According to the UvA website, the university provides a total of 3.941 study spaces across all locations, which feels like a lot. However, considering that the UvA is the biggest university in the Netherlands, with over 41.000 students this year, 3.941 is nothing. To put it in perspective, less than 10% of UvA students have a place to study at the university. These numbers are shocking. Studying at school is for many students motivating, as it puts you into ‘workmode’. For other students, it is a necessity. They might not have an alternative place to study. Think, for example, of international students. While the housing crisis is a whole other debate, many international students had/have no permanent place to stay. I have heard stories of my classmates sharing a hostel with 6 others. As you can imagine, studying for a test or writing an essay would be extremely difficult in a four-by-four bedroom filled with three bunk beds.
I am a first-year student, and in my first semester, I was on a mission to find the best study space for me personally. Studying at home is difficult because I have ADHD, and my house is filled with distractions. So, I like to work at school; it helps me stay on task. My primary school building is PC. Hoofthuis, and while I love the library there, it can get a little crowded in the afternoon. Therefore, I decided to explore the other buildings to see if there were some less crowded places. I started at the UvA library on the Singel, as it’s just a 10-minute walk from PC. Hoofthuis. I went there on a Wednesday afternoon, but it was jam-packed. I went up and down the building 2 times, looking for a decent seat until I found a relatively empty room.
Later in the semester, I visited the Science park campus at around 9 in the morning. I had never been there before, and I was excited to see what all the fuss was about. I loved the building; it looked clean and modern, very much unlike the building I am used to. Unfortunately, despite my early arrival, it was also very busy here. I found a seat at a crowded table, where I had barely any space to leave my laptop and notebook. Finally, I visited Roeterseiland building C. Same problem here. Every table was crowded with students.
As someone who prefers a quiet place to study, I was severely disappointed with the options available.
Of course, I understand that the university is large and has to be shared with many students. Still, I would like more study spaces catered towards more students, like more individual desks or designated quiet rooms. I am not the only one annoyed by this problem. I have found other articles on the internet from years ago addressing the same issue. In the end, however, it is up to the UvA to provide decent and enough study spaces for every student studying at the university.