For this survey, we’ve gone through the election programmes of the following parties: CDA, Christenunie-SGP, D66, DENK, GroenLinks, Leefbaar Rotterdam, NIDA, Partij voor de Dieren, PvdA, SP, Stadsinitiatief and VVD. Some parties haven’t actually discussed each theme in their programme. The PVV’s election programme (a single page) didn’t express an opinion on any of the five selected themes, so we left it out of our comparison. We’ve included links to each of the election programmes at the end of this article.
If you want to know who you don’t have to call up for fresh ideas about higher education: neither Leefbaar Rotterdam nor Partij voor de Dieren have anything on this theme in their election programmes. Of course, there are a lot of areas where the Municipality’s say about university matters is very limited: most of the funding comes from the Dutch state.
Nevertheless, a few parties hope to have a positive influence on EUR. VVD would like Erasmus University to maintain its high standing as an institution. Meaning that the Municipality should take proper care of the university – arranging proper facilities and housing for Dutch and international students. DENK, among other parties, also subscribes to this aim. CDA would like to see the range of degree programmes offered by educational institutions to be more effectively coordinated with the labour market.
D66 would welcome more connections between higher education institutions and the private sector, and NIDA would like the municipal administration to take more advantage of the expertise found at EUR and the universities of applied sciences in its policies. Christenunie-SGP wants to draw up a burnout prevention plan for educational institutions and to give all school pupils equal opportunity to attend a good degree programme – regardless of their neighbourhood or financial situation. GroenLinks argues for a broader range of degree programmes at both research universities and universities of applied sciences HBO. In addition, the party wishes to strengthen ties between the city and study programmes.
DENK has another, quite different plan to add to the mix: educational institutions should draw attention to the history of migration. PvdA also wants to influence what goes on internally within the university: EUR should work together with civil society organisations to jointly set up large-scale prevention programmes that combat obesity and alcohol and drug abuse.
A number of parties prove aware of the issue of student housing. GroenLinks, PvdA, D66, SP and Christenunie-SGP all argue for solid agreements regarding the realisation of new student units. Christenunie views vacant office buildings as a good solution in this context. CDA wants to see a plan of action for ensuring fire safety in student housing. Christen-Democraten has a naughtier suggestion: students should pay part of their rent in kind – do ‘volunteer work’ in exchange, for example. The other parties haven’t stated anything specific about student housing.
Most parties leave the campus itself alone in their programme, but some positions could actually have an impact on the daily goings-on at Erasmus Plaza. For example, Partij voor de Dieren wants a stronger focus on health, animal welfare and sustainability in cafeterias. The party wants a ‘food vision’ and calls on companies and entrepreneurs to introduce a weekly vegetarian day. GroenLinks on the other hand argues for healthier buildings: no barracks, containers or portacabins. GroenLinks in power would mean the end of the N Building, in other words. NIDA is an advocate of silent areas (as can already be found on campus Woudestein). “The daily grind occasionally causes us to lose track of our deeper purpose in life. Time to relax, reflect and pray for a moment puts many Rotterdam citizens back in the mood to make the most of it,” is the party’s almost poetic take on this matter.
The party Stadsinitiatief Rotterdam (launched by former D66 member Jos Verveen) stands up for international students. At present, they can only work a limited number of hours next to their studies. Stadsinitiatief Rotterdam wants to change this. “Rotterdam is an international town, and we believe that international students from outside the EU should also have an opportunity to work here. Remove the barriers for this as a city.” Christenunie actually has new work on offer for Rotterdam’s students. “Students and adolescents can make an important contribution to buddy projects.” In buddy projects, students can help refugees or newcomers with their social integration in Rotterdam.
Students should also visit museums more often, according to Partij voor de Dieren. This party wants to make museum visits free of charge at least one day a week. Admission to arts centres and cultural institutes will remain free with the ‘Rotterdampas’. A number of other parties, including DENK, also want this. Leefbaar wants to prevent cultural activities in the city from becoming an elite affair, and calls for more accessible events. The party doesn’t want public funding for activities that “can also be supported by the market”.
Reading the election programme, you would think that Rotterdam’s nightlife can count on a big boost under a new Municipal Executive. Nearly all the parties want more stuff going on after dark. GroenLinks for example wants the underground to continue its service through the night on Fridays and Saturdays. The party also wants to schedule more night buses. VVD and Stadsinitiatief Rotterdam also want the underground to run more often at night. Leefbaar calls for more round-the-clock permits for hospitality, GroenLinks and SP even want to remove restrictions on opening hours in the city centre. VVD wants greater flexibility in any case. And DENK has basically joined the previous parties in calling for more freedom for hospitality entrepreneurs and night-time underground and tram connections.
Christenunie-SGP is less into making a night of it. The party only wants an increase in round-the-clock permits if quality of life is guaranteed for people living in the area. And true to tradition, D66 takes a centralist stance: at any rate, the party wants to involve students more closely in its decisions regarding nightlife in the town. Stadsinitiatief is a bit more resolute: it wants to keep outdoor cafes open as long as possible. Because bustling terraces feel a lot safer than empty streets. Partij voor de Dieren wants to do something about the festivals: they’d rather not see them being held in parks, because this is bad for the plants and animals.