Organisation - September 10, 2009

Accommodation crisis

Curtains are needed. My son is going to study in Leiden and he has actually found a room. Lucky him! There is an acute shortage of rooms in Leiden, but fortunately he counted as urgent, with his travelling time of over one and a half hours.

For me, accompanying him to the market is a treat; for him it's a necessity. The stallholder soon has the measure of his customers. My enthusiasm, combined with my son's businesslike manner prompt the right question: 'Curtains for your student room?' We nod in unison.
'Lucky you', he says. I like the man immediately. 'There's a shortage of rooms everywhere. My daughter is still looking for a room in Wageningen. Now your son's leaving home, you must have a spare room.'
I burst out laughing. 'He'll be coming home every weekend.' That's what I hope, of course.
'Ah, but my daughter would only be there during the week', retorts Dad quick as a flash.
Solution-minded thinking: I like that. But I don't take him up on it.
With r student numbers in Wageningen, there's a growing shortage of rooms. If Wageningen wants to remain attractive, it will have to get building fast. But a different solution has been chosen: in Wageningen you are only classified as urgent if your travelling time is over two and a half hours. So Oss is too nearby to count as urgent, and Dad lobbies at his stall every market day. If the rules had been the same in Leiden, my son probably wouldn't have a room yet.
'She's going to study nutrition and health', says Dad proudly.
'Great subject', I say. She won't be staying in my house, but she might be in my Food toxicology practicals. And she might even graduate in my chair group.
I hope the daughter has inherited her Dad's problem-solving capacities. In that case, if she still doesn't have a room in September, she'll camp for a few weeks at the campsite. At least she won't need any curtains. /Marelle Boersma

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