By now you can locate the lecture halls. And you’re pretty confident (i.e. drunk) when it comes to finding the best student bars on your way home. But when you finally make it home, what’s waiting there? Stacks of dirty dishes, takeaway trays, smelly laundry and empty bottles? Then this ‘How to survive’ feature is especially for you.



How do you survive… Rotterdam

From stress, STDs, and stimulants to shockingly high student debt. A crash course in…

Green soap, vinegar and some soda. For a spotless home, you don’t need a load a’. About as naff as you can get, but true nevertheless. Is your bathroom covered in limescale? Grab a bottle of cleaning vinegar. Is your showerhead clogged up? Leave it to soak in some vinegar overnight. Ink spots or grease in your clothes? Get out the green soap. Pots and pans full of charred black gunk? Rub on some green soap and put them in an airtight bag with some ammonia in a bowl. Wash them the next day and no one’s the wiser. Make-up, blood or vomit stains? You need soda for that.

The downside to having a spotless home is that you have to keep up the cleaning. While the infamous cleaning schedule (click here for an example) may help, it’s no guarantee. In many cases, ab-so-lute-ly no one takes notice of that piece of paper on the wall. So here comes the hardest part of cleaning up a student house: setting an example. You can be the messiah, the great helmsman, the shining example. Is your house almost past saving? Then why not propose a full evening of cleaning together? Get pizza, beer and the coolest latex gloves you can find. And try to have fun. By the way, who’s taking out the garbage tomorrow?

Besides washing your clothes, turning out your bed and doing the dishes, there are a few other chores you need to do on a regular basis. Cleaning the toilet bowl, for example. Spray the toilet cleaner (though vinegar works fine too) into the bowl and around the rim, let it do its magic for a bit and then give it a vigorous scrub with your toilet brush. After that, you can clean the cistern, the seat (both sides) and the toilet block itself. And don’t forget the tap, the door handle and the light switch – they’re often filthiest of all. And don’t wipe down the table with that rag you’ve just been pushing around. You could also hoover the place every now and then, clean the microwave (lemon juice does miracles) or clean the grease off the cooker hood.

Well. You can also considering hiring a professional cleaner. In that case, be sure to tidy up a bit before he or she arrives, since that leaves more time for the actual cleaning.

Splendid meal

And we’re back with another cliché: a decent meal doesn’t have to cost a fortune. And there are quite a few things you can serve besides chicken, pasta and pesto. We understand that may come as a shock. Why not look online once in a while, check out that Allerhande? And hang on to any recipes that do the trick. It’s as simple as that.

Want to save money? Try to do all your groceries in one go, once a week. Stock up when they have special offers on things like dry spaghetti, canned peeled tomatoes, rice, stock cubes and olive oil. You can use those for a huge number of dishes. So they always come in handy.

Cooking usually goes quicker when your kitchen is a bit more ordered. Do you have to work around a tower of used frying pans? And how many empty takeaway trays are clogging up your cupboards? Clear it out every now and then. And there’s no reason why tin foil and baking paper have to take up that much drawer space. Buy a plastic magazine rack and stick it to the wall of the sink cupboard with some superglue. Pop them in there and you’re done!

Drugs en andere gevaren voor de Rotterdamse student

How do you survive… sex and drugs

From stress, STDs, and stimulants to shockingly high student debt. A crash course in…

Fire safety

It’s only logical that you don’t leave any candles burning when you go to bed and turn off the gas after cooking. You want to keep your place from going up in flames. And you also want to get out if things go awry. That’s why your house should be fitted with smoke detectors, fire extinguishers and safe escape routes.

Where are the smoke detectors? Do you have a fire extinguisher on every floor? Perhaps your parents have already harassed you with these kinds of questions, but then, it’s a pretty big deal. You wouldn’t be the first student to die in a fire due to completely substandard fire safety measures. And while we’re at it: how much stuff do you have cluttering up your hallway? Could you get past it in a panic? Are you able to open the front door from the inside without a key?

How fire safe is your student house? Do an online check via the website of the Dutch Student Union (LSVb). And while you’re there, you may as well check whether you’re paying more rent than required.


How do you survive…. the campus

From stress, STDs, and stimulants to shockingly high student debt. A crash course in…


And now for perhaps the most boring subject of all (and yet sooo important): insurance. Contents insurance, liability insurance, legal protection insurance, travel insurance and of course health insurance. In lots of cases you may actually be included in your parents’ cover – but don’t forget to check if this still applies when you move out.

Student houses can be quite popular with burglars too. They’re full of laptops, and in many cases the locks aren’t particularly good. While contents insurance policies cover your damages after a burglary or fire, your house does have to satisfy all sorts of requirements.

Liability insurance pays for damages you cause to other people or their property. While the insurance premium is only a few euros per month, in many cases the policy actually covers claims up to well over 1 million euros.

Are you having trouble with your landlord? Or housemates? You could consider taking out legal protection insurance. The premiums are relatively high, but the insurance could come in handy. You can also always visit Het Juridisch Loket for free advice.

And you’ll be happy you took out travel insurance if you become ill while you’re abroad or your suitcase vanishes into thin air. Year-round insurance only costs a few euros a month, meaning that weekend breaks are covered too.

Health insurance is compulsory in the Netherlands. You’re actually included in your parents’ coverage until you turn 18, but after that you need to take out your own insurance. Insurers often offer special, less expensive versions for students. And you can switch insurers every year, although you have to do this before 1 January. And don’t forget to check whether you’re entitled to care allowance. This is actually quite likely, and it enables you to recover a large share of your monthly premium payments.

How do you survive… The Netherlands

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