fbpx
18/02/2020 Communication Science news and articles

The Dutch Hunger Games: Room-seeking struggles in the Netherlands

One minute on Facebook and the fight is on: “Pick me”. “I’m clean and sociable”. “I can pay extra rent”. “PM sent”. “Check your PM”. “Love me”. “Save me from homelessness”. Welcome to a normal day in the life of a student searching for a room in Amsterdam.


It is no news that the housing market in the Netherlands has been saturated for a couple years and the crisis is particularly hard on students, especially when those are internationals. With the Netherlands being one of the most densely populated countries in Europe, it struggles to house all the expats looking for a taste of the Dutch life. As universities allow more and more international students to apply every year, the housing market fails to welcome them. Worse, internationals are often greeted with the phrases: “Dutch only” or “No Internationals” at the beginning of every advert. So what is the situation really like from an international-room-seeking student? Is the housing market really that bad in the Netherlands?

Groningen: between (inhuman) quick solutions and student solidarity
The problem has reached such levels that in Groningen, a popular student city in the North of the country, massive army-like tents have been erected to give a temporary solutions to some 100 students left without a room upon arrival. “Oh that’s nice” you may say, “at least they don’t have to sleep outside”. I agree, it’s nice. Until I heard that the fee to sleep on an army bed, in a tent with 30 other people, is more than 12 euros per night. Quick calculations…Yes, that’s right:400 euros a month per person… to sleep in a tent. Is this the Fyre Festival all over again?

some actually had to spend one or more nights in the hall of the railway station

On the bright side, this inhuman crisis has led some student groups to call for charitable hearts (who own a couch) to come to the rescue of these less fortunate students. This is how many established students offered a place (or couch) to sleep on as temporary solution to students who would otherwise be forced to sleep on the streets – literally, some actually had to spend one or more nights in the hall of the railway station before being hosted.

Hosting a random person in your house for multiple weeks is not something that everybody would be willing to do, but this solidarity really shows that students understand that the crisis is not answered by the government or the university. Students have come to the conclusion that they have to have each other’s back themselves. Alright then, faith in humanity restored!

The big scam
Never mind. My faith in humanity is not restored for long after hearing, and witnessing, the horrifying stories of some international students looking for a room in Amsterdam. The first plague as a room seeker: scamming. High-level scams that especially use international students as targets are so smartly put together that the scam is near perfect. While some scammers offer rooms that are “too good to be true”, such a 2 bedrooms apartment in the centre of Amsterdam for a price way under market-price, which of course, you cannot visit before renting because the landlord is allegedly on holiday (reminder: never send money to something you have not visited!), others have concocted intricate and elaborate plans to fool you into paying them big money.

How could you have known that this place was actually an Airbnb, rented out for the weekend?

Think about it: you visited a room, everything looked perfect. You even signed a “real” contract with “real” names on it. You thought you had found the perfect room, a little gem in the Big Apple of the Netherlands. How could you have known that this place was actually an Airbnb, rented out for the weekend? Just long enough for you to visit what seem to be a legitimate place? Sadly, this story has happened to more than it should. The problem with this type of scams is that it is very difficult to discern the true from the fake.

How to avoid scams (or at least try)?
The first thing to keep in mind is to use common sense. It is very difficult not to be tempted by a room offer when the struggle to find a place has been real, but taking a second to rethink an offer and ask for guarantee can only do good.

What else?

  • Copy/paste an advert into google. Scammers might have used the exact same text for multiple adverts.
  • Double check spelling in the text, email address, and closely look at the names of the renters: if the text sounds automatically translated, weirdly spelled and the contact names are just a little too weird, it may be a scam.
  • Be careful with sending copies of your passport/ID. Even if they have sent you “theirs” in return.

