Grab the paint and picket signs. Today marks the beginning of protests against increasingly high rent for student housing across the Netherlands.

Protests against the ever-increasing cost of student housing have begun in the city of Wageningen today and honestly, I’d be with them if I wasn’t expected at my internship (an internship that cannot possibly cover the cost of my rent, cough cough).

Two student unions, the LSVb and FNV Young and United have come together to organise a nationwide protest this week. The protests will be held throughout the coming days in cities such as Amsterdam, Utrecht, Groningen and Nijmegen.

The students are giving voice to a very real problem here in the Netherlands. The shortage of student housing is felt in multiple cities across the country. Landlords need not worry about demand when setting their rental prices, in the current climate they will have no trouble sourcing a desperate tenant.

The student unions are arguing that an increase in rent only means that students will graduate with more debt to be paid. Chairman of the LSVb, Lyle Muns, has voiced this concern to NOS Radio 1 Journal, “a quarter of the students is at risk of graduating with a student debt of more than 40,000 euros.”

Points system and fines for landlords

This fear comes as the norm for student housing rates has jumped from €400 closer to €700 per month. “Prices are getting out of hand,” says Muns.

Muns tells RTV that the student unions are campaigning for landlords to be penalised for charging too much rent. “A points system is already being used to determine the maximum rental price, but we see that many slum landlords do not adhere to this. You should actually develop a fine for these landlords.”

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The protests are expected to take a “playful” turn, as Muns has put it. Let’s see how events unfold throughout the week.

Have you been affected by the student housing crisis? Let us know in the comments below!

Feature Image: Andrew Neel/ Pexels

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