Choosing where to live can be a major headache if you do not know the area: the procedures may not be the same as you are used to, and the information will be in a language you may not understand. In an ideal world you will have been to the area a month or so before moving to select your new home. But because this is not always possible, you may need to stay in a hotel or short stay facility when you arrive while you find somewhere to live.

The Netherlands is one of the most densely populated countries in Europe, with almost 400 people per square kilometer. With little available space, houses at the lower and middle end of the market tend to be fairly compact out of necessity. How you see this depends on your experience in your home country. Most Europeans claim that housing is expensive and the gardens small. Americans used to the spacious properties frequently found in their home country also feel that the rooms themselves are small (particularly children's bedrooms). They are more likely to require the more luxurious end of the market in terms of decoration, fixtures and fittings. Those coming from places such as Singapore however, where land is also at a premium, may see things differently. Wherever you come from, it is essential to realise that the housing available will probably not be the same as you are used to!

Housing stock in Brabant and across the Netherlands varies from studio apartments (a single room including sleeping area, living area and cooking facilities) and more traditional apartments with multiple, separate bedrooms, to larger houses (detached, semi-detached, or terraced).

What to Expect

Houses are smaller and more compact than in many countries. But Dutch builders are extremely skilled in maximizing the use of space! One bathroom in The Netherlands is the norm. Showers are more common than baths in most houses and apartments. Dining rooms are a luxury, normally there is an open kitchen and living room with a dining area. Kitchens generally have four gas rings with a microwave. Ovens are not always standard. Washing machines are sometimes located in the kitchen or in the bathroom (especially in the older or smaller houses/apartments). Garages tend to be used as storage space in the Netherlands. Parking permits are needed in some areas, particularly if you are living in the center of the city. Houses usually have insulation and newer buildings will be double-glazed.

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