THE NETHERLANDS. The Dutch House of Representatives feels that foreign students should be able to contest high rents more easily. That is why information by the rent tribunal should be partially translated into English.
Last month, the House of Representatives spoke to Minister of the Interior Kajsa Ollongren about student accommodation and the fate of foreign students. In some cities, there is a considerable shortage of rooms and foreign students are easy prey to rack-renters.
One problem is that foreign students don't know their way around here and have no idea how high rents are actually allowed to be. Can we not translate the rent tribunal's website into English, D66 Member of Parliament Jessica van Eijs wanted to know from her fellow party member Ollongren.
Her reaction was reserved. She felt that it wouldn’t be right to translate everything into English. It doesn't happen in the administration of justice either. Maybe the students could use an interpreter.
PvdA Member of Parliament Henk Nijboer thought this was strange. Even he found it difficult to find information on the rent tribunal's website. Just imagine if you were a Chinese student. "Then you would have to ask an interpreter to say: my rent is eighty euro too high. That can't possibly be a serious proposal? Surely it’s not that much trouble to translate the website into English?"
Despite objections by the minister, the political parties D66, GroenLinks, PvdA, VVD and ChristenUnie proposed a motion yesterday "to make the essential sections of the rent tribunal's website available in English".
Ollongren no longer protested, because together these fractions have a majority. She referred to the motion as being "helpful in ensuring that foreign students are sufficiently aware of the options that are available."
HOP, Bas Belleman