Four international students have filed formal complaints of being discriminated against in response to housing vacancies being listed as “Dutch only”.
Translation by Traci White
A range of initiatives – and people – are pushing back against discriminatory practices on the rental market. According to Discrimination Hotline Groningen, room listings specifying that they are only available for Dutch applicants is a form of discrimination. Dagblad van het Noorden reports that as of the 18th of September, at least four foreign students have filed formal complaints in response to such listings.
Although some students are filing reports, Niek Peters from the Discrimination Hotline says that very few international students who actually experience discrimination file a report or follow up on it in any way.
Matt Veerkamp, the chairperson of the Jonge Democraten Groningen, is calling for a campaign to foster integration of international students in the wider Dutch student population. Veerkamp says that any campaign should also focus on dispelling the stereotypes that landlords and Dutch tenants appear to have toward internationals, namely that they are only staying in Groningen for a short period of time and are “not interested in really taking part in Dutch student life.”
The majority of internationals live in Groningen for years. Around 5,500 foreign students at the University of Groningen enrol for the entirety of their degree programme, and only 1,100 come to the university on a short term exchange.
Jesse Siegers, who runs rental platform Kamersin.nl, has said that he wants to use his site to help foreign tenants. Siegers says he is planning to redesign his site so that would-be tenants are directly informed about what their rights are, which would be especially useful for foreigners who are unlikely to be aware of Dutch rental law. However, some Groningen listings on the site still specify that internationals need not apply.