Three students living on the outskirts of Utrecht
'My room is big and the rent is not that expensive'
Students are having a really hard time finding rooms to rent in Utrecht. Those on SSH's waiting list have to wait 38 months for a room and the situation doesn't get any better for those renting directly from a landlord. Needless to say, the law of supply and demand has caused rents to go through the roof. To meet students' demand, the city of Utrecht would have to have 5,300 additional rooms for rent. In a recent interview for DUB, the national student housing director Ardin Mourik stated that UU students will have to consider the surrounding areas more and more. Julian, Carien and Annemee are already doing that: they are renting rooms in Driebergen, Bunnik and De Bilt, respectively.
Julian (19), Bachelor's student in History, lives in Driebergen
‘I come from a small town myself’
“Up until three months ago, I was commuting daily between Zevenbergen and Utrecht. The trip took one hour and forty minutes each way, which I considered way too long, so I really needed to find a room.
"I spent a long time searching in Utrecht. I registered for an SSH room and I was on their waiting list for a long, long time but nothing turned up. I would be living in Utrecht if I could but I was forced to expand my search. I looked for rooms on the outskirts of Utrecht as well. It seemed like a good idea to not live in the city. After all, I come from a small town myself and I've always enjoyed that."
"In the end, I got a room in Driebergen. I share a two-storey home with 10 other students, five guys and five girls. Each floor has its own bathroom. We also have a big roof terrace where we hang out often. My room is big and the rent is not that expensive. There aren't many places here to go out for a drink or a snack, so sometimes I prefer to go out in Utrecht but going back home is always a hassle. Trains and buses to Driebergen stop running after 1:00 am, which is why going to Utrecht is a bit of a hurdle for me sometimes.
"I also miss sports facilities and big libraries to study in Driebergen. But, so far, that's not a reason to move to Utrecht just yet. If I could put this house in the city centre of Utrecht, with the same roommates, I would because it's so much fun here. That's why I'm going to stay in Driebergen for now."
Carien (21) is a Bachelor's student in Psychology living in Bunnik
‘I'm not going to bike for an hour just to have a drink"
“I come from De Lutte, a small town on the border with Germany. The room I currently occupy was actually one of the first that I came across on a Facebook page called Kamer in Utrecht (Room in Utrecht, Ed.). It was only later on that I found out that the room wasn't actually in Utrecht, but rather on the outskirts of the city. So, this wasn't a deliberate choice.
"Every now and then, people will ask me if I'm still looking for a room in Utrecht because they have something to offer. I consider it for a moment but then I remember that I'm so happy with my room and how much I'm paying for it. The rent prices in Utrecht don't really motivate me to move there."
"Maybe I'll move towards the city centre at some point, just to experience what it's like to live in the city. Bunnik really is a small town. However, I've noticed that more and more students are moving here, so I wouldn't be surprised if more places to go out, such as bars and pubs, were to pop up soon. Still, I prefer to go to Utrecht for that sort of thing because all my friends live there and I'm used to cycling long distances.
Sometimes people only want to have one drink, though. That's not worth it to me, so I don't do it. I'm not going to bike for an hour just to get one drink. But, usually, I don't mind biking two or three times a week to Utrecht to enjoy some drinks."
Annemee (21) is a Bachelor's student in Psychology living in De Bilt
‘I like that it's not as busy here'
“I live about 10 minutes by bike from the Utrecht Science Park and 15 minutes away by bike from the city centre. My apartment is located above a Kruidvat store (a chemist, Ed.) and Albert Heijn (a supermarket, Ed.). I can roll out of my bed straight into those stores.
"Last year, I moved from Epe to De Bilt to study Psychology. I share this place with seven other students. We have our meals together quite often and we also enjoy going out together. It's a lot of fun!
"One of the main reasons why I chose to study in Utrecht is the city's central location, which allows me to go anywhere. There are surely fewer things to do in De Bilt, compared to Utrecht. There are no bars or pubs, for example. But there are beautiful forests towards Bilthoven where you can go for a walk or a run.
"It's so nice and quiet here. I like that it's not as crowded as the city centre. I know some students who don't have a room yet and they are considering living in De Bilt just like me. I'd recommend it!"