The Student Hotel is coming to Delft. Recently, the organisation showed its plans to the public. There was some criticism. “It is primarily an option for well-off students.”
This is how The Student Hotel should look. (Photo: The Student Hotel)

The Student Hotel is coming to Delft. Recently, the organisation showed its plans to the public. There was some criticism. “It is primarily an option for well-off students.”

Liever Nederlands?

The Student Hotel chain presented its Delft plans on Saturday, October 6, during an open day in the town hall. Interested people could explore with virtual reality glasses the proposed 342 rooms in the building which students will be able to rent for a short or longer period from September 2020. A room in the hotel, construction of which is planned for the end of this year, will not be cheap. One night in a standard room costs at least 55. For a longer stay, tenants pay on average 800 per month.

Nevertheless, the market seems to favour the chain, as 80% of its clients will consist of international students. According to Kences, the knowledge centre for student accommodation, the number of international students in Delft is likely to increase by 50% in the coming 8 years. In concrete terms, this means that the international student population will grow from 4,790 students in the academic year 2017/2018 to around 7 thousand by 2025/2026. It became apparent this year that accommodating the current number of international students is an impossible task. TU Delft could not assist many international students to find accommodation.

Reduce pressure on housemate-choosing sessions
Melike Çatalgöl, technical development manager of The Student Hotel and a graduate of TU Delft, sees potential in housing part of this intake. “I think that we can, for example, reduce the pressure on housemate-choosing sessions.”

But the hotel is not an option for every international student. Lijst Bèta-student council member and international student Katharina Ertman, for example, arrived in the Netherlands two years ago from the US. “I had The Student Hotel The Hague on my list, but as a last resort, because that option is really expensive. Ultimately, I found a room via Facebook.”  

Olivia Coulson, board member of the Delft International Student Society (DISS), shares her opinion. “It is primarily an option for well-off students.” She calls it ‘an expensive plaster on the wound'.  "This version attracts students mostly because the demand for accommodation keeps rising."

Last resort
The student hotel as a last resort is not such a bad starting point, according to Çatalgöl of The Student Hotel. “In Groningen we were able to accommodate many Dutch students at the start of the academic year: students who had not yet found a room, but did want to live in the city. For them we provided an ideal base, perhaps indeed as a last resort.” 

The Student Hotel is controversial in the Dutch student community. For example, the International Student Housing Assistance Utrecht reported that international students in the cathedral city did not need luxurious, expensive rooms. And two years ago, there was a commotion about the high rents in student hotels, which the Student Union LSVb felt encouraged the exploitation of students.

Çatalgöl has heard the stories about exploitation, but doesn’t understand them. ”We focus on the higher-segment public. They know what the cost is in advance and decide for themselves whether they want to come."