Saturday the 11th of June Dam Square was filled with angry students. The protest was a continuation of the one in February that attracted thousands of students from all over the country. The demands? A debt-free future.
‘We have been completely screwed as a generation’, psychobiology student Eveline says. This is a sentiment that is widely shared among the protesters. After the Dutch government announced that it will re-implement its so-called ‘basisbeurs’ (a monthly sum of money) and abolish its infamous loan system, students have highlighted its flaws. According to the protesters, the compensation for the generation that has loaned money (students studying between 2015 and 2023) is too low and the ‘basisbeurs’ is too low as well. As Logic student, Pelle says: ‘The current basisbeurs is not even half of the rent in Amsterdam, that means you are still in the loan system, just with a little boost.’
Many political parties were at the protest as well, such as Volt or the Socialist Party. Municipal councillor and former UvA student Itay Garmy from Volt says: ‘Students had to deal with so much shit over the past years, we really need to make sure that students will have it a bit easier again.’ A noticeable absent person was Robert Dijkgraaf, the minister of education.
The organisers of the protest were, among others, the National Student Union (LSVB). Ama Boahene, the chair of the union shares: ‘In February we protested for compensation, now we wanted to include the basisbeurs as well (…) the compensation for students is still the same and as long as that does not change it is a reason for students to take to the streets.’ So what happened between February and June? Apart from the recent sit-in at Roeterseilandcampus, Boahene shares that they have had many talks with the ministry of education, however, the only thing they heard in those was that there is no more money. As a consequence, the LSVB has stopped all conversations with the ministry as they feel there is no use, Boahene shares.