Funny thing about Amsterdam housing

Updated: Jan 3

Replace funny with horrible and let’s get started. So housing in the capital is a nightmare. I personally have moved 8 times in 5 years. Some were overpriced and waaaay outside the city center about a 40 min bike ride. After being here for so long I only know distances in bike riding minutes. Honestly, trying to find an affordable rental is enough to turn me off of this city although I love her to bits.


If possible, the best way is to rent an entire apartment costing 1000- 1800 euros and share it with friends. Even if you don’t have friends, fake it until you can tolerate them, move in with them then let your true colours shine.


Now after I gave you this brilliant idea don’t get bummed when I tell you that there is a catch. Other than the obvious catch of finding one of those aforementioned apartments. It is the norm for rentals in Amsterdam to be unfurnished. By unfurnished I mean no flooring, no curtains and no lights. That’s right, just concrete and exposed wires sticking out of your ceiling. In some cases, for some obscured reason the bathroom sometimes has a light fixture but don’t get your hopes up.


After nearly electrocuting myself standing on a rickety chair that I found in the garbage, I now have to tell my guests to not touch any lights because of the live wires that I failed to conceal. But I have lighting! They also need to bring their own dishware if they come over to eat but that’s more because I am poor.


I am about to tell you the cheapest way to furnish your apartment. The actual furniture I suggest finding secondhand on http://www.marktplaats.nl or a secondhand Facebook group although if you don’t have a car or moving van it may be an issue since most offers are pick up only. IKEA has a 30 euro couch (ehm are we calling it a couch because it’s more of tight plastic resting on a metal frame with no padding). It comes in orange and gray and fits one and a half people or one fat person. I digress, I will focus on the three core things you need to have in an apartment other than the walls and roof.


Curtains: I am a bit pretentious when it comes to curtains. From IKEA you can buy these 10 euro or less sheer white ones which do absolutely jack shit when you have football field lighting coming through your windows at 2 am, piercing your eyes as you try to sleep. Pretentious much? SO I bought mine on sale from Kwantum called Luna for 15 euros for each package (regular 20 euros). The lady told me to hold up the curtain sample in front of my eyes and look into the light to see how thick it was and it worked like a charm. After looking in multiple stores I realized 20 euros was the minimum average (unless on sale) for thicker curtains. Maybe you can get curtains made for cheaper, well at least the fabric per meter was cheaper but it takes a while for them to make it so I never asked how much it costs.


Lighting: I recommend IKEA dangling light bulb (Swedish translation unknown). It comes with a little clip thingy so you can save yourself buying a screwdriver. If not, you can cut/ rip the clip bit off and buy a screwdriver. I mean my home won’t win any nice lighting awards but at least I am not sitting by the bathroom door trying to do my homework. It basically comes in white, it’s a long cord with a socket for a light bulb at the end of it. The chord tucks into a plastic cup of sorts at the top where the wire connection thing is held. That made no sense so best of luck. I found a sample picture after I typed that description so you can see how accurate it was. I forget what it’s called at IKEA and I don’t remember how much it costs but it was the cheapest option I could find. The picture below is of a child safeguard version of the one I bought but mine was cheaper and dangerous. Action also on occasion has them but I haven’t seen them there for months.

Flooring: Go to Leen Bakker or Kwantum and get carpet (tapijt). At Leen Bakker it is called Tapijt Berlin at Kwantum it is called Tapijt Ridgely Antraciet. At Leen Bakekr it goes for 1.79 per squared meter or 7.16 per 4.90 meters squared. Kwantum was 10 cents cheaper but only had black so I splurged and got the gray from Leen Bakker. If there is concrete underneath you don’t need to put any under flooring down since there is a rubber bottom to it so it doesn’t really slip. Some houses may require you to have a certain thickness of underflooring for noise issues in which case you should probably comply but hey I am not your mom. Now the most beautiful thing about this carpet is the transportation of it. It comes in this massive long roll in store but IT FOLDS like origami. I honestly didn’t really believe the guy so I got my friend to drive and get it with me but I shit you not I could have taken it on my bike, it is so light and bendy. I had about 20 m2 worth. Give it a go, look like a fool because it is worth the savings- Leen Bakker charges 45 euros delivery and Kwantum charges 15.

You’re welcome.

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