Living Costs: the Low-down on Your New Spending Habits

Congratulations, you’ve arrived in the Netherlands! Or, you’ve recently been accepted to study at a Dutch university and you are looking forward to arriving. As an international student, it’s not always easy to know exactly how much money you are going to be spending each month. How should you determine your living costs as a student in the Netherlands? Well, here’s the answer: you read our post and see for yourself what kind of expenses you will be handling!

What are students' living costs?

According to Eurostudent, students studying in the Netherlands have living costs pertaining to 3 main areas: 37% on housing, 15% on fees, and 3% on transport. This distribution is per month. Let’s break down each category, shall we?


One of the largest living costs, by housing, we mean things like your monthly rent. A typical room, whether alone in an apartment or in student housing with roommates, might cost you around €300-700 a month. Almost 30% of students live in student accommodation. This might be an apartment that you share with other students or maybe even a studio. Usually, most international students do this in their first year of study or even if they are exchange students for a semester or two. However, don’t forget other housing costs like utility bills or the internet deals you got for your new place!

Image of housing as living costs


The relatively low Dutch tuition fees have long been hailed as one of the best reasons to study in Holland. On average, EU/EEA students pay a little over €2000 a year for tuition fees, whereas non-EU/EEA nationals pay close to or more than €8000 a year.  However, these fees are subject to change each year. You can find out much more about tuition fees here. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t forget about student financing! If you meet certain requirements, you might be allowed to apply for student financing. This can cover your fees, provide you with a supplementary grant, and even a student travel product. Check out our pages on student financing here.


Some students choose to use public transport, whereas others prefer to bike. Not only can you bike around the Netherlands in the summer, but you can also bike to and from class or campus. It’s as easy as that! If you meet the requirements for student financing, you receive the student travel product, which essentially means free travel!

Image of transport as living costs


How much you spend on food depends on your personal situation. What foods you eat, how much you eat, and what deals you can find depends on you, my friend. Then again, most students spend around €170 per month in the supermarket. The cheapest supermarkets in Holland include Lidl, Aldi, and Dirk. It’s important to remember that bigger cities like Amsterdam and Rotterdam will be more expensive than smaller cities like Eindhoven or Delft. Equally, the cost of eating out depends on where you eat. At most budget-friendly (and budget journal friendly) places, a meal will cost you somewhere between €10-20.

Image of supermarket with deals

Daily expenses

Other daily expenses include things like clothes, school supplies, and books. Oh, and not to mention activities like going out or visiting museums, for example. Club entries are usually around €5-10, depending on when you get your tickets and what clubs you are going to. Drinks are also quite expensive, ranging from anywhere between €3 to €10. Course books or manuals tend to be quite expensive. It’s always a good idea to buy second hand. To find second-hand books, try checking out your course or university Facebook pages. Another alternative is to buy the books new and later sell them when you are done with them.

Other living costs

Other costs of living include insurances and permits, for example. If you are working as an entrepreneur, you might need to apply for a working permit. Similarly, you might also need insurance. You can now easily sign up for health insurance through College Life and then calculate how much healthcare allowance you might be eligible for from the government. It's all about saving money so you can spend it on what you actually care about!

Image of other costs of living

All in all, you might be looking at total living costs of around €1000 or more per month. That's less than (or at least almost equal to) living costs in countries like England, for example. All in all, you can always stick to a budget and apply for any allowances that you are eligible for! At least now you have one more item crossed off your 'things to research about studying in the Netherlands' list...

What things have you found you spend the most money on? Let us know in the comments!

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