Netherlands won't manage to build 1 million homes in 10 years
The Netherlands won't manage to build a million homes in the next ten years, people involved said to newspaper AD. The government wants to tackle the enormous housing shortage and accommodate expected population growth. But the task is too big given municipalities' capacity and budget shortages, environmental regulations, and the shortage of construction workers. According to Jan van Zanen of the association of Dutch municipalities VNG, 500,000 to 750,000 new homes is really the maximum achievable.
According to Van Zanen, municipalities will need at least 2 billion euros extra per year to achieve the government's housing construction goals. Municipalities also struggle with too few civil servants to process all the necessary permits at an accelerated pace. And finding room for the construction is another problem. The new homes will not match the "ideal image of a house with a front, and back garden," the mayor of The Hague warned on behalf of the VNG. High-risers are the only option in the inner cities.
Maxime Verhagen of sector organization Bouwend Nederland also has doubts but is still aiming for 1 million extra homes by 2032. "Because if you already reduce to 750,000, then you know for sure you won't achieve it," he said to AD. "The high ambition is justified. But there is a shortage of realistic construction sites. For the next five years, only 30 percent of the building plans are legally certain. So 65 percent are not."
The skepticism about the government's ambitions stems from recent years' experience. 75,000 new homes per year were considered a good year. The new challenge is massive in that light. According to AD, it means building as many homes as currently in the city of Breda every year. Or building almost as many homes as are now in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and The Hague combined in the decade.
According to Verhagen, it is impossible to build 100,000 new homes per year if you work traditionally. There is not enough time and workforce for that. "We are going to have to build more in factories. The building elements are made in the factory and assembled on the construction site." But an accumulation of extra government requirements will make this impossible. "If every municipality formulates its own different requirements on top of the building decree, you can forget about factory building."
The housing associations believe they'll be able to achieve their part of 300,000 new homes in the coming decade, Martin van Rijn of umbrella organization Aedes said to the newspaper. But that is provided that the associations get access to sufficient construction sites. "A million houses is a lot but is possible because we have to do it. We have no choice. I too have high expectations of industrial and modular construction to be able to set the pace."