Get home sober to your hotel boat

768 Euro month sounds quite pricy. However, a room on international students hotelboat Arlene in Groningen, offers only a room, but also a plasma tv, private bathroom, and full cooking and cleaning service. ‘It saves time and money.’

It’s almost 7 p.m., dinner time. However, the Arlene’s lounge and restaurant are virtually empty. There’s only a small group of students at the back of the lounge, discussing their experiences on board.

Cheese sandwich

‘The rooms are quite small, but we do have our own bathrooms’, says one of them. Another adds: ‘Other international houses only seem to have shared bathrooms and that really sucks.’ There’s also agreement about the food. ‘It’s good, though there could be more variety for lunch. Until now we’ve only had ham or cheese sandwiches. Overall, though, it’s very convenient and saves us time and money.’

However, living on a boat requires rules. The contract states that students have to be quiet after 10 p.m., they have to come home sober, and student gatherings are only allowed in the lounge or on deck. Guests can stay overnight, but have to pay €20 per person per night for the privilege.


During dinner you can hear the clattering of crockery and cutlery. The atmosphere is relaxed, almost like home. While some students are still enjoying their dessert, others are already returning to their rooms, past the receptionist.

‘Ladies, why are you here?’ he asks, jumping up from behind his laptop. Strangely enough, he doesn’t seem to recall our visit earlier in the day. He doesn’t like us shooting a video either. He follows us to the sundeck, the lounge and the restaurant. Then, when we try to interview some international students in their rooms, he interrupts. ‘Ladies, that’s enough now. This is invading the students’ privacy.’

He kicks us out.