Hello new fellow! Welcome to Leiden University! Arriving in a new city or even country might be stressful and you will, of course, have a lot of things to do before and after your arrival. This section is here to help you and give you the information you need to have a great start of your PhD in the Netherlands!
Useful links (full of informations!):
Also to internationals, the Beginner’s Guide to Dutch Academia (link below) could help you to get information about your new position!
Leiden University developed a Service to help international PhD student and other international staff members for their administrative and practical questions in the Netherlands. They are here to answer any question you have and they will be happy to help you.
Service Centre for International Staff
Open: Monday – Friday from 08.30-12.30 hrs.
+31 71 527 7300
Finding a home
-Housing outside the university system
Renting an apartment in the Netherlands and in Leiden specifically is not cheap, and due to the high demand it might be a bit long to find. A lot of housing involved shared kitchen and/or shared bathroom. This kind of accommodation can be found between 400 to 600E/month. Independent accommodations are, obviously, in general more expensive (500-900E).
Kamernet (also for rooms in a shared flat): http://www.kamernet.nl
Despite the housing websites, several Facebook groups have also been developed to help
people to find a place to leave:
– Group ‘Rooms/Housing & Furniture Leiden University’
– Group ‘Leiden – BUY / SALE / EXCHANGE’
Register at the City Hall – BSN number
Quickly after your arrival, you will have to register to the Non-residents Records Database (RNI)
at the City Hall of Leiden. The appointment is really easy to get by calling 14 071 and you must
be sure to take with you:
- A passport or identity card
- The completed RNI address data form (available on the City Hall website)
- Your University contract
- Your housing contract
- Your birth certificate
At the end of this procedure, you will receive your BSN number. Most companies you will be
related to (health insurance, …) are connected to the system of the city hall. If you changed
your address there it will automatically change in their administration within few working days.
Leiden City Hall
Stadhuisplein 1, 2311 EJ Leiden
Mon t/m Fri 08.30 – 17.00
Thurs evening 17.00 – 20.00
Sat 09.00 – 13.00
Open a Dutch bank account
If it is possible to get your salary and to pay your rent from a foreign bank account, most
companies (housing, mobile phone,…) will prefer you to get a Dutch bank account. It is very
easy to open an account in one of the biggest bank companies in the Netherlands:
- ABN AMRO
- SNS Bank
- ASN Bank
Leiden University has an agreement with Rabobank, leading to small costs reduction.
Note that Visa and MasterCard credit cards are not accepted in a lot of shops in the
Netherlands (even in supermarkets). Usually Netherlands residents have a debit card like
In the Netherlands, you will be asked to register to one of the health insurance companies. Note
that the University of Leiden negotiated a preferential contract price with Zorg en Zekerheid for
its staff members. If you are part of the LUMC, you can get preferential prices with UMC.
Taxes and 30% rule
The taxes you have to pay to the Dutch government are directly taken from your salary. As a
non-dutch citizen, you can also apply for the 30% rule. This system allows you to pay less taxes
for your five first years in the Netherlands, but note that it means that if you need a
unemployment help (if you stay in the Netherlands after you PhD), you will also get lower
For the first year, and if you never worked before in the Netherlands, you will have to fill a quite
consequent form in dutch. Your HR department, financial concealer can help you to fill it out, or
a dutch colleague/friend. The tax return form is due before the 1st of May every year. After the
first year, unless you get invited by a letter, you don’t have to fill anything.
NB: If you started working anytime later in the year (not January), you will most probably get
some money back for your first year!
Taxes from the city (water treatment, garbage,…) have to be paid once a year, you will received
it directly at your place.
Useful kinks about 30% rule:
DigiD (short for Digital Identification) is online identification that allows you to access many online services and government websites in the Netherlands (health insurance, taxes,…). This will consist into an ID and a password, linked to your BSN number. You can request a DigiD on their website through few easy steps, unfortunately in Dutch. Note that a guide in english is available on their website.
Besides your personal interest to get a dutch phone number, some companies and specially banks may ask for one. It is very easy to get a prepaid card without any contract, only for your administrative needs and keep your previous number for you. For European Union citizens, in the Netherlands you can use the number from your home country without any additional charges.
Sport and activities
As a PhD student you will work a lot but you also better follow some activities outside! Leiden University has its own Sports center, where you can practice the majority of the sports, and as PhD student you will get student rate. Also it provides arts and leisure courses , where you can learn anything from Ballet to Photography courses.