Immediate action is needed to alleviate student housing crisis: ESN
he new school year is around the corner, but many international students across the Netherlands still have not found secure housing. In response, the Erasmus Student Network in Twente started a petition to demand that the University of Twente, the Saxion University of Applied Sciences and the municipality of Enschede find at least a temporary solution for the many students still without a home.
The student housing crisis is apparent in Twente but can also be felt in other cities in the Netherlands such as Amsterdam, Groningen, Utrecht and The Hague. The University of Amsterdam recently opened a camping site near the Amsterdamse Bos to accommodate its international students.
The University of Twente as well as other universities in the Netherlands cautioned international students of the housing shortage earlier this week.
“ESN Twente considers the current climate to be extremely adversary towards international students. Students face a lot of stresses, the risks of being scammed and possible homelessness on a daily basis”, the ESN wrote.
"When the teacher sees a room full of students on September 1 that doesn't mean all of them have somewhere to live", one international student told the NL Times.
Last year, there was already a housing shortage for 22 thousand students which could increase to up to 50 thousand for the 2024/2025 academic school year, based on first estimates by Kences.
"At the same time the number of international students will increase", a Kences spokesperson told the NL Times. By the academic year 2024/25 there will be an increase of 100 thousand students, half of which are living away from home.
"If you are a Dutch student, you may have the possibility to live with your parents and travel back and forth to your university. The issue is international students cannot do that", the Kences spokesperson said.
The ESN also pointed out that the housing shortage has only worsened in the past years. Particularly international students fear they might end up without a roof over their heads with many housing posts stating “Dutch only” or “no internationals”. Some posts with an available room will reach over 100 reactions.
On top of that, some students get extorted in the Dutch housing market with scammers often trying to trick students into sending them money, or landlords charging illegal fees.
The ESN demanded that the University of Twente, Saxion University of Applied Sciences and the municipality of Enschede take both short- and long-term action to alleviate the housing crisis. This involves providing temporary housing on campus for incoming students and structural plans for new housing in the future.
The petition for immediate action to be taken in the student housing crisis has been signed over 1,400 times.