Dutch housing custom

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.

What to know about living in Groningen

Norms and standards also apply to share 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 neighbors; 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.

Difference between permanent and incidental guest staying

When you want to have guests to stay overnight, there are some rules! It’s normal to ask your roommates or/and landlord if it’s ok that you have guests staying overnight. You should keep in mind that your house is also your roommates home, and they want to know who is staying in their home at night and also by day. You don’t want to scare them when someone they don’t know walks out the bathroom. So if a friend wants to stay over for the weekend or for 1 or 2 days during the week, ask your roommates if they are fine with that. Also please inform your guest about the house rules and make sure they doesn’t bother your roommates with noise or long showers or anything else. It’s normal that friends don’t stay that often overnight and generally not longer than 2 nights in a row.


When you rent a one-person room or studio, it is forbidden for more than one person to live there. It states in your rental contract what the maxium number of people is allowed to live in your room/studio/apartment. So if you rent a room in a apartment or studenthouse and you want your friend to stay over for the night it is allowed, but he/she cannot live there permanently.


To summarize: 

  • If you have friends staying over for the night, first ask your roommates and/or landlord for permission;
  • It is normal that guests don’t stay often overnight.
  • Inform your guest about the house rules and make sure they do not cause any nuisance;
  • If you rent a 1-person room, it is forbidden to live there with more than 1 person;