Student symposium to address ‘Dutch only’ housing problem

Student symposium to address ‘Dutch only’ housing problem

A symposium at Carpe Noctem on Wednesday, 20 February, will address a stubborn phenomenon that has been causing serious headaches for Tilburg’s incoming international students: student rooms advertised with an all-caps statement saying ‘DUTCH ONLY’.

The symposium is organized by student associations I*ESN, Animo and ELSA, in collaboration with student factions SAM and Front. The student groups decided to join forces in an effort to bring together Dutch students and internationals for an open discussion on ‘Dutch only’ housing offerings. “It’s something that everyone talks about everywhere,” says I*ESN project manager Ana Luiza Marin. “But rather than having a heated debate about it on social media, we believe it’s important to actually sit down and talk about it with both Dutch and international students.”

The student groups that host the event all have a mixed member base, with students from near and far. “We’ve all noticed that internationals aren’t just struggling to find housing because of the ‘Dutch only’ phenomenon—they’re also struggling to integrate into Dutch student life. Living with Dutch roommates really improves the integration and experience of international students in Tilburg.”

One of the speakers at the symposium will be Elisa de Klerk, the university’s housing officer, who assists struggling international students in finding accommodation. She will talk about the specific difficulties faced by student room seekers from abroad. In addition, two lawyers connected to the anti-discrimination agency RADAR will discuss whether ‘Dutch only’ housing ads amount to discrimination under Dutch law.

Anyone is welcome to join in on the discussion, Ana Luiza Marin says. “By talking about the problem and sharing ideas and perspectives, we really hope to come up with ways to make things go more smoothly in the future.”The symposium is free of charge and will run from 7 to 10 pm on Wednesday night at I*ESN’s meeting point Carpe Noctem in the city center. There’s no need to sign up in advance. Read about the experiences of ‘homeless’ international students in Tilburg in this and in this earlier Univers article.

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