Erasmus University College student Deniz has noticed just how difficult it is for international students to find accommodation.
“I am here because I am frustrated by the injustice in the housing market. The unfair treatment of vulnerable groups is close to my heart. But as an international student, I have also found it difficult to find somewhere to live. It took me months to find somewhere when I had to leave EUC accommodation. Landlords only wanted expats and they imposed either very high income requirements or absurd deposits. I finally found a place just one day before I was due to leave my other home. It was hugely stressful.”
“I wish the university college had been more transparant in advance about the crisis in the Dutch housing market and would offer better support in relation to accommodation. For example, foreign students face a bureaucratic nightmare when it comes to getting housing benefit. I was sent from pillar to post. I was supposed to be entitled to it in my current room, but no one can explain to me why I can’t receive it.”
History student Owen lives in Zuid and is seeing his neighbourhood turn into a yuppie neighbourhood.
“I currently live on the Beijerlandselaan and I’m afraid I’m being driven out by gentrification. It’s already started where we are now, in the Afrikaanderwijk. I’m concerned that gentrification boundary will advance even further, that the whole neighbourhood will be taken over by yuppies, causing the character of Zuid to disappear and all the original residents to be forced out.”
“I would love to carry on living in Rotterdam my whole life, but I don’t think I’ll be able to afford it anymore. I wouldn’t want to have to move to places like Ridderkerk or Vlaardingen.”
800 euros for six square metres
Mylena (Philosophy) is hoping that not all of Rotterdam will be filled with expensive penthouses.
“I am taking part in Woonopstand because I think that everyone deserves a roof over their heads. Friends from my previous course, International Business Administration, can pay as much as 800 euros for a room measuring six square metres, while others are forced to sleep on their friends’ sofas. Take a place like The Student Hotel: it’s grossly overpriced for what you get. I’ve noticed the problems are ever more prevalent among students and it’s affecting all sections of society.”
“I’m very lucky to have got a room through Stadswonen, but I’m going to have to move out soon because as I’m probably going to do a master degree in Amsterdam. I’m dreading trying for a room there because the odds are already stacked against me. So I’m hoping for a rent cap and more social housing. And I hope that not everywhere in Rotterdam will be crammed full with expensive penthouses, which is how things are looking at the moment.”