Ire over rental listing’s no foreigners claim
An "unfortunately worded" rental listing made the Dutch municipality of Medemblik go viral online. In a listing for a house, rental agent Match Makelaars said that the city "does not like foreigners" and has an "anti-migrant policy." The municipality is furious about the "racist" ad, which was removed after all the fuss. The municipality is taking legal action, a spokesperson said to AD.
The listing is for a five-room house on Westereiland in Medemblik. Match Makelaars rents it out on behalf of the owner. In the ad, which was placed on various sites two weeks ago, the brokers wrote: "The municipality of Medemblik does not like foreigners, so, unfortunately, you cannot live here. There is an anti-migrant policy." The ad was widely shared online.
The municipality of Medemblik is furious about the "racist" text, a spokesperson said to the newspaper. "We distance ourselves from this discriminatory and hurtful reporting and are taking legal action. We have no influence on what a broker puts in an advertisement." The municipality says it fully embraces migrant workers and recently drew up policies stating under which conditions labor migrants can settle in Medemblik.
Match Makelaars said that the ad was a reaction to the municipal policy. For the past seven months, three British migrant workers and a Dutchman lived in the house. But they had to move out under threat of penalty because the municipality said the zoning plan only allows one household to live in the house, Dennis Stello of Match Makelaars said to the newspaper.
The broker realizes that the ad may have been "unfortunately worded." But it's in how you interpret the word "migrant," Stello said. "A refugee from Syria or a white Englishman who works here for a company. They are foreigners. How else should we have described this?" he said. "We are not racist at all. But how do we deal with the housing of migrant workers in the Netherlands?"
According to Stello, the house is now "as good as" rented out and not to migrant workers. "And I am not at all afraid of legal action from the municipality."