Pilot project for living-in with hosts: “People in Maastricht still have to get used to it”

Hundreds of interested students, twenty matches

26-09-2022 · News

MAASTRICHT. About twenty matches. That is the result at the moment of the pilot for renting a room and living in with a landlady or landlord in Maastricht by Hospi Housing, an initiative that has already matched more than two hundred students with hosts in other university cities. Whereas the demand among students appears to be great, inhabitants of Maastricht show less interest at the moment.

The city authorities and Maastricht University entered into a collaboration with Hospi Housing last spring. The objective was to provide housing for about two hundred students with local landladies or landlords, or hosts (as the organisation prefers to call them) within a period of two years. Daan Donkers, founder of Hospi Housing, feels that this is achievable now that the pilot has been running for a few months. “About four hundred Maastricht students have signed up on our website. Mainly internationals are interested. The need for (temporary) accommodation is often greater for them. Moreover, they are usually more open to the idea, because living-in with guest families or hosts is more customary in their home country.”

Enthusiasm on the other side is less: forty people from Maastricht have contacted Hospi Housing. About half of those have a student living in their house now, others have not yet been matched. To eventually place a hundred students, about fifty hosts are needed, Donkers expects. “We often see that they come back to us when a student leaves.”

Is that number realistic? “We think so. Some who have shown an interest, have not officially registered yet, they are waiting, for example until a son or daughter leaves home.” Donkers reckons that it also seems like people from Maastricht still need to get used to the concept. “We see a lot of reactions from people who don’t know that renting out a room in their house is possible. And the advantages that it has: it is fun, temporary, you are helping someone out and are even earning some money while doing so.”


Also, you learn a lot about other cultures, says Doris Boshuis, who was the first host from Maastricht to register with Hospi Housing last spring. Not so strange, because since 1996, she has been renting the attic room in her house in De Heeg to students from all over the world, from Saudi Arabia to Botswana and from Bhutan to Peru. “When my two daughters left home, I had a whole family home to myself. I didn’t think that was very social.”

She hopes that others will follow her example. “I could point out ten homes in the neighbourhood where only one person lives. The city and landlords should stimulate taking in a student. I understand that people are afraid of losing their privacy, but you really don’t spend every evening sitting beside each other on the sofa. There are days when I only hear the student come in and go out.”


Currenlty 19-year-old Benjamin Huggle from Berlin lives in with Boshuis. He has just started his bachelor’s of Economics and Business Economics. “During the INKOM, I stayed with my cousin in Aachen, but a single bus ride costs eight euro. I couldn’t keep that up. I was even thinking of living temporarily on a campsite.”

As far as he is concerned, he would absolutely recommend living with a host. “I can now focus completely on making a good start with my studies, instead of constantly looking for my own place. I will take my time looking for another place when the rooms market quietens down. Until then, this is a fine place to live.” Also, living with a local for your first couple of weeks is not a bad thing at all, he remarks. “Doris points out all the places where I need to be in the city.”

Hospi Housing

Hospi Housing - founded by three student friends - started as a pilot in Utrecht in 2019; it is now also active in cities such as Amsterdam, Leiden and Groningen. Interested hosts can apply online. When they meet all the conditions, they are allowed to offer their room on the organization's website. Students can register here for free and indicate their interest in rooms. After a (digital) introduction, both parties decide whether there is a match. In the latter case, Hospi Housing draws up a rental agreement and the student pays the organisation a one-time fee of 250 euros.

Photo: Joey Roberts

Tags: host,student housing,landlady,landlord,living-in,hospihousing,pilot,students,studenthousing,instagram

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