I was really quite lucky in finding a place because housing is tight in Amsterdam! If you are an expat - you pay an exorbitant price to housing agencies that sublet other peoples sometimes oddly furnished apartments out. Two months rent as a deposit plus you have to pay a housing agency 'finder's fee'. All the Dutch people I have met tell me how cheap housing is. All the Expats tell me how expensive. Well - I"m paying slightly more than my apartment in DC and I have a view of the river!
One of the women I was supposed to work with left the organization right before I started. She's American and moved back to the US - my colleagues suggested that she turn over her place to me rather than breaking her lease and she did! No agency finder's fee for me! I went over to see it last week and while its not the houseboat or little crooked house that I had hoped for - it's not a cardboard box on the street either!
The highlights until I post photos:
- Big picture window with a view of the Ij (?) from the living room
- small balcony off the kitchen with a view of flower garden and space for flower boxes. possible grill too.
- Lots of windows - good light, whitewashed hardwood floors.
- The world's smallest commode. Think airplane bathroom on a commuter jet.
- The sink and the bathtub are in the bedroom. It's rare to have a bathtub in Amsterdam so that's good. Good news! The bathtub doubles as my guest room!
- 10 minute walk to the Jordaan - the neighborhood I like; bus stop in front of the house
- My own bicycle - that's right, I will now learn how to pedal home drunk from bars and join the rush hour commute on Friday.
- On the second floor (first floor to you Europeans) - so no more huffing and puffing up to the fourth floor!
- Because my friend Corinne is away on holiday this week - I've had to request the services of surly ex boyfriend with an attitude to help me. He has informed me that he has a party to attend on wednesday night and has to 'show a girl around Amsterdam' that afternoon (lucky her) and has given me a 2 hour window in which he can drive me to and from my new place. He'll probably be hungover beyond belief and it'll probably rain.
But still! My own little place. Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home.