'Ich bin ein Utrechter'

You move out into student housing and become a resident of Utrecht. Congratulations. However, that does not mean that you immediately feel like a Utrechter. The hearts of freshmen often still lie in the city or town where they come from. They play sports, have a side job and have their doctor or dentist there. Therefore, not all students register as Utrechter, which is becoming more and more of an issue.

Figures from the municipality show that the total number of "official" residents of the city is growing, while the number of people in Utrecht between the ages of 18 and 25 is decreasing. One reason for this might be that many students do not register themselves.

For the municipality, it is important that everyone who lives in the city is registered as well. It is a source of income. The city receives around 2,300 euros per inhabitant. That money is used, among other things, to maintain the facilities in the city. The municipal tax is also determined on the basis of the number of people registered at an address. The municipality is considering a campaign to encourage registration.

The rule is clear in itself. Who lives in Utrecht is a Utrechter. That also means that you have to register as a resident of the city. It is even mandatory. If you do not register, you risk a fine of 240 euros.

You might think that the landlord is checking this, but that’s not true. Student housing association SSH says that registration is a duty towards the municipality and not towards the SSH. Action is only taken if there is residential fraud. In fact, there are landlords who want to evade government or tax rules and say, “You can come and live here, but you can't register.” In a city with a major housing shortage, a student quickly comes to the conclusion that an illegal room is better is then no room.

Until recently, the students had a proper incentive. Anyone who wanted to receive a grant for living away from home had to be registered at an address other than that of their parents. This pressure has disappeared with the abolition of the basic grant. A certain degree of laxity now prevails among students. On one site a student wrote: "I had stopped by, but when I saw that queue, I turned around just as quickly." However, registering for students can also be useful for themselves. For example, it is a condition to be eligible for municipal psychological help.

If you are going to study in Utrecht and move out into student housing, you will automatically become a Utrechter. Whether you want to or not. And most students later remain in the city. So why not immediately take the step? With a registration in your pocket, you can rightly say: Ich bin ein Utrechter.

In September 2019 DUB publishes the magazine StudentenEnStad. With this magazine DUB celebrates fifty years of independent university journalism in Utrecht. The theme is the relationship between the Utrecht students, the city of Utrecht and the Utrechters. The magazine was published in Dutch. Here we present a collection of translated stories and features especially written for our site.