Hundreds of international students start school year without accommodation

Hundreds of international students start school year without accommodation

It’s no secret that looking for student housing in the Netherlands is a struggle - especially for international students. As figures reveal that hundreds of international students have started the new academic year without housing, students have called on their Dutch counterparts to open room applications to all students, not just students from the Netherlands.

Hundreds of students in Groningen left without housing

Figures published by volunteer organisation Shelter our Students reveal that, in Groningen alone, hundreds of international students have been left homeless and, in spite of the fact that the school year has already begun, are struggling to find emergency temporary housing.

Marinus Jongman from Shelter our Students explained to NOS that this year the situation is worse than ever before. Not only is the housing market “completely locked up,” meaning graduates are less likely to leave their student accommodation, but over the past few years the university has seen a significant increase in the number of students. 

As the university’s emergency student shelter is already full - all 240 beds have been claimed - Shelter our Students is currently working to try and help international students find a place to live. Many are staying with friends or course mates, while others are forking out cash for hostels. The municipality has acknowledged the problem, telling NOS it is doing everything it can to help find temporary accommodation for all students in need. 

Accommodation only open to Dutch students or expats

Another growing problem is that landlords and Dutch students are unwilling to rent rooms out to internationals. “We know stories of international students who communicate by e-mail in Dutch with a landlord via Google Translate. Then there is no problem. But if they then call on the phone in English, they can no longer get the room,” says Jongman. 

More and more room adverts on Facebook and sites such as Kamernet and Pararius explicitly state “no internationals” or “Dutch only,” and international students are calling for an end to this discriminatory behaviour. 

In a Facebook group for rooms in Tilburg, one international student tags the local university, writing “I have had enough seeing houses just for Dutch. This is not correct, this is racism,” adding the hashtag “stopjustfordutch.” Another Dutch student questions why they regularly see rooms advertised as only for Dutch: “Is this pure racism or is it an experience that you all know that I know nothing about?” they asked.

Victoria Séveno


Victoria Séveno

Victoria grew up in Amsterdam, before moving to the UK to study English and Related Literature at the University of York and completing her NCTJ course at the Press Association...

Read more



Leave a comment

slp00b 16:10 | 16 September 2021

Thank you for writing this - I AM one of those International Students in Tilburg that was faced with finding housing. Luckily, I have found a place now. But I completely agree with my fellow internationals of house disheartening and frustrating it is to see "no internationals" and "Dutch only". For educational institutions that want to be inclusive and welcoming to internationals - I think they need to be MORE helpful with international students!!!! Not just the comment " you need to find housing before you arrive"