Dutch housing custom

What to know about living in Groningen

The Netherlands is a well-organized country in many aspects and the Dutch tend to have norms and values that they adhere to. Because it is a small country with a high population density, people take the standards into consideration in their daily lives so it is clear what behaviours are expected from one another. International people are also expected to understand these norms and respect them.

Norms and standards also apply to sharing housing accommodation, and you are expected to know and adhere to the house rules.  For example, you should adhere to noise restrictions (ie: quiet time between 22:00 hrs and 7:00 hrs) and be considerate at other times so as not be a nuisance to your neighbours; take the trash out regularly and put it in its proper place (not place it in the hallway outside your room); and store your bicycle in designated spaces, if available (not obstruct doorways or block passageways on the sidewalk). It is also expected that everyone tidies up after themselves in the kitchen and other common areas and also thoroughly clean the spaces regularly. Some houses may have regular cleaning schedules, either with outside help or on rotation within the house, and it is expected that you participate and stick to the schedule.

Of course, you are allowed to have visitors to your room. But if the visitor comes by often and uses up resources in the house that are common to everyone, you should offer to contribute extra if there is a common fund for these items. Likewise, if the visitor hangs out in the common areas too often, it may cause some friction with the other housemates so it is always a good idea to know the visitor policy and have good communication with housemates.

Should a problem arise with a housemate, it is always preferable to discuss the issue face-to-face with the housemate, perhaps with a neutral person present to mediate. Leaving notes or sending emails will almost always escalate the problem. Dutch people tend to want to talk about an issue sooner rather than later so it can be resolved quickly and directly.