Moving to the Netherlands wasn’t the biggest cultural shock, being just a stone’s throw from the UK - even the British style weather continued to haunt me! With an extensive international community and English spoken widely, adaptation was quite an easy task. Obviously, learning Dutch is beneficial to everyday life for official matters, employment opportunities and integrating better into society.
Finding a place to stay is tough. Competition is fierce and availability limited, as in many student cities. There is a wide variety of exemplary dwelling design, from traditional canal houses and floating homes to high rise apartments, unfortunately though, not many are suited to a student’s budget.
But what makes Dutch housing so special? From my experience of living in and visiting various housing examples, physical characteristics such as the presence of daylight and open plan living do really make a difference. Large panes of glazing ensure bright, airy interiors, and a great connection with the outdoors. Housing typologies and designing for density can be of great interest. With limited space available, the Dutch had to produce innovative solutions to provide maximum density without compromising the quality of space and embracing future challenges like increasing population, climate change and, rising sea levels. That innovation is evident in spatial planning, stacking and use of technology and materials.