Since this past Sunday, twelve students have been squatting in an abandoned building on the industrial property De Nude. Their intention is to use this demonstration to draw attention to the housing shortage in Wageningen. They also aim to provide accommodation to students who have been unable to find a room as of yet — at least for a little while. The building is scheduled to be demolished in a month.
Text and image: Coretta Jongeling
Thuisvesting, as the group calls itself, was also involved in a tent camp demonstration at the Forum two weeks ago. Their argument is that many students still do not have roofs over their heads. 'And it’s not just hard for students to find a place to live. Other people are having trouble finding a place to stay in Wageningen too,' says Yanina Wilhet, one of the students who organised the demonstration.
According to the activist group, building more homes is not a long-term solution. Yanina: 'I have lived in Wageningen for five years and this issue is not going away. The university needs to take a more critical look at the volume of incoming students. Every year more rooms need to be added, which means that every year this causes more problems for the other residents and it all ultimately comes at the cost of the green spaces. The quality of life that WUR is so focused on would be better if the university weren’t growing so quickly.'
Three students have signed up for the temporary housing so far, which is located in a former Unifarm building. According to Yanina, there is room for at least 50 people. 'There is no electricity or water yet, so it will be a little chaotic. But we’ll take care of it.'
In the future, the students plan on “making a small contribution to the quality of life” by organising several events. 'We want to create a place in Wageningen where people can feel at home, enjoy themselves, and socialise. Everyone is welcome, even those who aren’t students.'
Twelve students are squatting in an abandoned building on the industrial property De Nude. They are drawing attention the housing shortage in Wageningen. Student and squatter Yanina Wilhet (on the left): 'This issue is not going away.'