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Netherlands making progress toward ambitious student housing target

Short on time? Here are the highlights:

  • The Netherlands has established a national action plan to expand student housing stock
  • The plan calls for 60,000 new beds to be in place by 2030, to address a current and growing shortfall in student housing throughout the country
  • Dutch officials recently announced that plans are now in place for more than a third of the beds needed to reach that target

Dutch officials are reporting that the Netherlands has already laid down concrete plans in response to 2022’s National Action Plan for Student Housing. The national action plan is an interesting example of a broadly based, multi-stakeholder approach – not to mention an ambitious one, as it sets a target to build 60,000 affordable student homes by 2030 in response to current and projected housing shortages.

Ardin Mourik, the director of the national housing plan project, recently reported that plans are now in place for more than a third of the student housing needed by 2030, with most having already secured building sites as well.

As of 2022, the student housing shortage in the country was estimated at nearly 27,000 beds – a shortfall that was projected to rise to roughly 45,000 beds by 2029/30. Before the national plan triggered a wider effort, there were plans to build only about 16,500 new student beds through 2025. This is a number that would have fallen far below even the current need across the country, where there are acute housing shortages in a number of local markets, including Amsterdam, Leiden, Nijmegen, Rotterdam, Den Bosch, and Utrecht.

The National Action Plan for Student Housing includes agreements between government, accommodation providers, universities, and student unions on a housing action plan for the rest of this decade. Signatories include Universities of The Netherlands, the Dutch Knowledge City Network, Kences, Vastgoed Belang, The Class Foundation, the Dutch Student Union, Landelijk Overleg Studentenhuurders, the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, and Nuffic.

Along with new housing developments, both on campus and off, the plan anticipates strengthened regulations supported by all levels of government to clarify rules around sub-letting or dividing existing housing to provide for additional student beds, and for improved supports for international students in particular.

The Dutch example is no doubt a compelling one for other leading study destinations – including the UK, the United States, Canada, and Australia – where access to affordable student housing has quickly become one the most important issues in international education.

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