The Drents city is currently suffering from a shortage of student rooms, but various small projects are hoping to bridge that gap.
Translated by Thomas Ansell
Within Meppel, the largest draws for students are the International Teacher Education for Primary Schools (ITEps) course at Stenden Hogeschool, as reported by De Stentor. That course prepares students for teaching in International Schools all over the world, and is the only such course in the world. At the moment, around 400 students attend the school, and all of them must be housed.
This, combined with the shortage of student rooms in other Northern cities, has put extra pressure on Meppel’s housing supply. In April, Ton Gelmers of Stenden University said: ‘there must be a minimum of 100 new short-term rooms, and another 100 rooms required in the mid-term.’
One scheme hoping to address the shortage is the refurbishment of the former library in Nijeveen, just outside of the city of Meppel. The building will be converted into 16 studio apartments. A few streets further, in Kolderveen, the Hoekema father and son team are turning a former doctor’s practice that was established on the land of a large former farm, into 14 rooms. These luxurious rooms will have a series of extra facilities, but under the ‘points system’ used for determining a fair rental price, will be available for between 350 and 380 euros. The larger room will be available for 450 euros per month, but as mentioned by Hoekema ‘if you split that with a partner, it’s no money at all!’
Indeed, as Hoekema says, the municipality is actively pushing new student developments to help with the shortage. ‘I actually had wanted to build for older people, and then we could have asked for a higher rental price. But the gemeente stood firm: it must be student housing.’
Another anticipated development is the former water authority building on the Blankenstein in Meppel. It has stood empty since the merger between the Drents and Overijsselse authorities, which resulted in them sharing office space in Zwolle. The building in Meppel is now owned by Jansen Vastgoed, from Zwolle, who also bought the former offices used by the water authority in Zwolle. The application to turn the Meppel building into more student housing is being considered by the gemeente, confirmed the gemeente.
“For the coming year, we expect somewhere around 500 to 550 students’, said Gelmers. “We expect, in time, that we will need between 60 and 90 extra rooms, because of the growth just in non-Dutch students.”
Photo source: Wikipedia