Students move into dirty Suikerlaan

Two hundred international students moved into their new container homes at the Suikerlaan on Monday. But the studios aren’t in the best condition.
By Sara Penaguião

‘I feel good to finally have my own place’, says Erik, as he pulls his luggage into his new studio. ‘I have been in the Metaallaan in temporary housing. I lived together with nine other guys in the same room. I think this is pretty nice’, he says.

Students line up in front of the office to check in. In the background, construction machines move containers around. There is still a lot to do to get things ready. ‘So I do hope that the inside of the studio is ready’, says Iranian post-doc Maryam Bozorg.


Students have been waiting for this day for a long time. The studios – developed by Rizoem – were supposed to be ready by 1 October. But unexpected problems caused a two week delay.

‘It’s hard to be in a situation where you just don’t know where you are going to end up next’, says Babara Meme, a pre-master student in International Business Management from Germany. ‘We’re really excited to finally have a place’, adds her fellow student, Rahwa Tegleab.

But while the studios are new to students, they are clearly not actually new. The used units, which came from Amsterdam, have been sitting empty for three years. As a result, not all of them are ready – or clean.

‘There are some little things inside to be finished’, says Ben Onderstijn of Rizoem. ‘And we have to tell everybody. But they have worked so hard to be finished on time, and its already two weeks too late’.

Dust and dirt

In one container block, workers are finishing the roof and working on electricity. In another, there is no hot water.  When Bozorg goes to explore her studio with Onderstijn, the list of issues doesn’t end. There’s dust and dirt everywhere. ‘You’ll have to clean that yourself’, Onderstijn says.

But Bozorg also spots holes and stains and rusted areas. Again: her own responsibity. She will have to fix it all before she can properly move in. ‘Ah well, at least I can hang stuff on the walls’, she says. ‘The holes are already there.’

She was relieved to finally have her place, but now disappointment is seeping in. Again. ‘I thought I could finally relax – and again, there are problems.’


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