Official opening of 467 new student flats
Kajsa Ollongren, Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, opened a complex of 467 student flats in Leiden on 26 August. This is the (Y)ours development on the sustainable ‘Leidse Schans’ campus at Lammenschans train station.
The new flats have been realised in two blocks, a six-floor one with 281 flats and a 15-floor one with 249 flats. The flats were completed in June and July, and students have already moved in. A further 600 student flats were built at Leidse Schans four years ago, and are now being rented out.
Mainly studios with own facilities
The new flats, like the first 600 ones, mainly comprise studios with their own facilities. The rooms we visit are very big: one is 24m2 and the other 31m2. And they are very affordable for the target audience: after the deduction of housing benefit, the rental prices range from 254 to 319 euros. There are also ‘regular’ rooms with shared facilities and a few two-room flats. This will not be the only addition to the housing stock: there will be a total of 1,900 flats at Leidse Schans, 1,200 of which will be student flats – this includes the 1,067 that have already been realised. The last 133 are expected to be completed in mid-2020. Heleen de Vreese, Chair of the Executive Board of regional student accommodation provider DUWO, said that these big ambitions definitely relate to the desire to prevent multiple occupation in city centres.
All the flats on the campus are extremely sustainable and ready for energy transition. Like the first flats, the new ones have extra insulation and are not connected to the gas grid. Hot water for heating and taps is provided by a combination of a heat pump boiler, a ventilation system with a heat exchanger and plenty of solar panels on the roofs. The campus thus meets the sustainably requirements set by the Municipality.
Martijn Ridderbos, Vice-Chairman of the Executive Board of Leiden University, said he was pleased with this leap forward, but also emphasised that the shortages of student housing has by no means been solved: ‘There has been a shortage of affordable rooms for some time already, and this is set to continue. We as a university are very pleased to have joined forces with others in setting ourselves the ambition of adding a total of 2,700 new student units to the supply during the period of 2019 to 2026.’ The available student accommodation will drastically increase in The Hague, our other student town, too. The aim is to increase this by 3,000 between 2020 and 2016. These are big ambitions.
Affordability, availability and sustainability
Fleur Spijker, Leiden Alderman for Sustainable Urbanisation, was also proud: ‘With the completion of these student flats, we in Leiden have made a good start in achieving our ambition.’ Minister Kajsa Ollongren from the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations arrived just before the official opening – presenting a student with a big key – having been on a bike tour of Leiden, her home town. She and a delegation had cycled to a number of student complexes and possible locations for new ones. ‘The keywords for new student accommodation are affordability, availability and sustainability,’ she said. And, she added, (Y)ours is a perfect example of this. She also said that student accommodation is an element of the agreements about house building that she has reached with the municipalities of the southern Randstad area.
Part of larger redevelopment
The construction of the Leidse Schans campus is part of the redevelopment of a larger area on the eastern side of Lammenschansweg, towards Kanaalweg. The Ford garage and Autohaag Zeeuw will disappear. Hundreds of flats for non-students will also be built in the area, as will a supermarket (Plus), and a few small shops have already opened.
Leidse Schans was developed and realised through collaboration between the municipal Student Accommodation Taskforce, Vorm Ontwikkeling, Ballast Nedam Development, Syntrus Achmea and DUWO student accommodation. Vorm Ontwikkeling and Ballast Nedam Development won the tender for the construction of the campus in 2011. The architect is Mecanoo.
Text: Corine Hendriks
Photos: Lennart Koster, Door de Lenns
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