Providing a Home, Away from Home

By Deborah Valentine

Those of us who have been living in the Netherlands for a while, have noted with sadness the number of international students starting their studies, without yet having a place to live. Each year, the lack of available accommodation for these students becomes painfully apparent. We were therefore delighted with the evolution of at least three, grassroots, peer-to-peer initiatives which arose simultaneously in three different parts of the country to address this need. Students, international and Dutch, coming together with recent graduates, academic institutions and others, to find ways of ensuring that students have a place to rest their head – and have a smoother start to their academic year.

How Can YOU Be a Part of the Solution?

Consider becoming a host family (gastgezin) by making a room in your place available to an international student. Unsurprisingly (this is, after all, the Netherlands, where virtually everything is regulated), there are guidelines regulating this form of rental – from how it can be done, to tax-related thresholds for the income earned and things to consider when contemplating the rent. It is, however, in essence fairly straightforward. Rules may vary per municipality, with regards to your property being eligible/able to be rented in this form, so it is worth double-checking with them beforehand – more information can be found in the article.

Even for a short term of a few months, this solution can make all the difference to a student, providing them with a good start in their academic careers. We would encourage those who can, to lend a helping hand, and allow themselves to also be enriched by the experience.

Deborah Valentine
2019 Winter

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