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Social Housing and Illegal State Aid: The Agreement between European Commission and Dutch Government


  • Hugo Priemus
  • Vincent Gruis


The size of the Dutch social housing sector, with a 32 per cent share of the housing stock, has prompted concerns over the 'level playing field' of competition between social and commercial housing providers. In 2007, this concern culminated in a complaint from the Dutch Association of Institutional Investors (IVBN) to the European Commission, with particular reference to the distorting effects of state aid to housing associations. In December 2009 the European Commission published its decision about the conditions for state aid to Dutch housing associations. The Commission agrees with the proposal of the Dutch government that housing associations allocate at least 90 per cent of their social rental dwellings to households with an income of less than EUR 33,000, if they want to remain eligible for state aid for these activities. Furthermore, housing associations may invest in real estate for public purposes. With its decision, the Commission ends a long period of uncertainty and contributes to creating a level playing field on the Dutch housing market. Nevertheless, the Commission's decision also hampers policies to increase tenure diversification and social mix in Dutch neighbourhoods.

Suggested Citation

  • Hugo Priemus & Vincent Gruis, 2011. "Social Housing and Illegal State Aid: The Agreement between European Commission and Dutch Government," International Journal of Housing Policy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(1), pages 89-104.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:intjhp:v:11:y:2011:i:1:p:89-104
    DOI: 10.1080/14616718.2011.548588

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    Cited by:

    1. Justin Kadi & Sako Musterd, 2015. "Housing for the poor in a neo-liberalising just city: Still affordable, but increasingly inaccessible," Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, Royal Dutch Geographical Society KNAG, vol. 106(3), pages 246-262, July.
    2. Willem R. Boterman & Wouter P.C. Gent, 2014. "Housing Liberalisation and Gentrification: The Social Effects of Tenure Conversions in Amsterdam," Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, Royal Dutch Geographical Society KNAG, vol. 105(2), pages 140-160, April.


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