Gov’t forcing Rotterdam, three other cities to house more asylum seekers
The municipalities of Enschede, Gorinchem, Venray, and the greater Rotterdam region are obliged to accept more asylum seekers. The Cabinet has decided to designate these specific locations because of the continuing influx of people seeking asylum in the Netherlands, Interior Minister Kajsa Ollongren and State Secretary Ankie Broekers-Knol wrote to the Tweede Kamer. By the end of the year, these cities must create at least 2,000 spaces to urgently accommodate the reception of asylum seekers.
Recently, attempts have been made to encourage municipalities to come up with more places themselves, but that has not been successful enough to tackle the current crisis, the Cabinet members said. That is why this step is now being taken at the national level. It "cannot be ruled out that other municipalities will also be given instructions in the near future," the ministers wrote.
The Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA) will now work with the designated municipalities to determine what these facilities will include and to identify the exact start date.
The COA is also starting to renovate an Alkmaar building belonging to the national government’s real estate agency so that it can also be used for asylum reception, should this be necessary at a later date.
Acute emergency shelters are shelters that are set up for a duration of at least a few months. It is "a last resort to prevent the deployment of crisis emergency care,” according to Ollongren and Broekers-Knol. Such a deployment leads to housing asylum seekers in sports halls filled with camping beds, and possibly moving them from location to location every week.
"Given the current shortage of reception places, there is a good chance that asylum seekers" would have to move every week for a longer period of time. "This is a very undesirable situation for municipalities, residents, and asylum seekers that does not offer stability."
The ministers acknowledge "that this is a far-reaching step, also in administrative cooperation. The current emergency situation makes this necessary, but it does not make it any easier. We will do everything we can to shape and support this as best as possible.”
Reporting by ANP