Study spaces at UvA

Take a Seat: but where?

By ADELE MOLTEDO | March 11, 2020

Cover photo: Study spaces on ‘De Brug on the UvA Roeterseiland campus. Elisa Morand / The Amsterdammer.

The various study spaces at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) get their 15 minutes of glory every other month. It is becoming increasingly clear that there is not enough space for all the students who need to cram for exams. While the university has 4.500 spots available for students to sit down and study, this number does not nearly accommodate the approximately 32.000 students enrolled at the UvA, ultimately forcing many people to stay at home instead. 

Both the quantity and the quality of study spaces is an issue here, should you count the halls of the Roeterseiland Campus B and C buildings with no sunlight and back rest. What about the strangely shaped white tables with incorporated benches which seem to be there just to take up some space and give you back pain? There is very little transparency on the UvA websites regarding what they consider a proper study space, but a minimum level of comfort seems to be a missing prequirisite.

There always seem to be plans to extend the UvA’s study accommodations, such as longer opening hours at the multiple libraries and extra buildings with wide open doors – on some occasions, even churches chip in! Lately, the Singel Library has renewed its opening policy to remain open until 1:00 a.m. everyday, but this does not make up for the lack of quantity of spaces.This problem has even led to the creation of “UvA Best Desk Savers”, an Instagram page that posts pictures of great ways to save your spot at the library while you take the standard break between one paragraph and the next.

On the bright side, a small step has been taken by adding 100 spots at the Science Park campus, Building D. The university is actively involving students by allowing them to try out the new chairs which will be bought. However, the problem still remains, as these solutions do little to bridge the gap between the quantity of spaces and students. A new university library is being built, the foundations of which were recently completed in February, 2020, five months after the first stones were piled. The library should be opened by 2022, so many of us might not be able to see it. The new building would create over 1.000 extra study spots, featuring a terrace and a canteen. It is situated by the Oudemanhuispoort campus, and according to the project pictures, it will even have a decent amount of sunlight!

Besides the university campuses, there are various other places that could be used as study centres. Time-Space, a concept by three University of Utrecht alumni, suggested a shared study experience based on the possibility of booking spare offices in the city for solo/group studying. Such a solution is yet to exist in Amsterdam, but could be one to look out for!

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