Bubbles of inequality in Amsterdam
Amsterdam is booming, columnist Kees Kraaijeveld recently wrote, but it’s a ’tough meritocratic men’s world’ and ‘the booming life blows bubbles of inequality’. The middle class is shrinking and the share of high incomes is rising. «The big questions are: do we want this? And, if we don’t: what are we going to do about it?»
At the risk of stating the obvious: social housing obviously plays a role. Affordable, good-quality rental homes have always been the backbone of the Dutch housing stock. They contributed to the fact that social inequality in Amsterdam isn’t nearly as large as in many cities abroad.
In recent years, however, rents have been raised and many housing corporation-owned houses have been sold or demolished. In Amsterdam, the number of affordable rental homes has been slashed by tens of thousands. The chart above shows the results. Over the past years, Amsterdam consistently moved to the top-right: more expensive houses and more high incomes (the only exception being a dip in 2011, possibly related to the late response of the Dutch housing market to the economic crisis).