Every month we introduce you to one of the people leading the work of our member organisations. In this edition, we travel to the Hague to meet the new President of Aedes, the Federation of the Dutch Social Housing Associations. Marnix Norder introduces the organisation, gives us information about the perception of housing in the Netherlands, the country with the largest social housing sector in Europe, and shares some thoughts about the current challenges at national and regional level. Plus, as usual, he presents his own way to strike a good life-work balance.
- I would describe Aedes in 10 words as home for social housing organisations, partner in dialogue for politicians.
- Our key objective is to facilitate social housing organisations in what they were established to do: provide housing for lower income households and other people who need help on the housing market.
- Apart from housing provision, our mission is to prevent segregation and ghettoization, by making sure lower and higher income households live in the same neighbourhoods. And to make sure that social housing is CO2 neutral, in the very near future.
- We joined Housing Europe because the European Commission has a big impact on social housing in the Netherlands, despite the fact that Housing is officially not a policy area of the EC. Take the ‘Dutch case’, where a decision of the Commission paved the way for an income ceiling in the Dutch social housing, for instance.
In the Netherlands
- Housing is considered to be in the Netherlands a right for everyone. Good housing, that is. The appearance of a home shouldn’t immediately reflect the social class someone belongs to. When a child visits a friend of a lower income, he/she shouldn’t notice right away that this friend is ‘different’ from him.
- Our key partners in the country are municipalities, the Union of Tenants, politicians and civil servants.
- Our main housing policy priority at the moment is our so-called ‘Housing Agenda’, in which we offer the Netherlands more social housing, energy efficient housing, affordable housing and neighbourhoods everyone is satisfied about. The past few years, politicians saw social housing as a theme for cutbacks. That time is over now, we think.
- The major challenge for the country today is the segregation and polarisation you see everywhere in Europe now. Especially in poorer neighbourhoods. Luckily, in the Netherlands we don’t see as much extremism as in other European countries, but still, we also have people living in their own, segregated world.
- I start my working day with scanning the news about social housing. Social housing is considered to be very important in the Netherlands, so every day we see relevant articles and tv or radio items about it.
- After leaving the office I go home hoping my children (14, 17 and 21 years old) have left the house in one piece.
- Currently I read A Little History of the World by E. H. Gombrich, while listening to Prince. It’s always Prince for me, especially since his death last year.
- I move around by motorcycle, but the Dutch climate doesn’t always allow that. Therefore, and for the scenery, I love going abroad, for instance to the Belgian Ardennes, or the German Eiffel region.
- I prefer having on my table good Indian food. A nice curry with saag and chapatti.