Whether you are from the Netherlands, Canada or China, it is difficult to find a room in Groningen, especially because thousands of rooms on the market are effectively “hidden”.
Translation by Matthijs van Houten
“It’s a jungle out there”, Peter Bregman, director of housing association Nijestee, told Dagblad van het Noorden. Bregman believes that there is a clear overview of available housing is currently lacking, and that room seekers end up having to sign up in lots of different places to try and find a place to live.
“There are different providers and rental platforms: corporations, housing network, commercial landlords. Then you still have the many student houses that choose their own roommates, often based on membership in a student association. You must register separately with all providers, and the websites are often only in Dutch.” As such, around 10,000 affordable student rooms offered by corporations at fair prices – around 200 euros a month – are more or less hidden.
Together with other local housing associations – namely Lefier and De Huismeesters – Nijestee is pleading for a more central registration system for new students who are looking for a room. To that end, Nijestee is planning to launch a bilingual website for the students in January. “The site will allow them to see where our student rooms are and which are still available. You can also register via this website. We are asking the other corporations to participate”, Bregman explains.
A similar central location for private room listings was launched a year ago as a collective effort by the Hanze University of Applied Sciences, the municipality and the University of Groningen: athomeingroningen.com.
More international students
Approximately 4,500 new international students are expected to come to Groningen this academic year. The University of Groningen expects a net increase of 250 students compared to last year (2,944), and the Hanzehogeschool expects a net increase of 150 and a total of 1,200 newcomers. Altogether, the city of Groningen has approximately 10,000 international students.
The hunt for student rooms for the upcoming academic year is in full swing right now. Last year, there was a major shortage of student rooms for internationals, and the RUG, Hanze and the municipality provided temporary housing for around 415 students. This year, there will be 300 beds available for students (for seven euros a night) who have not been able to find a room before classes start.
In response to the persistent lack of available housing, the municipality, housing corporations, Student Housing Foundation (SSH), Hanze University, the Groningen Student Union and the University of Groningen signed a covenant in November last year to tackle the ongoing problems. Part of the planned solution is the scheduled construction of up to 1,500 rooms by the year 2025.