The University of Amsterdam has written to international students telling them not to come to the capital if they have not found a place to live by August 15.
Almost 5,000 international students have signed up for a room via the university’s accommodation service, but this is far more than the 2,416 spaces available for first years from abroad.
‘Since we are now reaching the end of the housing allocation process it has become clear that your ranking on the waiting list will not lead to a room offer… Because we cannot assist you, we will cancel your housing application,’ the email from the UvA’s accommodation service states.
‘Therefore, we strongly advise you not to travel to Amsterdam if you have not secured housing before 15 August.’
The email goes on to tell students how to cancel their application to study and how to reclaim the fee they have paid to the university for help with finding a place to live.
‘I have been constantly monitoring housing websites and Facebook groups, but I have received no replies from either,’ Hungarian student Iván László Nagy, who received the email this week, told Dutch News. He is hoping to start a Master’s degree at the UvA next month and describes the UvA’s position as ‘infuriating’.
He is now using other avenues to try and find a house but without any luck so far. ‘Attending a potential viewing is also impossible from abroad, and even if I travelled to Amsterdam, there is no guarantee that I would get a chance to see these these rooms. And the fact that accommodation scams are believed to be common does not make it easier either.’
Nagy has now teamed up with another Hungarian student to see it that makes the housing search easier. ‘All I know is that I could couchsurf for a little, but is that seriously something I should count on as an option as an MA student?,’ he said.
The Parool reported on Thursday that UvA student union Asva is being inundated with requests for help from foreign students. The situation is being made worse by the fact that tourism has picked up again, so homeless students can no longer stay in cheap hostels and hotels, the paper said.
In June, several Dutch universities warned international students not to come to the Netherlands unless they have organised somewhere to live before they arrive.
The universities of Maastricht and Utrecht and Groningen’s HBO college are all recommending students avoid their courses unless they have organised a place to live over the summer, while Delft and Erasmus are sending out similar signals, the Volkskrant reported at the time.
Last October, student housing monitor Kences said the Netherlands needed 26,500 more student rooms. In Amsterdam alone, the shortfall is put at 5,200.
Foreign students face particular problems in finding a place to live because they usually have no network and universities are not required by law to house them.
The annual search for student accommodation is being made worse by the fact that foreign students are not welcome in many Dutch student houses. Vacant rooms are often advertised on Facebook and specialist housing sites with the proviso ‘no internationals’ and ‘Dutch only’, even though this may break anti-discrimination laws.
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