Steven Snijders joined in on behalf of the Student Alliance Wageningen.
What was it like?
‘Very good! I was pleased to see that there were so many people, over 15,000. That reflects the urgency of the problem. There were a lot of young people, including lots of students. And I saw all sorts of protest placards – people had really made an effort. That’s a good sign; it means this really matters to people. In Wageningen, the Socialist Party (SP) had organized an afternoon at Thuis to make protest placards.’
What is the biggest ‘housing problem’ in Wageningen?
‘It may sound strange, but as far as rooms go, the situation in Wageningen is still reasonable. There is certainly a shortage of rooms, but it’s not as bad as in other cities. A bigger problem here is the market when you leave university. It is terribly difficult for starters to find somewhere to live. The market has exploded. There are few possibilities and the possibilities that do exist are very expensive and also risky. The prices are high now, but the market could collapse again. It’s dangerous to invest all your money in a house.’
What has to change?
‘The priorities must change, to put it simply. Houses need to become consumer goods again instead of investment goods. In other words: you buy a house to live in it and not to get rich from it. One way of doing that is to tax profits on the price of land. And for rental accommodation: lower tax for housing corporations. Then they will have more funds to invest in building new social housing.’