Over a month ago, thousands of students from all over the globe arrived in Groningen with a
shared goal in mind: to pursue their education in the Netherlands. Today, multiple international students are still struggling with the student housing crisis.
Whilst some have managed to find housing in the student city, some are still hotel-hopping and
couch-surfing as they struggle to find more permanent accommodation.
“It’s been over a month of sleeping in a bed that’s not mine and living in a room that’s not my own.
I don’t know if or when I’m going to have a home here and I’m starting to regret coming here at
all,” German student Peter Winkler says in an interview with The GO.
In addition to the lack of housing, numerous Dutch students are not willing to share their homes
with international students as made clear by the “no internationals” message on online housing
websites, DutchNews reported.
Peter is still in the process of finding a place but says it is both frustrating and difficult due to the
“no internationals” policy. He, among many other internationals, views the policy as “a form of
The GO spoke to several others in similar situations as Peter and a general consensus among the
students were how not having a home in Groningen has really taken a toll on their mental health.
The Netherlands is no stranger to the student housing crisis, a crisis that goes beyond the
borders of Groningen and is just as, if not more, prevalent in other student cities including Utrecht
Since 2018, Dutch universities association Universities of The Netherlands has campaigned for
new rules suggesting that universities should introduce a limit on student numbers in English
language courses, as well as limit the number of non-EU students per course, DutchNews
Whilst some students were aware of the severity of the housing crisis prior to their arrival, others
were as shocked as they were scared upon their arrival in Groningen.
During the months of June and July, several Dutch universities warned international students not
to come to the Netherlands unless they have secured a place to stay prior to their arrival,
“He made me feel extremely uncomfortable with his inappropriate sexual advances”
Several international students told The GO that universities should warn their students regarding
the housing shortage well in advance.
“Warning us a month before our semester starts isn’t helpful. Dutch universities are keeping this
information from us until they decide it’s convenient for us to know,” says international student
For some, not having accommodation prior to their arrival in Groningen meant having to deal with
inappropriate behavior and harassment, on top of the stress of not having a place to live.
“He knew I was looking for a place to stay and he took advantage of that. He knew that I was at
his mercy and he made me feel extremely uncomfortable with his inappropriate sexual advances,”
first-year Indian student Pooja Sharma says to The GO.