Student - May 23, 2019

Bring your own floor


Three weeks before we moved to the Netherlands for my PhD, I arrived here to look for housing for our small family (two parents, one child and a dog). Hesitating before making a decision, I called home to discuss it together.

illustration Henk van Ruitenbeek

‘Honey, I'm in an apartment that I've found for us.’ ‘Really? That's great! What does it look like?’ ‘Well, it's a one-floor apartment on the ground floor. It's charming, has a small garden, some furniture, large windows. Lots of light inside. The neighbourhood seems to be nice. But it doesn't have a floor.’ ‘Doesn't have a floor?! So what are you standing on?’ ‘Well, on the floor, but... there is nothing on it. No carpet, floorboards or laminate.’

You can rent a house in the Netherlands with an oven, fridge, dishwasher… but no flooring

Apparently, an apartment or a house in the Netherlands can be offered for rent with an oven, stove, fridge, dishwasher, some cupboards, but... no flooring. I find it weird – and inefficient, and unsustainable – that tenants who are not lucky enough to meet the previous tenants and take over their flooring, often have to put new flooring in a rented property. When they leave, they must – yes must – remove the flooring. As if the chances that the next tenants would also need flooring were very low. So far I haven't met any Dutch person who could explain this strange phenomenon. Maybe I will solve the riddle by the time I graduate.

Efrat Gommeh, a PhD candidate in the Public Administration and Policy group, from Israel

Do you have a nice anecdote about your experience going Dutch? Send it in! Describ an encounter with Dutch culture in detail and comment on it briefly. 300 words max. Send it to and earn twenty-five euros and Dutch candy.

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  • Folkert

    If you're ever moving to Germany, don't be surprised if you need to bring your own kitchen.