Thousands of students in the Netherlands file lawsuits for energy allowance

Around 2,500 students in the Netherlands are challenging the municipalities’ exclusion of students from the national energy allowance. 

The legal consultancy firm Legal Advice Wanted is assisting these students in bringing the municipalities to court, reports Het Parool

The firm is assisting students that were denied the national energy allowance that was created to help low-income people manage the skyrocketing energy prices

READ MORE | 14 dang smart ways to save on energy costs in the Netherlands [UPDATED 2023]

Jaap Kotteman from Legal Advice Wanted says that they expect most of the court cases to begin in the coming months, writes Het Parool. 

What is the energy allowance? 

In 2022, the Dutch government created a one-off allowance of €1,300 for low-income people to manage the sudden rise in energy prices. Many people faced tripling prices in just a few months.

However, most municipalities decided that students aren’t eligible for this allowance.

The municipality of Amsterdam stated that students don’t compare to people that are living off a minimum wage. Umm, tell that to the students living off part-time jobs on the side of their studies. 

Students are left with the option of requesting from their municipalities a partial reimbursement through special assistance (bijzondere bijstand) but this has strict conditions that many students don’t satisfy. 

A win for the students of Amsterdam

Students in Amsterdam have already successfully challenged the municipality’s exclusion of students from the energy allowance. 

The case was brought to a judge, ruling that many students actually are in similar conditions to minimum wage employees and should be allowed to use the allowance.

READ MORE | How to set up your utilities in the Netherlands (in English!) with PartnerPete

The municipality is now reviewing students’ applications for the allowance. However, the fight continues as the municipality still set several conditions that exclude many students. 

The new allowance conditions in Amsterdam

One of the conditions is that students must have their own energy contracts to be eligible for the allowance. 

This rule still excludes many students that have an inclusive rent contract, meaning that the energy costs are paid as part of your rent by your landlord. 

Additionally, according to Kotteman, this isn’t a condition for non-students. Non-students “only have to be able to demonstrate that they have energy costs.”

READ MORE | Renting a property in the Netherlands: what you need to know

Since the judge’s ruling in Amsterdam, thousands of students have applied for help from Legal Advice Wanted.

The organisation hopes to help out students all over the Netherlands, including The Hague, Leiden, Rotterdam, Groningen, Utrecht, Delft, Amstelveen, and Diemen, among others.

What do you think about the student action? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Feature Image:Depositphotos
Naomi Lamaury
Naomi Lamaury
Naomi came to the Netherlands four years ago for her studies with two suitcases and without ever having been to the country or knowing much about it. Now, you can find her eating ‘bitterballen’ and fighting against the Dutch wind on her bike every day like a local. Naomi enjoys writing about what is going on around her alongside a warm cup of coffee.

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