Fewer internationals in town
Coronavirus puts stop to Groningen housing shortage
According to Jolien Stokroos with SSH, the largest student housing company for internationals in Groningen, says the corona crisis is definitely responsible for this change. ‘There are far fewer exchange students or international students that are here for a full four years.’
In previous years, the rooms SSH had on offer would be booked solid well before the start of the academic year, mainly because the UG and Hanze University of Applied Sciences would refer new students to the corporation.
Before summer had even started, SSH already decided to make fewer units available. They did this on the basis of the number of enrolments at both universities. In coordination with owner Lefier, they’ve started renovations on the Kornoeljeflat which were originally scheduled for next year, and they’ve taken the more than three hundred units in the building off the market. The rooms will however be available in case of emergency. ‘But we don’t think we’ll be having any emergencies’, says UG spokesperson Jorien Bakker.
The building at the Van Swietenlaan is no longer available to students, and 170 double rooms have been converted into single occupancy rooms. This means the number of rooms SSH has on offer has been reduced by seven hundred.
Nevertheless, approximately 120 units are still available. ‘They are very slowly filling up’, says Strokroos. ‘Some people book a room three times, only to cancel it just as often. It’s a bit messy. There seem to be quite a few people decided where to study at the last minute.’
As of yet, the empty rooms will not be available to Dutch students: ‘We think that some international students might wait a while and then come over in October or November. The schools want to make sure we have rooms available for them. We might re-evaluate the policy later.’
In the run-up to the second semester and the 2021-2022 academic year, SSH will make more units available. The Esdoornflat is expected to be finished by March or April of 2021. This building has 320 rooms. The Kornoeljeflat renovation should be done by 2022, although it’s not sure if SSH will manage the property.