Student housing shortage surges in the Netherlands

Photo: courtesy of LSVb

The number of students enroled in higher education institutions has increased a lot faster than anticipated, according to the latest forecast by the Dutch Ministry of Education. Over the next eight years, the number of students is expected to increase even more, by at least 48,0000, according to the monitor conducted annually by forecasting consultancy firm ABF Research and commissioned by Kences, the umbrella organisation of social housing corporations offering student accommodation. The first explanaion is the ever growing number of international students, but there’s also an upswing in the number of Dutch university students, and they've been deciding to move out of their parents' house more often.

While it’s true that the number of accommodations for students is expected to increase by 18,000 places by 2025, even if that forecast is correct, the shortage will keep escalating. According to Kences Director Jolan de Bie, the first measure that should be taken to solve this urgent crisis is making more student accommodation available. Then, there should be better coordination between the housing market and educational policy.

In the current market, students are spending an average of 46 percent of their income on rent, three percentage points higher than in 2019. Of students still living with their parents, 43 percent will not be looking for a room because the rent is just too expensive, the survey conducted last spring revealed.

Kences identifies a trend in the rising number of studios (which doubled in 9 years) in proportion to the decreasing number of rooms for students with shared facilities. Director De Bie attributes this trend to current rental and subsidy regulations, which "make it financially attractive to build studios and unattractive to build student housing that is not for single dwelling.”

She calls this an "extremely undesirable" situation, as shared accommodation is much better for students' mental health and social development, especially when one considers younger students.