Those studying in the Netherlands are finding it increasingly difficult to find (affordable) housing, and while the situation was already pretty bad before COVID-19, new figures reveal it has only worsened over the past year; the country is now short over 26.000 homes.
Dutch student housing shortage worsens
Last month it was revealed that hundreds of international students had been left without housing at the start of the academic year, with many struggling to find a room that was open to non-Dutch students. Figures released in the National Student Housing Monitor now show precisely how dire the situation is at the moment.
Over the past year, the national student housing shortage has increased by a whopping 20 percent, with students now facing a market where there are 26.500 homes too few. Furthermore, the National Student Housing Monitor expects that the situation will only worsen over the coming years, predicting that, in eight years, there will be another 57.000 students looking for accommodation, but current plans show that only 16.500 additional student residences will be built by 2025.
Hundreds of students struggle to find accommodation
Kences – the Centre for Student Housing – attributes the growing shortage to two main factors: the rising number of international students, and the backlog caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. “Foreign students followed education from their own country last year, but now they have to follow physical education here,” explains Jos Bakker.
While Dutch students are able to live at home while they study, international students are forced into emergency shelters, or are left having to sleep on a friend’s sofa until they find somewhere more permanent. Figures from volunteer organisation Shelter our Students reveal that there are still 400 students in Groningen and 200 in Enschede without permanent housing.
Bakker worries the current shortage will dissuade international students from coming to the Netherlands in the future: “We would like the Netherlands to remain a knowledge country, the fourth largest knowledge economy in the world. But if we can’t accommodate them, we run the risk of international talents going elsewhere.”