While the housing shortage for students in Rotterdam wasn’t much of an issue in the past, the shortage has become more severe in recent years. International students in particular place extra pressure on the housing market and this group experiences problems.

The Dutch Student Union sounded the alarm last week: lack of housing for international students is reaching critical levels. This was also the case for Rotterdam, where traditionally the student housing shortage has not been an issue. This was revealed through a survey of major housing providers for students, all of whom are seeing a growth in the number of persons seeking housing.

Housing shortage doubled

Only Amsterdam and Utrecht are grappling with a more severe housing shortage among students. According to the 2016 National Student Housing Monitor, the shortage in Rotterdam has more than doubled in the past few years. In the 2013-14 academic year there were approximately 2,300 students who failed to find accommodation. Two years later that number grew to 4,800. And there’s no sign that the scarce housing situation will improve. While there is ongoing construction, expectations are that student numbers will continue to rise in the coming years.

A number of interviews with international students also revealed that by no means are all students able to find housing in time. Two weeks into the academic year and these students are staying in hostels, still searching for housing in the city. Some students settle for cramped quarters in Schiedam or Capelle, while others pay overpriced rent for very low-quality accommodations. There are also cases where international students are victims of outright fraud.

Extra housing

It is difficult to ascertain whether the problems experienced by EUR students this year are worse than last year. According to the International Office, the situation is not quite so bad. “We’ve received fewer emails from panicking students this year compared to last year,” said university spokeswoman Sandra van Beek. The number of international students has again increased this year, but the increase is not as sharp as last year. There are also 330 more housing units available for international students this academic year (64% more than the previous academic year). This is in part due to the construction of a residential building on campus. In spite of the extra housing, all the units reserved for international students were rented out by early July.

EM is looking into the student housing market in September. We will publish several stories about the room shortage and the living situation of (international) students. Do you have tips, questions or comments? Mail them to erasmusmagazine@em.eur.nl.

Read all articles in our special about housing shortage.