Student Unions have been protesting the student loan system for almost two years under the hashtag #notmydebt (the Dutch word for debt also means ‘fault’, adding the meaning “not my fault” to the hashtag). They demand the loan system be dismantled and compensation for the students that were affected by it. Students from across the country gathered in The Hague for a protest on Thursday, 3 June.
Text: Hoger Onderwijs Persbureau and Luuk Zegers
‘Sky-high debts? Students raise your voice!’
‘What do we want? To be debt-free!’
‘Debt generation? We demand compensation!’
These and other slogans were chanted by two thousand protesting students. Students donned in brightly coloured vests, handed out lunch and ensured everyone kept a 1.5-metre distance. Under the sun, the relaxed atmosphere felt almost like a festival. But the message is a serious one: The students demand being able to study free of debt and compensation for the students affected by the loan system. So, they raise flags and banners with texts such as “I want a mortgage later!”
‘Wageningen students were also present. Student union Student Alliance Wageningen (S.A.W.) had organised transport to the protest. Chair Steven Snijders: ‘There were 23 students in the bus, and there were also students from Wageningen who took public transport to The Hague. There were some 1200 registrations, and, according to the police, 2000 people showed up. I think we made a strong statement.’