The Amsterdam area accommodates a population of one and a half million, half of whom live within the city boundaries. Compared with other large cities in Europe and the world, Amsterdam is unique in boasting a large stock of affordable social rented housing. Nearly fifty percent of the housing stock consists of social rented housing managed by housing associations.

Amsterdam is a very mixed city, where low-income households can also afford to live in popular neighbourhoods. This heterogeneity makes Amsterdam an attractive mix of people and activity. Nevertheless, the current housing stock is no longer in line with the residents’ aspirations and the City of Amsterdam is therefore seeking to shift the emphasis on social rented housing to more privately owned housing.

For this reason, many inhabitants of Amsterdam continue to live in social rented housing, causing stagnation in the housing market and confronting starters with long waiting times before they are eligible for social rented housing.

Housing Vision

The City of Amsterdam is currently working on a Housing Vision until 2020, in which the policy for the coming years is outlined. The most important aims for the coming years are:

  • Emancipation: everyone must be able to advance in the housing market. It must become easier for starters to find a home and for middle-income earners to progress to privately owned housing.
  • Non-segregation: All population groups - young and old, rich and poor - must be able to live in all neighbourhoods.
  • Affordability: sufficient affordable housing must remain available to low-income earners.
  • Renewal: Amsterdam is working hard on the renewal of disadvantaged neighbourhoods.
  • Top City: high-quality housing and amenities are key to building a strong and competitive economy in Amsterdam and environs.
  • Housing and care: Elderly and vulnerable groups must be able to live independently and take part in society wherever possible.
  • Sustainability: Energy-efficient housing must make a substantial contribution towards reducing energy consumption in the city of Amsterdam.

To achieve these objectives, a broad range of measures and new policies have been drawn up. With a view to this, the City of Amsterdam has made arrangements with the Amsterdam housing associations. The most important elements are:

  • New build homes, including 30% of which are social rented homes. The typical average lies between 3,500 and 4,000 new build homes per year. However, the building pace has slowed down due to the economic and financial crisis. In 2011 some 2,000 new homes were built.
  • Housing associations guarantee that every year sufficient cheap homes are released for people on low incomes.
  • More housing for groups who are at a disadvantage in the housing market: young people and students, large families and people who need care.
  • More privately owned housing: the stock of privately owned housing will be increased through new build development and the sale of rented housing.

For more English-language statistics on Amsterdam see this website.