Housing minister Hugo de Jonge has published finalised and long-awaited legislation aimed at cutting red tape and speeding up the Dutch house building programme.

The draft law will give local, provincial and national government more powers to steer planning procedures and meet government targets of creating 981,000 new homes in the Netherlands by the end of 2030. 

“For too long we have thought that the market will bring supply and demand into balance,” De Jonge said. “But we realised that all the local decisions do not add up to what we need… this legislation will bring back our tradition of public housing.”

Location, location, location

One problem facing investors and developers at the moment is the lack of suitable locations to build the nearly one million homes needed. The new legislation requires all layers of government draw up zoning plans for a pre-determined number of properties, some of which will cater for specific groups such as students or seniors. 

Some two-thirds of these homes will be classed as affordable rental or owner-occupier properties and housing corporations, which own most of the Netherlands’ social housing, will also have a key role in this, the housing minister said.

Councils with relatively little social housing will have to ensure at least 30% of the new homes within their boundaries fall under rent controls. Those with a lot of social housing will have a target of 40% affordable rentals (currently up to around €1,100 a month) or owner occupier (up to €390,000) for new developments. 

The legislation also tackles red tape and simplifies and speeds up legal procedures and protests about developments. “You will still be able to protest… but at the moment the right to a view is considered more important than the right to a home,” De Jonge told the AD newspaper. “And that is absurd.” 

Village homes

There will be a specific emphasis on small locations on the edge of towns and villages which, De Jonge said, will ensure the country’s rural areas remain attractive places to live. In particular, projects involving fewer than 50 units will be less complex to get off the ground. 

People will also have to get used to living in smaller homes, De Jonge said. “Some homes will be smaller but houses in our busy little country are, on average, bigger than those in Germany and France. And we have an increasing number of single person households, when we primarily build family homes in the past.”

De Jonge hopes the legislation can pass quickly through both houses of parliament and come into force on July 1.