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Rotterdam higher education institutes sound the alarm ‘a dire need for student housing’

22 September 2021

The Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, Inholland University of Applied Sciences and the Erasmus University of Rotterdam are jointly sounding the alarm about the growing and now urgent problem of student housing. They are calling on the municipality to join them in looking for solutions to help students looking for accommodation.

The institutions believe that the municipality has a responsibility to ensure that students become committed to Rotterdam. Living and studying in the same city helps considerably in this respect. The influx of new talent is also important for employers in all sectors in the city and the region and should therefore be secured for the city. This academic year, some 30,000 new students started a study programme at the university, colleges, and vocational schools in Rotterdam.

Prevent students from leaving the city

"We as institutions are making every effort to ensure that as many students as possible complete their studies or training successfully. An important factor here is that students feel at home in the city and that they have a safe place to live and study. We support the measures that the municipality of Rotterdam is already taking by making student life more accessible for every student and by tackling the room capacity, but that is not enough. We call for even more urgency in order to prevent students from leaving the city," says Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences Board member, Wijnand van den Brink, on behalf of the three institutions.

There is a great need for more affordable student housing in order to keep the large group of students loyal to our city, during and after their studies. The institutions are receiving increasing reports about students who explicitly choose to delay their studies in order to avoid having to return to their parental homes after completing their studies. An urgent and targeted approach is therefore needed for both inflow and outflow in student and youth housing. Part of this demand explicitly includes the temporary housing of international students who are following (part of) their studies in Rotterdam.

Looking for accommodation within the organisation

The universities of applied sciences and the university are appealing to the municipality to join them in tackling this problem with urgency. Together with the municipality, they want to explore the possibility of an approach similar to that used in other cities (such as Amsterdam), in which the education sector, the municipality and housing corporations enter into a cooperation aimed at a sustainable supply of student accommodation.

The schools will also sound the alarm within their own organisations and ask their staff and students to look into the possibility of offering (temporary) accommodation. "Of course, we realise that our young staff and students, in particular, already live in fairly small spaces, precisely because of the shortage on the housing market. But we are at our wit's end. We are making this internal appeal knowing that it is not a structural solution to this difficult problem. We really need a more targeted approach and we need the government to get involved", emphasises Wijnand van den Brink.

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