They will march through Rotterdam on Wednesday. On Thursday, they will be in Zwolle and Amsterdam. And on Friday they will finish in Nijmegen and Leiden.

The actions are organised by the Dutch Student Union (Landelijke Studenten Vakbond, LSVb) and workers’ union FNV Young & United, who are conducting a campaign against the loan system under the hashtag #nietmijnschuld (not my debt). A national ‘student strike’ will take place on 3 June.

The campaigners want the next cabinet to let students study debt free, says LSVb vice-chair Freya Chiappino, and that there will be compensation for the unlucky generation without a basic grant.

protest demonstratie niet-mijn-schuld-foto-LSVb-en-FNV-YeU-7-EM-1

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Students take to the streets against loan system

In the run-up to the elections, young people in six cities demonstrated against the loan…

The formation towards a new cabinet seems to take some time yet. Are the politicians working on the loan system?

“That is a risk of everything that has happened around the formation. It is now mainly about the parties who will work together or the new informateur. It is very important that the loan system and the compensation are on the agenda.”

The current informateur is Mariëtte Hamer, current president of the Social and Economic Council. She founded the LSVb in the 1980s and you presented her with an award. Does that help?

“Contact is good, also in the SER, but the lines are never as short as we would like. Unfortunately, we cannot say: please do this for us.”

What does a student need to study debt-free?

“A basic grant and a job on the side for twelve hours a week should be enough to complete a good education without study debt. Moreover, the money for the study grants should not come from the education budget. But there are many knobs that politicians can turn. Cheaper housing would also help, or a halving of tuition fees, or a higher minimum wage.”

Can students protest in a corona proof manner?

“Yes, we have experience with that by now. For example, we put hoops on the ground for students to stand in. We had a protest with two hundred people in March and it went well.”