Affordable and sustainable tiny houses are the future

Interest in tiny houses is increasing, partly as a result of the corona crisis. According to pioneer Marjolein Jonker, founder of Stichting Tiny House Nederland, it is therefore time for the government to take more account of this form of housing.

The ‘small houses’ blew over from America in 2016. The concept: small fully-fledged detached houses with a maximum floor area of 50 m2 with the smallest possible ecological footprint. They stand on a (temporary) foundation, but also on wheels.

“Fortunately, we see that more and more municipalities are showing interest,” says Jonker. “Barneveld is seriously taking stock of the needs, the target groups and the expectations. In Deventer, Beilen and Westerveld, green residential districts are being created with room for tiny houses within them

The Netherlands currently has about twenty official housing projects with ‘small houses’ and their associated minimalist and environmentally friendly lifestyle. “That may seem little, but for a new form of housing that has only been around for about five years, it is quite special. Particularly because it takes a long time in the Netherlands for the permits to be completed. There are, of course, also projects in the pipeline

In recent months Jonker has noticed a strong increase in interest in the closed Facebook group of the Tiny Houses Netherlands Foundation. Anyone who wants to become a member is asked to send a motivation. “We read in it that because of the corona crisis people are more interested in sustainable and affordable housing; but also that they are tired of the rat race of bigger and better

Many interested parties indicate that they would like to develop and build their own homes, in cooperation with other future residents. But unfortunately there are few opportunities for these citizensinitiatives, Jonker knows. “Almost all the space in the housing market is left to project developers and housing corporations

That is why, together with organisations such as the Knarrenhof Foundation and the Erfdelen Foundation, a letter was recently sent to the Lower House to ask for more room for private initiative. According to the writers, private clients and housing collectives should not be a peripheral phenomenon but an essential part of housing policy. They mention Amsterdam as a forerunner; here, thirteen housing locations have recently been reserved exclusively for citizens’ initiatives and housing cooperatives.