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Student Flats Raised from Nothing

Related Images

  • Fig. 1 – Photo from 1965 of the Sterflat on the Klikspaanweg. Source: [RAP Leiden](
  • Fig. 2 – Photo from 1983 of the Pelikaanhof. Source: Erfgoed Leiden en Omstreken [PV_PV31276.1c](

In 1575, Leiden University was founded as the first university in the Netherlands. Throughout the years, people from inside and outside of the country would come to Leiden to study. For a long time, only (rich) men were able to attend the university. This meant that during the first few centuries after its foundation, there were relatively few students. The student population grew expansively in the 20th century, which led to a housing shortage that has only gotten worse today.

In 1957, the Stichting Leidse Studentenhuisvesting (SLS, or Foundation for Leiden Student Housing), the forerunner of DUWO (2012), was founded to control the housing shortage, which only increased in the years after World War II due to the general housing shortage in Dutch cities as well as the increase in the number of students. The SLS built different student flats in and around the city center, like the Sterflat in the ‘50s and ‘60s (fig. 1) on the Klikspaanweg or the Pelikaanhof in the ‘70s (fig. 2).

In 1966, the SLS purchased land on the Morsweg to build student houses for over 155 students. In 1969 the renovation was complete and the flat could contribute to solving the housing shortage for students. This student flat is still there, and is now called ‘Pelcomplex’. Where does this name come from?