Shifting back in the Dutch social housing sector

Authors Nico Nieboer, Vincent Gruis
Publication date 2011
Type Lecture


Since the financial and administrative liberalisation from the government in the late 1980s and the 1990s, the Dutch housing associations have been very dynamic, regarding the considerable extension of both commercial and social activities, the increased reliance and dependence on market circumstances, and the large number of amalgamations, creating bigger organisations. In recent years the Dutch social housing sector is under increased pressure as a consequence of the credit crunch, increased tax levies and the national implementation in the sector of EU regulations on ‘Services of General Economic Interest’. Factors like these are likely to have an effect on the organisational strategies of housing associations, the main providers of social housing in the Netherlands. The direction and the size of these effects, however, are not well known. A recent inquiry among housing associations sheds more light on this. In this paper, we make use of a classification including a socialcommercial dimension and a dimension between so-called ‘prospectors’ and ‘defenders’. This classification proves to be an adequate tool to describe the recent developments in the sector. It is concluded that, in general, housing associations are focussing more on traditional social housing tasks and ‘defending’ strategies, implying a shift back compared to the trend in recent decades.

Language English