The student housing crisis is an ongoing issue in the Netherlands. International students are especially hard hit by this. Now, students from the Design Academy in Eindhoven are joining the fray.
On Saturday, 27 October, from 12:00 to 17:00, they will gather on Ketelhuisplein. The protestors did not choose this date at random. “I am aware of the attention Eindhoven receives during Dutch Design Week (DDW)”, says Coltrane McDowell. He is a student at the Design Academy who is involved in this protest. “It’s spotlight is a platform where we wish to voice our opinions about the student housing situation. It is a contrast – if not us then who.”
The students are protesting what they refer to as the ‘joke’ that is student housing in Eindhoven. “We call upon our universities to recognise and advertise the lack of housing in Eindhoven. They must ensure a house is provided for every student they accept”, reads the Facebook event description.
No BSN, no ‘normal’ life
When students do not have a permanent address, they cannot apply for a BSN number. Without this, they cannot open bank accounts, get health insurance or get a job. Coltrane is an international student doing a Master’s program of Social Design at the Design Academy.
He says, “We as a group of students from the academy, both Undergraduate and Masters, feel the process of finding homes has been exceedingly difficult, frustrating. We also feel there is a lack of support for the challenges of finding a home.”
He is one of a group of students living at a holiday campground in nearby Mierlo. The ‘We Want Woonruimte’ (Living space) organisation approached the group. This collective of students and activists are committed to fighting for improved, affordable housing conditions.
“It is early in the process, but we would like conversations to continue on after DDW”, says Coltrane. ‘We call upon the City Council to address and consider alternative options for registration in the city”, reads the Facebook event details.
“Due to the lack of available housing it is extremely difficult to get rental contracts”, Coltrane says. “It forces us to live outside the law with no stability or security.” He is calling on all students in Eindhoven, not just those from the Design Academy, to join the protest on Saturday.