Almere wants to trade student housing for A'dam univ. opening branch in city

University of Amsterdam
University of AmsterdamPhoto: sergio_pulp/DepositPhotos

The University of Amsterdam wants to build 3 thousand student homes in Almere, in an effort to help solve the housing shortage. Almere is willing to consider the request, but wants something in return. The Netherlands' youngest city wants the University of Amsterdam to open a branch in the city, Het Parool reports.

Almere has been working to become a student city for years. In 2010 the Dutch government, the province of Felovand and the municipality of Almere invested 72 million euros into achieving this goal. Almost a decade later, more than 4 thousand students are studying at the two colleges in the city and four student associations are active.  

"A student campus with accommodation for three thousand students is therefore very welcome", Jimmy van der Vliet, VVD city councilor in Almere, said according to the newspaper. But there will be conditions, he added. Van der Vliet wants housing on the campus to also be available to Almere students. And for the UvA to open a branch in Almere. This is a great way to improve academic education in the city, he believes. "It's very simple", Van der Vliet said. "The UvA wants something from us and we want something in return." 

"As a city, we also want to benefit from it", Van der Vliet said. "And the ambition for academic education in Almere has been around for some time. Now we finally have a trump to enforce that." The VVD city councilor submitted a motion to achieve this, and the majority of the city council agreed to it, Van der Vliet said. 

The board of the UvA filed a specific request to build 3 thousand student homes in Almere, to help solve the shortage of student housing in Amsterdam. If the plan is approved, the student campus will be built on the parking lot at the Almere Centrum train station. This is one of many measures the UvA agreed to with ten other parties, including student housing provider Duwo, the Hogeschool van Amsterdam, student union Asva, and the municipality of Amsterdam. The parties involved agreed to create 9,400 extra affordable student homes for Amsterdam students within four years. 

A UvA branch in Almere is unlikely to happen, Hans den Boer, spokesperson for Housing Development at the university, said to Het Parool. "That does not fit with our strategy. We want our students to be taught on one of the four campuses. In this way, information can also be exchanged between staff and students in an accessible way."

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