When the contract between SSH and the owner of the Diaconessenhouse ends on June 30th, there will be 200 fewer rooms available for international students. It is a difficult situation for SSH, even though there is a silver lining. ‘We had many problems over there, so in a way we are also glad it is coming to an end’, says SSH’s Groningen manager Jolien Stokroos.
‘We are talking about 198 students, or rather 198 rooms’, Stokroos says. ‘So that is a capacity loss that needs to be addressed. We cannot create 200 rooms out of thin air, so we either have to rent them or build them.’ Still, construction takes time, and renting that many rooms is harder than it sounds due to housing laws that were changed last year. ‘Housing corporations are no longer allowed to work with private investors, even though we want to, so our hands are tied.’
1,500 euros per month
A room on the hotel boat would cost a whopping 1,500 euros a month, Dinie Bouman told the University Council last month. However, no one is willing to confirm that amount. ‘There is big difference between supply and demand’, says Jan Wolthuis, policy advisor for Education & Student, ‘but there is no definitive outcome yet.’
Hanze helps out
The pending negotiations notwithstanding, Wolthuis does not foresee any capacity problems for SSH. ‘The Hanze University of Applied Sciences will require around 200 fewer rooms from SSH next year. That will largely compensate for the loss of capacity with the closure of the Diaconessenhouse. Moreover, we have reserved 40 rooms at The Student Hotel for new PhD students during the first semester.’
He also addresses the Trefkoel location, which will finally solve the problem. ‘When ready, the new building will be exploited by SSH. Construction was started in April, but has seen some delay due to adjustments that were necessary with regard to earthquakes.’