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  • Writer's pictureOscar Schulze Casademunt

Landlords turn away internationals amidst housing crisis in Groningen



The Dutch housing crisis has led some landlords in Groningen to bar non-Dutch speaking tenants from renting accommodation in student housing. International students tell The Groninger the practice leaves them feeling anxious and isolated.


Groningen, much like other Dutch cities, is gripped by a housing crisis, one so severe that the University of Groningen have advised prospective students not to undertake their studies if they have not found accommodation by the beginning of August.


While it is an issue that affects many in the city, it is particularly international students that struggle with finding somewhere to live, due to some landlords’ preferences for Dutch-speaking tenants.


An Irish student at the University of Groningen, Anne-Marie, 21, describes the practice as “discriminatory in a way” and says it led her to think “I shouldn’t even be here.” “It does feel very isolating,” she reflects, adding that it creates another dimension of stress to an already difficult search for accommodation.


Lodewijkstraat Groningen © Oscar Schulze Casademunt

She says that despite having lived in Groningen for a year at the time, her search for housing was still “very anxiety provoking”, and her prior knowledge of the process of finding a room counted for little.


A Dutch student at the University of Groningen, Alant, 22, relayed similar experiences in her hunt for housing. “I had 17 hospis over the span of 2 months” she says, referring to the practice of ‘hospi’ interviews for room listings. While most tenants were “welcoming and friendly”, she admitted that attending so many interviews “did take a lot of energy out of me”.


Alant also reflected that she did not go to a single interview where any internationals were invited, as every listing demanded a Dutch-speaking tenant.


When asked about this restriction, she admitted that she saw both sides. “I do understand why all-Dutch homes want to keep it Dutch, because communication and living habits may be very different [with internationals]”, she admits, although she points out that Dutch people “all know how hard it is for internationals to find new houses”, so there should be a greater degree of empathy.



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