Animal Antics


News reported last week: the Real Estate and Brokerage program offered by Fontys will be admitting ‘only’ 350 students this coming academic year. Have they just heard of the hog cycle over there? And what’s going on with our beaver and with the herd of TIERen here on campus, and what should we do with the chicken of mayor John Jorritsma?

Yes, the stars of this instalment of my column are all animals, each of them in their own way. Let’s first talk about pigs and real estate and the decision taken by Fontys, the university of applied sciences, to introduce a cap on student numbers this coming year for its Real Estate and Brokerage program.

After all, how many real estate brokers can the Netherlands handle and will this ceiling on numbers solve the housing crisis? It may help a little; I have the strong impression that adding yet more realtors only makes the situation worse, because it means there are more of them at the trough. But why in this tight housing marking would anyone even want to join the ranks of the real estate brokers? To earn money, stupid! And it’s this thought that strikes farmers whenever the price of pork soars. I’ll put more piglets in that comfy stall and I’ll earn a pretty penny. But if every farmer does that, it will be only a matter of time before the price collapses. Why? Oversupply, and the hog cycle has run its course again. Although I doubt whether the influx of yet more brokers will push down house prices.

Whether all these unemployed recently graduated brokers will themselves be able to find a home remains to be seen. By contrast, someone who has been building his own home for some time now – feel free to call it a lodge - is Woody, our very own campus beaver. He too was in the news. By being so industrious Woody looks likely to throw a sapling in the works of the project developers working on EDGE. Planned for the Stationsweg, this residential and work complex will be situated just 15 meters from the Dommel. The law stipulates that building projects must be mindful of locations where this rodent and builder resides. Evidently, this is has not yet happened. I wonder whether this will ever become a business case on the Fontys program.

And now to a completely different beast: these TIERen (German for ‘animals’) that have been popping up on and around the campus for some weeks now. At the end of September an electric bike share initiative was launched in Eindhoven and since then these green – I’m referring here solely to the color – two-wheelers have been spotted all over the place. Sometimes in herds at the campus gates, other times all alone in a remote spot where they will never be found. Fortunately, provider TIER has posted a couple of instruction modules on the app covering the responsible use and parking of its e-bike. Let me tell you a secret: some users haven’t yet read them. I hope the university gets a permit to responsibly cull any TIERen that have run wild in public spaces.

So Han, tell us, what’s the deal with our mayor’s chicken? It was in the news this weekend in a revealing interview in de Volkskrant national newspaper. “We are spoilt and no longer accept ‘thy shalt’,” ran the headline. Jorritsma, mayor since 2016, bids Eindhoven farewell next year and is clearly not looking for a second term. At the end of his conversation with de Volkskrant, he said, “Eindhoven is the chicken that lays the golden eggs. So as a cabinet you should be giving it the best feed.” Whether Remkes, half of the duo leading efforts to form the new government, is open to this suggestion, I cannot say but the other half of the duo, Wouter Koolmees, will surely lend an ear...after all, Koolmees is Dutch for Great Tit (the garden bird).

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