The demonstrators walked with banners and signs from the Dam to the Nieuwmarkt. The original plan was that they’d go to the Spui, but the organisers found out just in time that a book market was going on.

The students are furious that Minister Van Engelshoven wants to raise the interest on student loans, which means that former students will have to pay off more in the future. Students are not dairy cows, states the slogan.

Soy milk

That equation, unfortunately, offended some animal rights activists: you can’t milk cows, they wrote on Facebook, and certainly not in the bio-industry. You better drink soy milk.

But that comment was not to suppress the willingness to act. The demonstration is the initiative of the political youth organizations of SP, GroenLinks and PvdA, together with union FNV Jong, the Amsterdam student union ASVA and action group WakeUp.

GroenLinks and PvdA are both responsible for abolishing the basic grant, together with VVD and D66. A demonstrator raised a photo of GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver with the reproach: who is now to blame?

Yet the young people of PvdA and GroenLinks are present today. Removing the basic grant is not that bad, seems the thought, but then you should not raise the interest on student loans. “The social loan system is being demolished and replaced by an anti-social loan system,” says chair Julia Matser of DWARS, the GroenLinks youth organisation.


March protesting the student loans interest hike

Various youth organisations have called on students to protest the government’s plans…


The SP youth of ROOD are fiercer. The higher interest rate is not the drop that makes the bucket overflow, says chair Lisa de Leeuw, because that bucket has already run a long time. “All those promises of the loan system have not been fulfilled,” she says. She hopes that the willingness to act among students will increase again.

Some MPs from the opposition were also of the party and gave the activists a support they needed.

It will not be the last protest in higher education for the time being. Next week it will be Prinsjesdag and the cabinet will present the new budget. Scientists have already announced actions for the week afterwards, if the cuts in education (the ‘efficiency discount’) are not cancelled.