It has been two and a bit weeks now since I moved into my studio apartment in Nieuw West Amsterdam in a building called Maassluisstraat which is part of the DeKey housing company. Prior to moving in I was very concerned about living by myself in a studio after having got used to living in an 8 bed house in Fallowfield and always having someone around for company. I am actually surprised at how much I am enjoying living in my studio here and having my own space, I also think it has probably pushed me out of my comfort zone a bit as you don’t have the comfort of ‘flat mates’ to fall back on and has probably contributed to me meeting more people than I initially thought I would. I was also worried that living in a studio would be quite isolating and lonely but I’ve had neighbours knock on my door to say hello etc when they moved in and my accommodation also had a social event early on which helped create a really warm and welcoming atmosphere straight away.
Here are a few pictures of my studio room, my only critique would be that there is no oven or freezer 😦 bye bye frozen pizza…
Location and Transport
I was also concerned about the location I was living in as it is quite far from the city centre and seemed better suited for avid cyclists who were happy to cycle half an hour to university. Unfortunately for me, I haven’t got on a bike since I was 12 so the idea of cycling here was honestly beyond me. Despite this, absolutely everyone HAS A BIKE. I then developed FOMO because I didn’t have a bike so I decided to buy one within my second week here.
Reasons For Investing in a Bike in Amsterdam
- Although public transport here is really good and it always running on time (unlike the UK) it is also very expensive – After 2 weeks in Amsterdam using public transport one of my friends had spent £120 – and this is even with an OV Chipkaart which is basically the equivalent of a railcard.
- Night buses are the only method of public transport past midnight, and if you live far from the centre like I do, then these take a very long time to get home so most people cycle back after nights out instead of ordering a Via Van (A.K.A the Uber equivalent out here) however I obviously do not recommend this if you’re not in the right state to cycle!
- Despite it feeling terrifying at the start, it is one of the best ways to make the most of the sunshine and see Amsterdam. I cycle through Vondelpark everyday to get into the city centre which is a stunning journey and cycling past the glowing canals of Amsterdam at night is so beautiful.
4. Studies have shown that cycling improves well being and helps boost your mood as well as improved confidence that comes from achieving new things. It also combines physical exercise with being outdoors and exploring new views. Getting out and riding with people is also really fun and riding with a group can broaden your social circle.
Where to Get a Bike
- Swapfiets – this company allows you to rent a bike per month which is a great option for exchange students that are staying for only one semester. Their price ranges between €11 – €19 per month. The only downside is that it requires a Dutch bank account to pay.
- Waterlooplein Market – Apparently the bikes sold here are stolen however it is your best bet if you’re looking for a really really cheap bike. Prices range between €5 (!) to €90. However have had friends that have had to take theirs to a repair shop after buying it from here due to flat tyres/broken chains – I think bikes here aren’t the best quality but you will find the best prices here.
- Facebook MarketPlace – Has lots of students wanting to get rid of their bikes. A good time to get looking is end of June / early July and end of January when term ends.
- CheapAssBikes.nl – Deliver the bike to your door. This can be both positive and negative. Positive being that you don’t have to ride it home but the negative being it might not be the right bike for you. Have heard mixed reviews on this e.g bike being way too big for them and having to pay a fee to return it and also pay for the pick up service which equated to about €25. The bikes are around €150 (incl. locks) and are upcycled bikes with coaster brakes.
- Thebikeboys.nl – Provide new coaster brake bikes for €150. Definitely an appealing option because the company agrees to buy the bike back from you for approx. €70 so definitely a good and cheaper option compared to the rest, especially if you’re staying for a full year. Also take you on a test ride when you buy it to boost confidence (especially if not confident with using coaster brakes).
- Bike shops nearby e.g De Stadsfiets (where i got my bike from) has options of bikes with handbrakes !!!! This was a very appealing option for me because I am not that confident on a bike and I found bikes with hand brakes quite rare to find out here. It also has a guarantee and they can agree to buy back from you for 20-€50 (I paid €150) but will repair the bike for free throughout the year if there are any issues.
These are all good bike options and are the ones i’ve heard best things about however it is important to check out these options quick as when I moved in (2 weeks prior to university starting) there was already a waitlist for Swapfiets (up to 3 week delivery time) and The Bikeboys were already sold out. My friend who managed to get a Bikeboys bike ordered hers in early August for example. So my best advice would be getting on this early. Hope this helps!