Student housing lottery implemented in Nijmegen, Arnhem

Due to the sometimes years-long waiting lists for student housing, provider SSH& decided to allocate its 6,400 student rooms in Nijmegen and 600 in Arnhem with a lottery instead of the standard waiting lists. On Wednesday, this week’s offer of about 50 rooms and homes will be published on the SSH& website, NOS reports.

Students who registered all received a ticket, which they can use for one of the rooms. They are able to see how many other students used their ticket on a specific room or home, so that they can switch to a less popular one if they want. The draw is done by a software system also used by other corporations, according to SSH&. Next week Wednesday at 11:00 a.m., the “winners” will be announced.

According to Vincent Buitenhuis of SSH&, the waiting lists for student housing are so long that students sometimes only get their turn after they’ve finished their studies. Over the past period, the student housing provider consulted with the municipality, tenants’ organizations, and the local student union about using a lottery instead. “Ultimately, the conclusion was: it does not solve scarcity, but it is very fair,” Buitenhuis said to NOS. “They all have a chance to get a room or a home every week. Is it fairer than the old system? That depends on how you look at it. The old system was fair in its own way, because it rewarded waiting time.”

According to Buitenhuis, this is the first time that a Dutch landlord will distribute its entire offer by drawing lots. But there have been smaller scale experiments.