Looking for a new place to live in the Netherlands is not the easiest and most fun thing there is to do around here. However, the benefits from being an international student living in the Netherlands completely overcome the drawbacks of finding a room. The process of finding a nice place can be frustrating, long and tiring, but it is not impossible. Just make sure to have a few stress-relief mechanisms ready for moments of panic, and you will be just fine!

Cover: Jose Alonso/Unsplash / Final Editor: Ivo Martens

Reacties

reacties

Related Posts

Medium Podcast #8 – Jade’s Pact

14/02/2020 and

14/02/2020

The month in which Jade stopped using smartphones and developed a texting twitch (Parents Beware).

Personal Ads: Who needs Cupid?

14/02/2020

14/02/2020

From personal ads to dating apps, people have advertised themselves to find the best suitor. Medium tells you why cupid is out of business.

Parasite wins Best Picture without an ’English-speaking’ host

13/02/2020

13/02/2020

Parasite makes history at the 92nd Academy Awards by being the first non-English speaking film to win Best Picture, defeating eight other competing English-language movies. Danny tells us why Parasite deserved to win.

A day in the life of the FSR FMG’s official secretary

13/02/2020

13/02/2020

Have you ever wondered what the secretary of the FSR FMG does? Meet Robin while she tells about her job! The job that currency has a vacancy, so check it out!

“Trust the child within you”: Interview with Francis Alÿs

Medium interviewed Francis Alÿs, director of "Sandlines", which premiered in Europe at the International Film Festival in Rotterdam. His work is currently being exhibited at the Eye Film Museum in Amsterdam.

Black tie: A guide on formal attire

12/02/2020

12/02/2020

Your next formal event is coming up and no idea what to wear? Then this article is the perfect guide in what to wear in ‘black tie’ to the next formal event.  

The Lessons of a Mercurius Sales Committee Member

10/02/2020

10/02/2020

Have you ever wondered what the Sales Committee of the study association Mercurius exactly does? Margarete gives you an insight into the useful skills she has developed as part of the committee.

Vienna: City of dreams

10/02/2020

10/02/2020

The Austrian capital is a worldwide famous destination with all sorts of architecture, museums, and landmarks to visit. If you are an art or history lover, a foodie, or you just get a thrill out of traveling to a new place; Vienna is the place for you!

AMFI-film screening 2020: Student works of art about fashion and identity

09/02/2020 and

09/02/2020

Medium had the opportunity to attend the 2020 Fashion Film Screening & Photo-exhibition created by AMFI students. This was our take.

‘Taylor Swift: Miss Americana’: How The Pop Supernova Found Her Voice

07/02/2020

07/02/2020

Emma analyses 'Miss Americana,' the documentary about Taylor Swift. In this, Swift narrates her life as a pop star and a woman in her 20's.

Vegan for a month: a new veganning or a big missed-steak?

07/02/2020

07/02/2020

Dry-January not quite your thing? Maybe give veganism a go. Gabby explores veganism for herself, and leaves us with some tasty tips!

Afgeserveerd voedsel wordt steeds meer uitgeserveerd

06/02/2020

06/02/2020

Steeds meer initiatieven richten zich op het tegengaan van voedselverspilling. En dat is maar goed ook, want jaarlijks verdwijnt een derde van al het voedsel in de vuilnisbak.

Hoe ik een maand mijn smartphone opgaf

05/02/2020

05/02/2020

Geen smartphone voor een maand: hoe kan dat tegenwoordig? Jade ging deze uitdaging aan en vertelt waarom iedereen het een keertje moet proberen.

FSR 101: A crash course on what the student council does for your student rights

03/02/2020 and

03/02/2020

Medium breaks down the influence that the Faculty Student Council of UvA's Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences has on our community and how you can participate to make a change.

Duolingo: The Boogieman of Language Apps

31/01/2020

31/01/2020

The green owl goes rogue - this article discusses Duolingo's (almost extreme) methods to coerce us into practicing our language skills.

mersin escort mersin escort mersin escort canlı tv konya escort