News - February 5, 2019

Majority of PhD candidates struggle to find housing

Tessa Louwerens

More than 80 percent of Wageningen PhD candidates have difficulties finding a place to live. This was revealed by an extensive survey.

© Shutterstock

The survey was carried out by the Wageningen PhD Council (WPC) following a meeting in October of 2018 during which PhD candidates indicated having trouble to find housing.

Moved house four times
A total of 345 PhD candidates completed the survey. Of these, 81 percent indicated having trouble to find housing. At the time the survey was held, 41 respondents did not have a place to live, and the remainder noted that they had had trouble to find housing in the past year. Moreover, 16 percent wrote that they had had to move house four times or more before finding a space where they could stay for a longer period of time. Just over half of the respondents found housing within three months of searching, and 20 percent said that they needed more than six months.

The group mostly affected by this are the sandwich PhDs.

The WPC was unpleasantly surprised by these high percentages. ‘It is clear that this is a problem that concerns all of Wageningen’, says Bart Lagerwaard, chair of the WPC. ‘But the group mostly affected by this are the sandwich PhDs, who have limited funds to find housing which is becoming increasingly expensive in Wageningen.’ These PhDs stay in Wageningen on several occasions during their PhD programme and have to find housing each time.

The Executive Board knows of the severity of the results from the survey, says spokesperson Simon Vink. ‘The Executive Board and the staff departments are aware that housing is often an issue, for PhD candidates as well, and that solutions are required’, says Vink. ‘We will discuss this with the parties involved.’

The WPC organises a meeting that will take place on 6 March at 12:30 in Impulse, to present and discuss the results and to search for short-term and long-term solutions together with the various parties involved. Lagerwaard: ‘The university, the municipality and parties such as Idealis can no longer simply look away. We are aware that more people are impacted by the issues with housing in Wageningen, but having to move house six times when one comes to Wageningen for six months from another continent, that truly is something we should not want for employees.’

Weekly news updates about studying and working at WUR? Subscribe to the newsletter now!

Additional reading (partly in Dutch):