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International students deserve housing rights too!


ACTION • Woonstrijdkamp


Living has become almost impossible for many (international) students in Groningen. Woonstrijdkamp demands concrete solutions!

GRONINGEN - housing crisis - international students

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The housing crisis is affecting much of the Dutch population. But internationals are also struggling.



The University of Groningen (RUG) is so eager to build an international reputation that it is one of the biggest contributors to the ongoing housing crisis in the city. Every year we read reports about how students – especially international ones – are struggling to find a room. The university had even set up an emergency tent camp four years ago to stem some of the housing crisis, to no avail.

Meanwhile, a pandemic and a recession later, and the problem has simply gotten worse. The waiting time for social housing has risen to eight years. Homeless students occupied the RUG’s Academy building last year in protest. Indeed, between 2020 and 2021, the housing shortage increased by some 4,500 more homeless students (26,500 in total), not to mention the rents the lucky few have to cough up. Homeowners are eagerly taking advantage of the situation to make students pay exorbitant rents. After all, those students can borrow extra when they don’t have the money, right?

International students

As dastard as this way of thinking is, it doesn’t even extend to the 9 thousand internationals who can’t simply borrow from their governments. They arrive in a university town that barely has room for them, without being noticed beforehand about the severity of the situation. On top of that, this group is not entitled to a free public transport, since these students are not Dutch citizens. As a result, even finding housing outside Groningen city is not an option for them because of the expensive commuting costs. After all, don’t forget that the Netherlands has the most expensive public transport in the EU!

The PvdA and the CU are proposing banning temporary rental contracts. This may seem like a good solution, since landlords like to use these contracts to systematically raise the rent. But permanent rental contracts also mean another obstacle for foreign students who only come for one semester or year. This way, internationals would still remain the brunt of the failing Dutch housing policy.

Woonstrijdkamp demands concrete solutions to the housing crisis in Groningen, such as affordable housing, free emergency accommodation and more housing on the university campus. In addition, the government should also grant free public transport to international students. With support from Het Actiefonds, students camped out in the Noorderplantsoen the weekend of Sept. 9-11 to call attention to the ongoing housing crisis, demonstrating for better housing rights.

Because houses are for people, not for profit.