A cruiseship to house internationals

How do you accommodate the growing number of international students? The Housing Office thinks it has found the answer – a cruise ship! It’s a bit pricey, though, says Verena Rendel, the first student on the boat.

A 92-metre long cruise ship on the Eems canal? It’s the Housing Office’s latest idea to accommodate some of Groningen’s numerous international students. Docking at the Berlagebridge, the hotel boat MPS Arlene offers 54 single rooms with their own bathroom, flat-screen TV and WiFi for €768 a month.

Jeroen Boonstra, the Housing Office’s coordinator, is aware that this rent is quite steep, but he explains: ‘The students get a very good service for this price. From breakfast and packed lunches to daily cleaning of the cabins and a 24/7 reception, everything is included.’

Final clean

Both the Housing Office and its partners from Slaapschepen.nl are currently working at full speed on the finishing touches. The gangway still needs to be secured, everything is subject to a final clean and in some of the cabins the renovation work has yet to be completed, but by next Tuesday the MPS Arlene will be ready to open its doors. Then, and until 20 December, ‘international students from all over Europe’ can enjoy all the boat’s amenities.

As the first student to tour the ship I had a sneak preview of everything, and I’m sure that the sundeck with its great view of the canal and city centre will be one of the favourite spots for many students. Also, the renovated bathrooms might be a big advantage compared to some of the student houses in the city! What a pity that the boat is already fully booked.