The student housing crisis in the Netherlands
We hear of this every year. In fact, we hear about this all year round, but this year we all really have been discussing it. Because once again, the student housing crisis in the Netherlands, is quite literally a crisis (and that’s not even a good enough word for it). So, what’s the issue? Well, the Netherlands, being one of the most densely populated countries and all, already struggles to house the permanent population that it has. Mixing that with thousands of students coming to the Netherlands to temporarily study, and it’s a recipe for disaster. The University of Groningen, in particular, has been in the spotlight for their housing shortages within the city.
So, what has happened so far?
1. Giant tents are housing homeless students
The housing shortage has gotten so bad in Groningen that tents have been erected with rows of beds for students to sleep in until they find somewhere more permanent. What is making people even angrier, is that they are charging 12,50 per night (almost 400 per month) for the privilege of sleeping in a large tent, so close to the next bed that you could probably touch them. Definitely not an ideal situation AT ALL.
Of course, it’s better than nothing at all. But it just goes to show how bad the situation has gotten.
Note: Apparently there are plans to stop charging for the tents.
2. Students are being offered rooms for sex
When some people are aware that students are vulnerable to remaining homeless, they turn into total creeps. Some people have offered for students to sleep in their spare rooms in exchange not for money, no, but sex. Not only is this creepy and disgusting, it’s literally criminal. Exploiting (usually) female girls into sexual favours in exchange for shelter is appalling and this is what happens when a housing crisis emerges.
Thankfully not everybody is like this of course, but if you do come across it, please report it as soon as possible.
3. Scamming is leaving students homeless and out of pocket
Again, when some people are aware that students are vulnerable to remaining homeless, they turn into total scammers this time. As we all know, scamming is certainly not a new thing within the housing market, but they come out in full force when a crisis like this breaks out. International students are also more at risk as when they are sorting their accommodation abroad, they are unable to view the room in person. This leaves them vulnerable to be scammed. There have been many stories in the news of people paying large deposits, coming to the Netherlands and finding that the rental doesn’t even exist. Awful.
4. Foreign students are met with ‘Dutch only’ rentals
There has also been a massive struggle for many international students, who are met with ‘Dutch only’ rentals. This has led to many international students becoming homeless because as rentals become available, chances are that they won’t accept them because they aren’t Dutch.
We’ve already discussed name discrimination in the past too, so even if some rentals aren’t outright saying it, they could still be basing it off that. There have been reports of many international students, applying for over 100 rentals and still are having no luck.
5. Staff are having to house students in their own homes
The issues with students arriving with no homes is so great, that the University of Groningen has even asked staff to house students in their spare rooms if they have space. Imagine sharing a house with your lecturer because you got scammed and ended up landing in the Netherlands completely homeless? The whole situation is literally just mad.
So far, they have had quite a few members of staff agreeing to allow a student to stay in their home, but so far despite this, it’s only made a small dent in the mounting numbers of homeless students. One of my Dutch friends works in Leiden University and he also expressed to me that he had to contact many students and tell them that unless they get offered a home, they would have to defer their studies.
Of course, many students have also found housing and started to look early. People are arguing that it is entirely possible to find housing, yet some students are simply looking too late. Regardless, Dutch universities are under fire for encouraging so many foreign students to come to the Netherlands, knowing full well that no matter what, many of these students will never find a home.
What are your opinions on the student housing crisis in the Netherlands? Let us know in the comments.