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Housing shortage: Rotterdam is lacking thousands of rooms

The housing shortage is rapidly growing. One of the main causes of this is the increase…

This afternoon, all parties involved, from students to the Ministry of Education (OCW) and the Ministry of the Interior, will sign the new Action Plan student accommodation 2018 – 2021 in Rotterdam. This aims to offer a long term solution for the housing shortage facing many student cities. In ten years’ time, supply and demand must be in balance.

The last action plan ran from 2011 to 2016 and contained clear agreements such as building an extra 16,000 student houses. Not enough apparently, because in many cities students are still struggling to find an affordable room.

Reliable figures

This time the parties are therefore choosing a different approach: there are no hard local figures in the plan. Education institutions, civil servants, students and accommodation providers will now decide for themselves how many extra houses must be built in each municipality. The first agreements must be received by the Ministries of OCW and Interior by 1 February 2019.

The annual National Monitor Student Accommodation, which was published today, plays an important role in establishing the housing need in each municipality. The Ministry of Education also plans to explore how the influx of foreign students can be better predicted.

Legal position


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The last spearhead is information: new students must have a clear picture about their chances on the housing market and know their rights and obligations, so that they are less likely to become victims of dubious landlords.

“All those involved are convinced that doing nothing is not an option,” says Diederik Brink, director of Kences, the organisation of student accommodation providers. “We already have shortages and that damages Dutch higher education.” He has great deal of faith in the plan. “In the past, everyone involved used to think up a solution themselves, but we are now really working together.”

Dutch student union LSVb hopes that this time the agreements will have results and is keen to follow the plan closely. “All parties are now responsible, and if structural improvements are not visible, we will ask Parliament to intervene,” says LSVb board member John van Harten.