04 January 2024, by Emily Proctor
A UN official has said that domestic housing policy, not immigration, has led to the housing shortage in the Netherlands. UN Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing, Balakrishnan Rajagopal, said that the crisis is “not due to migration and refugees but due to the failure to recognise and protect housing as a human right.”
UN official slams Dutch housing policy as a failure
Rajagopal, who is Professor of Law and Development at the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said that the Netherlands’ key problem with regard to housing is the fact that it has not protected housing as a human right.
The lawyer, who specialises in issues of human rights, firmly disputes the idea that the Dutch housing crisis has been exacerbated by, or even caused by, an influx of refugees and migrants.
The Netherlands is short of almost 400.000 homes
In 2023, studies showed that the Netherlands needed to build at least 390.000 new homes to keep up with the demand for housing across the country. In 2024, this number is expected to get larger, especially as demand for affordable housing available to rent or buy in key Dutch cities continues to rise.
“This crisis has been building over a couple of decades through an active policy of encouraging the market to replace the government in the provision of housing,” Rajagopal said in a press conference. “This housing crisis is not due to migration and refugees but due to the failure to recognise and protect housing as a human right,” he added.
Thumb image credit: etreeg / Shutterstock.com