Labour leader calls Amsterdam "theme park for the wealthy"

Social Affairs Minister Lodewijk Asscher. ()

PvdA leader and current Deputy Prime Minister Lodewijk Asscher criticized the Amsterdam city management in an interview with AT5. According to him, the Dutch capital is turning into "a theme park for people with a big wallet".

Asscher is concerned that Amsterdam is becoming less and less accessible to people with low and mid-level incomes. "I see a lot of social housing being sold. They are also built, which is good for the city, but also sold quite a lot", he said. A recent ranking by British startup Nested ranked Amsterdam as the 17th most expensive city to rent in in the world.

Amsterdam Housing alderman Laurens Ivens (SP) called Asscher's criticism on the Amsterdam city council, currently consisting of D66, VVD and SP, "cheap" and "unworthy of a deputy prime minister". According to him, the city management has been focused on building more social housing and reducing the sale thereof from the start. Reducing social housing sales is especially difficult because housing corporations are now saddled with a lessor tax, which Asscher's government is responsible for, he said to Het Parool. "Basically it comes down to Asscher trying to sell support for the coalition as criticism. As if we don't know what the needs of our city are and he does."

The PvdA leader also told AT5 that he understands why many voters lost confidence in his party and accuse the left-wing Labor party of moving to the center. "Yes, in recent years we had to make compromises, we are coming from an incredibly difficult time and I am honest to these people, if you think that politicians are perfect and that you never make mistakes, then great, then you will vote for a different party each time."