“Make sure you have accommodation before you come to Rotterdam. It is very stressful and disappointing if you come here and have to leave after two months because you can’t find anything”, says Rose Korver from the International Office. “We think it’s important to manage expectations: the housing market in Rotterdam is simply very tight and rooms are expensive. There is little supply and a lot of competition. If you start looking for a room now for the coming academic year, you’re actually already a little late.”
She expects a severe shortage of accommodation at the beginning of the academic year, as was the case in previous years. But it is difficult to estimate exactly how many students will be without a room. Some students will spend August and September in hostels or on a friend’s couch. Others go back home.
Erasmus University reserves approximately 1,200 rooms for international students by making agreements with housing corporations. This enables the university to help a quarter of the new international students find accommodation. The rest have to rely on the private market. Much of the reserved accommodation is already full.
Check the website of the International Office for more information and tips about accommodation.
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Other universities give similar advice or even urge students not to come to the Netherlands if they do not yet have a room. Utrecht University is asking students not to come to Utrecht unless they have managed to find accommodation, amid concerns that students without suitable housing could get into “undesirable and stressful situations”, writes the Algemeen Dagblad. The newspaper goes on to report that the university is giving this advice “with a heavy heart”.
Eindhoven University of Technology has also issued a warning to future students on its website: “We advise you not to come to Eindhoven if you have not found accommodation before the start of the academic year.” The University of Groningen is making a similar appeal.
The University of Amsterdam is warning that finding accommodation takes “time and effort” and, like other institutions, makes an urgent appeal to students to start looking well in advance. VU Amsterdam too advises students to reconsider their study options if they have not found accommodation in time.
The shortage of student accommodation is a recurring problem and led to further protests during the current academic year. International students find it particularly difficult because they generally have no network in the Netherlands. Meanwhile the number of international students at Dutch universities continues to grow steadily.
In September, a member of the Executive Board of Avans University of Applied Sciences offered rooms in her own home because of the shortage. It is also not unusual for students to end up on a campsite at the start of the academic year. The University of Amsterdam even went so far as to reserve cabins for students at a local campsite.
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Kences, the umbrella organisation of student housing associations, said in October last year that the shortfall in accommodation for students has risen to around 26,500. That shortfall is likely to increase in the years ahead.
Housing minister Hugo de Jonge, said in April that he is working on a better match between the number of students and the accommodation available, although it is not yet clear how he intends to bring this about.