International students in Netherlands ‘forced to sleep in cars’

Lack of student accommodation means new arrivals are often having to return home, warns student union

September 12, 2017
Man sleeping in a car
Source: iStock

Overseas students starting courses at Dutch universities find it so difficult to find accommodation that they are being forced to sleep in campsites, cars and even refugee shelters, according to one of the country’s national student unions.

One British student decided to go home after four months of unsuccessful hunting for a place to stay, during which he slept on a sofa at the student union’s offices, according to a statement by the LSVB.

Tariq Sewbaransingh, the union’s chairman, said that “universities have actively recruited the students who have nowhere to live. They need to take responsibility and find a solution,” according to local reports.

In Groningen the city council has even reopened a refugee centre where foreign students can sleep for €16 (£14.40) a night, according to the site Dutch News, in order to cope with the problem.

One French student told an assistance hotline opened by the student union that she had to return to France after having to stay in an Airbnb, and then a hostel – accommodation that proved too expensive.

Mr Sewbaransingh said that Dutch universities have recruited students from overseas on “false pretexts” and should now take the lead in trying to make student housing more available.

david.matthews@timeshighereducation.com

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