Are Dutch cities ready for the influx of new (international) students?
Freshers/introduction week has already started in some university cities in the Netherlands, but are these cities prepared for the influx of (international) students? After all, last year was a bit of a nightmare, with students having to set up tents, due to the lack of student housing.
Tackling the student housing problem
The bleak situation last year caused the government and educational institutions to create an action plan to tackle the student-housing problem. The plan has three focus points, namely: more accommodation, sufficient emergency shelter and better information regarding housing for international students. The goal of the plan is to have a complete balance when it comes to supply and demand for housing within 10 years.
In built-up cities, it is often very difficult for students to find a room. Municipalities want to bring about change by building extra student housing. All cities have made agreements regarding their goals in terms of numbers of extra student houses for both the short term (3-4 years) and long term (10 years).
Bridging the supply and demand gap
Since these agreements, a few cities have made great progress in bridging the gap between supply and demand. Amsterdam, for example, has built 2.000 student accommodations to tackle the shortage of around 9.400.
Groningen and Utrecht have also built a substantial number of new homes and arranged for a number of emergency accommodations. Amsterdam has also arranged emergency accommodations but has already issued these to international students. Additionally, these cities have concrete building plans to further tackle the housing shortage.
However, not all cities have made progress. In Leiden, Delft and Eindhoven, the plans are either, as yet, non-existent or limited. And of the six cities with the biggest shortages of student housing, only Amsterdam, Groningen and Utrecht have managed to arrange emergency accommodation. The others haven’t arranged a single one, with Delft and Leiden saying that they don’t need them. Last year, vacation homes were reserved for emergency accommodation but weren’t used in the end.
Provide better information for internationals
Another point on the agenda of the action plan is providing students with better information about the housing situation in their city and their rights as a renter. It’s well known that internationals are often the victims of scams while desperately searching for a place to live.
Minister Ollongren wants students to receive better information in English about student housing and avoid getting scammed. To this end, the campaign “Wegwijs met je huurprijs” has been translated into English: Real about rent.
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