The Ministry of Education and the Arubahuis will tackle the housing issue for students going to the Netherlands next year.
There is currently a long waiting time for student housing in the Netherlands. Lack of housing is a problem for foreign and local students in the Netherlands.
This housing problem is so big that some Dutch universities advised students who did not find a place yet, to postpone their travel to the Netherlands this year. According to the Prime Minister, this year, about 40 Aruba students had no permanent place to stay before traveling to the Netherlands but have found temporary housing as of September 1, 2022.
These students stay with family members, friends, or in student hotels temporarily. There are student hotels in various cities, but they are more expensive. Some students find a place but decline because the room is too small or because they want something more comfortable. Therefore they need to start looking for housing all over again. It is important to state that no student was left homeless.
Some students opted to travel to the Netherlands without having a permanent place to stay but did not want to miss this scholar year. It is essential to have an address in the Netherlands to register in the civil registry since the Netherlands has strict rules. ‘As long as you do not have a home address to register, you will not be able to open a bank account and can not sign any agreement for internet or cellphone service, etc.
The role of Arubahuis with regards to housing
The Ministry of Education and the Arubahuis will prepare students better for the housing issue next year.
In some cities in the Netherlands, students can apply for housing at least 1 year ahead of the scholar year. It will increase their chance of getting an apartment or room in time. The Arubahuis is currently not attending with housing for students but will include housing information on their website and provide guidance for upcoming students.
The government of Aruba is reorganizing the Arubahuis, and with this reorganization, they want to change the role of the Arubahuis to meet citizens’ demands. It includes a better transition for Aruba students arriving in the Netherlands for their higher education. The Government is also working with the State Secretary of the Netherlands, Alexandra van Huffelen to grant Aruba students their citizen service number (BSN) before they arrive in the Netherlands. Having a BSN number in advance allows the students to make the required arrangements in time, including housing since it can take between 3 to 4 weeks.
However, it depends on the Dutch government, since giving a BSN number in advance is quite significant. The Prime Minister of Aruba mentioned that they are discussing this with the Dutch leaders and hope to achieve this eventually.
The current housing situation in the Netherlands requires a more active role of the Arubahuis to assist Aruban students, but this can change in the upcoming years. The Arubahuis can adjust its task according to the situation. For now, it requires a more active role, and the Arubahuis are addressing this issue to accommodate the demand.