News - June 1, 2010

Hotel rooms for international students

Negotiations between Hof van Wageningen and university for the accommodation of 150 students. Hotel will need to arrange additional facilities.

Wageningen University wants to do better in accommodating the new international students arriving in August and September. The past two years have seen a severe shortage of rooms due to the increase in student numbers. Temporary accommodation was arranged for international students in holiday chalets in Hoenderloo as an emergency measure. On week days they were bussed in and out. That was far from ideal because of the journey time.
That is why the university is in discussions with the Hof van Wageningen hotel about reserving hotel rooms. According to the Hof van Wageningen's manager, Jaap Venendaal, this would involve the accommodation of one hundred and fifty students. 'But it could be more or it could be less; it's difficult to predict exactly how many will be arriving.'

The hotel will have to provide all kinds of facilities such as bicycle storage, facilities for washing clothes and Internet connections. Venendaal: 'It will not be easy for us to arrange this. My staff are wondering what on earth I was thinking of.'
What is more, August and September are the high season, the busiest period for the hotel. 'We don't need this as far as capacity is concerned. We are planning on expanding our capacity in a unique way to cope with this.' Venendaal doesn't yet want to disclose what this involves.
The hotel manager is keen to help find a solution as he knows from personal experience what it's like to live abroad. 'I lived in the Middle East and Africa for fifteen years. Having to spend two hours travelling every day for your education is a poor advertisement for the Netherlands and Wageningen. As a Wageningen businessman, I felt ashamed when the newspapers started carrying reports last year about the foreign students being housed in Hoenderloo.'

This possible solution is good news for VeSte, one of the two student parties in the Student Council. For it was their Student Council member, Kees van der Ark, who contacted the hotel back in the autumn of 2009 to look at solutions for the lack of accommodation. That did not lead to any results at the time as there were only a few rooms available. But it did get the ball rolling.
The deal to put students up in hotel rooms has not yet been finalized. 'We are waiting and hope to be able to report a positive outcome in the next few weeks', is the reaction of Simon Vink, Wageningen UR spokesman.