The idea started in Leiden and has been a great success: an empty office villa was transformed into a temporary place to study where students pay five euros a day and have access to unlimited coffee, soup, and sandwiches.
Students Jonah Lijftogt and Nelleke Hijmans were tired of the dark University Library in Leiden and decided to create their own study paradise. They decked out an office building with second-hand furniture, borrowed plants and Nintendo consoles.
The alternative UB immediately filled up with 200 students. The need for extra study space turned out to be so high that the pop-UB in Leiden will be opening for the second time during the exam weeks. But the students are considering expanding the concept by opening pop-UBs in Amsterdam and Groningen.
‘Groningen is at the top of the list of places where a pop-UB is really needed’, says Hijmans. Informal contact has been established, and people are interested, but there are no concrete plans as yet, says the Leiden student, who also studied in Groningen. ‘We’re trying to demonstrate how much of a need there is for this in Groningen, and my experience tells me we’ll be successful.’
Lijftogt and Hijmans are in talks with vacancy management agency Ad Hoc to find a suitable building in the city. ‘In addition, we’re looking for people to manage the pop-UB in Groningen. We’ve already found some enthusiastic ones’, says Hijmans.
If and when the study paradise will come to Groningen, the organisers say is unclear. ‘We’re very careful in our communications because we know that nothing is certain until it is in writing’, says Hijmans.
But she thinks the pop-UB can be brought to Groningen even without support. ‘After all, we managed to found the pop-UB in Leiden without any subsidies or capital.’