instemmingen, this unknown

Coming from Italy I had never thought I would have so many cultural shocks when moving to the Netherlands, but I was wrong and instemmingen were definitely one of them.

Like everybody else, finding accommodation was my priority, as well as one of the biggest frustrations of the first weeks in Rotterdam.

I checked on facebook and enrolled in Kamernet and looking for a room had become a full-time activity. I am not sure on which one of the two platforms, but at a certain point I was invited for an instemming to see a room available in a shared apartment.

I didn’t really think an instemming would be any different than a normal visit and I was very confused when I discovered it was.

First thing first, what does the word mean? Not much actually or at least nothing that really explains this method to find accommodation.  I think the best literal translation is “agreement” and it stands for something more articulate.

If a room becomes available in a shared house, the residents may themselves search for a new housemate. Instead of inviting different candidates one by one, they organise a party where everybody is invited; the coolest, most fitting among the people will be chosen.

Already half way the party, after a short interview, a pre-selection is made and whoever is left in the competition is allowed to stay to hang out with the residents of the apartment. Afterwards, they will decide which candidate gets the room.

No surprise this is the country where the Big Brother was invented.

Reality show aside, I think that it can be a fun way to fight for a room if you are aware of what’s happening and feel that the housemates are really nice people to share an apartment with.

If you are curious to know if I got the room, I will just say that out of confusion I rejected the beer that was offered to me when I arrived and refusing a drink is not a very cool move.




originally written for Rotterdammer Girls