News - May 14, 2009


A banner hanging outside Droevendaal reads: ‘No internationals at Droef any more’. The residents are protesting against the intention of the owner, Idealis, to admit only Dutch students to this Wageningen student residence in future. There are currently 41 foreign students staying here – about 20 percent of the total.

‘We want to decide ourselves who we live with. And international students should be able to choose where they live’, says Droevendaal residents’ chairman Luc Steinbuch. ‘Our protest is an expression of solidarity with international students, and it’s about our own identity too. Living amongst people of different nationalities gives you experience of other cultures. The residents are really angry about this decision.’

According to Steinbuch, Idealis’s plan is a result of the growing student numbers and the tensions between the university and the housing corporation. Idealis provides a fixed number of rooms for foreign students, and the university caters for the rest. ‘Idealis feels responsible for providing Dutch students with rooms. The rooms used by foreign students at Droevendaal and several other buildings are not included in the contract with the university about foreign students. Idealis wants to keep these rooms for Dutch students in future’, Steinbuch explains.

The residents of Droevendaal will advise negatively on this. Idealis is not obliged to take their advice, but since there are such strong feelings on the matter, Steinbuch hopes they will listen in this case. ‘Droef’ residents are already preparing for action. A response from Jan Harkema of Idealis: ‘At the moment we are waiting to hear the residents’ advice. We shall certainly take it seriously.’