Issue #032 Published: 31-08-2020 // Written by: Iris Kok

#nietmijnschuld campaign and international students

The #nietmijnschuld campaign (literal translation would be #notmyfault) has continued during this summer with so-called summer-sessions. These sessions are set out to bring the people of the campaign together, since we are spread throughout the Netherlands but also to offer a way to discuss the direction of where the campaign is going. There were 4 in total planned with themes such as
2) Complementary Student Allowance 3) international students and
4) Quality of education.
I want to briefly highlight one of these sessions and namely the one that had as its theme ‘international students’ because in my experience this is a group of students who make up a large part of the student-population but are sometimes left out of these kinds of the discussions.
Dilemma’s or questions that were going to be discussed were: How do we incorporate international students? According to European Law, EER-students have the right to the same facilities as Dutch students. How do international students contribute to a new system?

After a short introduction, I too have learned that internationals now make up around 11% of the total student population in the Netherlands (86.000) but there are only 5000 students who have a study loan. The current rules state that an international students (from the EER) needs to work at least 56 hours per month in order to receive student loans or they need to be in the Netherlands for at least 5 years. A short pubquiz makes clear that around certain rules and rights for international students can cause confusion mainly because they are not entitled to the same facilities as Dutch students. It also becomes clear that it depends as an international where they come from within or outside the European Union.
After the break we discussed a couple of statements which let to discussion about how we see the internationals as part of our campaign. Ideas such as a standard European scholarship fund, quota, fines and rules but also the right to free or subsidized public transportation come along.
In conclusion, we want international students also the study debt-free and be able to receive some form of grant/scholarship and be able to either have a small extra loan or work next to their studies. This would mean that this campaign would also aim to go above the nation-state government but into the European Union after we have convinced this new coming cabinet in 2021 to change this loan-system of debt into a system where it is possible to study debt-free with a basic grant.
If you want to share your opinion(s) about the current loan-system for both Dutch and International Students or you want to become an active for the #nietmijnschuld campaign then you can join the Actioncomittee in Amsterdam by sending an email to
The 4th and last summer-session will be about the quality of education and on the 1th of September at BUNK in Utrecht. You need to sign up for it but you can easily find the event on the Facebook-page of #nietmijnschuld. For more information you can also visit the website of #nietmijnschuld and there will soon be an English version as well: here you can also still sign the petition!