Interview with Giovanni Rossetti
January 18th, 2022
Age: 28 years old
From Padua – Italy
Now since August 2018 in Amsterdam.
He works as a researcher on the UvA, since March 2021 (this contract March 2021 to February 2022) but other temporary contracts since November 2019 on a temporary contract.
The contract stops end of February 2022
Giovanni lives in a complex of DUWO near Amstel Station, Pierre Lallementstraat.
He rents a one room apartment of 27 m2
He rents as an UvA employee on the 9th floor.
The UvA has a special bureau which helps you to find a studio.
You have to pay a fee of maximum 500 – 600 euro for this service. They give you proposals which you have to arrange – negotiate yourself to a rent contract.
He has been waiting – searching for 2 weeks (since when he applied) before he found a home
The one room apartment has a living room, toilet and kitchen. Except the laundry on the first floor there is no common space (except ‘traffic space’)
The apartment has basic furniture.
The apartment has an own number of the house.
Because it’s an individual house in the social sector (rent under 760), there is possibility of rent support.
Gio pays € 589 including the extras (but on top of that he receives the huurtoeslag which makes it much cheaper in the end)
At the start of the rent-period you pay 2 months in advance, which is paid back by not paying the rent the last 2 months. So there is no real deposit paid.
The building has 10 floors; each floor has an own color and 1 sort of tenants.
The 9th and 10th floor of this location are for Young International Employees of the UvA (and VU).
The first floors are for ‘long term’ Dutch students; other floors for Masters (either half a year or 2 years), for PhD’s, etc.
Every tenant has a key, which functions for the main entrance, the elevator, your floor and your door. So only for your own floor; no possibility to enter the other floors, visiting tenants there.
As far as Gio knows there are hardly any social contacts between the tenants; not on his floor. The only social contact you make is by receiving or getting delivered packages for / from your neighbors.
As a newcomer in this building you don’t get any feeling of being welcomed.
In the entrance hall we find a poster with the header: “New in the Feniks?”
With further text:
“Did you know that this building has a group chat, a Facebook group and a residents’ committee?
The residents’ committee keeps contact with DUWO and negotiates to resolve common issues in the building. Additionally, we thrive to organizing events and build an inclusive and socially cohesive community at the Feniks. Join our Instagram, Facebook, Google group and whatsapp group.”
Gio has bad experience after electricity and heating was off for 5 days around Christmas last year. Instead of giving a compensation payment, which is obliged in such a situation, there were only excuses of the landlord. He will not blame the few people that tried to organize the resident committee but he blames Duwo for what happened and how they handled it. He is still grateful that there are people trying to create a discussion among tenants even though this might be quite hard considering the general “alienation” that the building brings.
Nonetheless, the facebook group that was set up - and that would have been an excellent place to create connections among the tenants - in the end turned out to be used mostly to say “hey room [number], I have your package” or “hey room [number], you should have my package. When can I come to pick it up?”
Collectivity – Community
According to the poster the residents’ committee tries to form a community in the building, but Giovanni hasn’t seen anything of this.
As far as Giovanni can see there is no collectivity at all in the building. The landlord seems to counter any form of collectivity/ community.
The corridors are sterile white like hospital corridors.
There are no collective spaces in this complex, apart from a small laundry on the first floor.
The entrance hall functioned a bit as a meeting place, with a bench, an exchange bench (“ruilhoek”) but DUWO made some changes (anti-social measures) in the place so that you can’t sit there anymore or lay down stuff or flyers (see foto, left side)
On the ground floor is a commercial pub, with no connections to the building, neither physical nor social.
Amsterdam, January 31h 2022