue for manymoving into and living in Amsterdam, I want to ask you, dearreader, if any of you have your own story to share about ahomeless time in Amsterdam.
I would love to hear it and maybe your story will help meand any other reader who is facing this problem.
And dont forget…Ask Amy… See you all next month and please, while you can, enjoy the sunshine! xxx
So keep those questions coming – feel free to ask me,Amy, anything! firstname.lastname@example.org