MAASTRICHT. Last academic year, a mere 16 per cent of all Maastricht first-year students went to live in digs straight away, according to a recent report by Kenniscentrum studentenhuisvesting (Kences, Knowledge Centre for Student Housing). Maastricht student housing companies have not noticed anything like that so far and have doubts about the figures.
Maurice Evers, director of Maastricht Housing: “If those figures were correct, there would be a tremendous amount of unoccupied accommodations. That is not the case. At most, houses take a little longer to be rented out. Last year, I had a discussion with Kences about the figures too. Foreign students were not included in the count then. I don’t know if the model has been adapted.” Huib van Gastel from Huizen Beheer Maastricht gives a similar answer: “No, we haven’t noticed any kind of drop. It is true that everything is a little slower getting started. Where we used to be busy in May, students now often come knocking on our door in August.” Karin van der Ven, owner of Jules Housing: “The only thing I can say is that demand has not increased.”
Parties in Wageningen and Enschede are not convinced about the correctness of the figures either, says Hoger Onderwijs Persbureau (HOP, Higher Education Press Agency). Housing agent DUWO in Delft, however, is.
Kences responds in the person of director Ardin Mourik: “I wonder if the criticism is justified, although we are not hearing this for the first time. We used figures from Netherlands Statistics and held a survey among 45 thousand students. The results were similar. We also included the international degree students in the survey. In addition, I would like to emphasise that the shift only occurred among first-year students. Of course our figures must be useable. Later on in the year, we will speak with parties from all university towns.”