Higher education braces itself for a lack of student accommodation

Universities foresee a lack of student accommodation next academic year. International students are even being advised to study elsewhere if they can’t find housing.

Student housing in the Wippolder Delft. (Photo: Sam Rentmeester)

Utrecht University is asking students not to come to Utrecht unless they have managed to find accommodation, amid concerns that students without suitable housing could get into “undesirable and stressful situations”, writes the Algemeen Dagblad. The newspaper goes on to report that the university is giving this advice “with a heavy heart”.

Since 2018, TU Delft has been advising international students on its website not to come to Delft if they have not found a room. There are similar warnings on websites of TU Eindhoven and Rijksuniversiteit Groningen. For international students in Delft who did manage to find a room, the problem does not always end there. Sometimes they find a room for a temporary period, for example for a few months, a few weeks or a year. After this, the students have to hunt again and often without success, a number of internationals told Delta last year

The University of Amsterdam is warning that finding accommodation takes “time and effort” and, like other institutions, makes an urgent appeal to students to start looking well in advance. VU Amsterdam too advises students to reconsider their study options if they have not found accommodation in time.

Recurring problem
The shortage of student accommodation is a recurring problem and led to further protests during the current academic year. International students find it particularly difficult because they generally have no network in the Netherlands. Meanwhile the number of international students at Dutch universities continues to grow steadily.

In September, a member of the Executive Board of Avans University of Applied Sciences offered rooms in her own home because of the shortage. It is also not unusual for students to end up on a campsite at the start of the academic year. The University of Amsterdam even went so far as to reserve cabins for students at a local campsite.

Increasing shortage
Kences, the umbrella organisation of student housing associations, said in October last year that the shortfall in accommodation for students has risen to around 26,500. That shortfall is likely to increase in the years ahead.

Housing minister Hugo de Jonge, said in April that he is working on a better match between the number of students and the accommodation available, although it is not yet clear how he intends to bring this about.

HOP, Josefine van Enk/Translation: Taalcentrum-VU.

HOP Hoger Onderwijs Persbureau

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