Nijmegen named ‘best student housing city of the country’, but it is mainly an encouragement award

27 Jun 2023

Nijmegen can call itself ‘the best student housing city of the country’ for the following year. This price was awarded by the Dutch National Student Union. However, since this title was awarded at a moment when there are many problems concerning student housing in the Netherlands, it has a bitter taste.

Nijmegen was the best student housing city of the Netherlands in 2022, as shown by the annual research of the Landelijke Studentenvakbond (LSVb, in English: Dutch national Student Union), which is conducted in the eighteen biggest student cities of the country.

The Waal-city mainly received the award due to the fact that the available number of student houses is fairly decent there as compared to other cities, as can be read from a press release of the LSVb. Furthermore, prices for rooms are ‘not exorbitantly high, even though there is a relatively high number of students living there’. The average cost of rent in Nijmegen, approximately 413 euros per room, lies far below the nationwide average of 520 euros. There are also plans to build an extra two thousand rooms in the coming seven years. However, it is hard for newcomers to find a room in the city, because the flow of students into starter homes stagnates.

Tremendous task

Great news, or so it seems at first. Yet the press release already hints at quite some problems related to the election. Words such as ‘relative’ and ‘fairly decent’ are usually not words applied during an award ceremony.

This is because of the current housing market, in which it is quite a struggle for students to find a (affordable) room. ‘It is weird to choose a ‘best student housing city’ in these times, since the current student housing situation is problematic’, LSVb-chair Joram van Velzen remarks in the press release.

‘Actually, we wish to see more cities following the example Nijmegen is setting’

That is because private landlords are more often choosing to build studios instead of student houses, explains Job Vermaas, vice-chair of the LSVb, telephonically. ‘This is the more attractive option for the landlord. But recently it was shown that students do not only have to pay more in this case, but they are also a lot lonelier than when they live with other students. And the few available student houses rise in price at an incredible rate.’


The title that Nijmegen has won is mainly an encouragement award, Vermaas says. The municipality can do nothing else with it. ‘In Nijmegen, the housing price is relatively low and there are a lot of plans to build extra student houses. This is good, and we hope it catches on in other cities. Actually, we wish to see more cities following the example Nijmegen is setting.’

Structurally, there should be changes anyway, according to the LSVb. Vermaas: ‘We are talking to several municipalities to motivate them to build more rooms instead of studios. And countrywide we are working on a plan to turn around the point scoring system (which is used to determine the value of rooms and houses, ed.). This way there could also be a possibility for some kind of rent benefit on student housing.’

Translated by Lara Nijhof

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