Housing shortages and rising rent costs: a growing problem for big European cities like Amsterdam. We accompany Amsterdam locals as they search for a place to live, and find out what impact rising rents are having on the development of our cities.
Wendy Bijwaard is looking for a place to live after separating from her husband. For years she’s lived in Amsterdam-Oost, where she has her job, her two children’s schools, her friends and hobbies. But will she be able to stay there? The 52 year old earns well and could afford an apartment in the Dutch metropolis. The only problem is - she’s been unable to get anything. For the sake of her children, Wendy isn’t giving up. For now, she’s found a temporary abode with friends. But by the summer she will have to have found a new place to live. Finding an apartment is especially difficult for young people. Mees Koopmann has now moved back in with her mother, after spending eight months house hunting. But even her mother has had to move outside the city, because living in Amsterdam is now too expensive. So Mees has to commute to work and to the university. All students and trainees have problems because of the high rents. State-subsidized apartments for people on low incomes are subject to very long waiting lists. You can wait up to 18 years for a low-cost place to live. Even the University of Amsterdam is now selling off some of its properties scattered throughout the city. Like many others, 38 year old Stijn Mertens has come up with his own solution to the housing shortage. He’s built himself a so-called "Tiny House” in Den Bosch, in the southern Netherlands. In future he’ll be living in just 25 square meters.