The shortage of housing emerged as one of the main themes in the March general election, with parties across the political spectrum calling for a greater role for central government.

In addition, several parties likely to be involved in the next coalition government have called for the establishment of a specialized ministry for housing and planning. Housing currently falls under the home affairs ministry while planning has largely been transferred to local and regional councils.

Developers, investors and local authorities estimate the Netherlands needs one million new homes by 2030 and most parties accepted this figure in their manifestos. However, experts say, this can only be achieved if a minister for housing or spatial planning takes the lead to overcome the bottlenecks in local authority planning procedures.

State control

Putting together a new coalition – which will require at least four parties – will take several months, and housing is likely to be a key issue in the next cabinet’s plans.

Here’s a summary of the positions of the main parties.

The VVD emerged as the biggest party in the March vote. The VVD does not support the re-establishment of a minister for housing, but does support giving the state more control about planning issues.

D66, the Liberal democratic party which is now the second biggest in parliament, explicitly calls for a bigger role for national government in ‘achieving our major ambitions in terms of housing, nature and climate’.

ChristenUnie, the junior party in the outgoing coalition, has calld for a more ‘integrated approach’ to housing issues.

The Labour party (PvdA) wants action to tackle property speculators, and says there should be a minister for housing and spatial planning.

The Christian Democrats (CDA) went as far as to say that there should be ‘less market, more cooperation’ in Dutch government housing policy.

In addition, there is more acceptance among the bigger parties of the need to build in green spaces. D66, for example, explicitly listed a string of potential locations for new housing, including several in the Holland Metropole area.