I feel trapped in a golden cage
Troy De Santis, 45, is a software engineer with her two children, Ella, 14, and Issa, 11.
“I have a very privileged position. I belong to a generation that can find a job, raise a salary, buy a house when I’m ready, and get childcare benefits without having to arrange anything for it. Now a lot has changed.”
I bought a house ten years ago. I didn’t care, but my house is now worth twice its value. I just can’t stand it, it annoys me. I find it very unfair. Gary surrender. She received a letter from an investor and then backed out when she saw how much money she could get.
“If I now start working with less and less profit, it will have direct consequences for my living situation. At the same time: if I continue to work a lot, my children will have every opportunity. I feel trapped in a golden cage.
“I’ve had every opportunity in relation to my father. He’s from Cape Verde, he immigrated here for love. He grew up with nothing.
“When you’re 25, life is hard, even if you have a good job. To me, it’s like sailing and winding in the back, while I don’t do anything for it.”
“I suffer from heart problems due to psychological pressure.”
Xenia Gottenkieny (age keeps it private), artist/musician
“Over the past five years, there have been near-constant renovations to my apartment, Boomenberg, which includes 226 homes. Just when I thought it was over and I was finally getting some rest, did I hear about the new demolition and construction plans through the media.
The Housing Association says that after the renovation we can return with the same rent – but in a smaller house. It is a disguised increase in rent. On top of that, we’ll be in construction noise for another five to ten years. The municipality wants to make it an urgent task. I have to move out of my house in a year.
“I pay about 700 euros for 70 square metres. My home is also my workplace. I make audiovisual products. I need space for my lights and to be able to shoot remotely. If I lose this, I’ll have to rent a studio. I can’t stand it.”
“Because of the demolition plans, there are more interconnections in the apartment. Out of necessity, we ourselves have formed a residents committee. The vast majority of my neighbors are 70 or older. Some have health problems. They cannot handle such a renovation.
It also creates a lot of uncertainty for me. I ended up in the hospital because of the whole situation. I have heart problems due to stress.”
“I don’t have parents who lent me a lot”
Merel Ooms (33), researcher/project leader at Platform 31 and Sebastián Contreras (32), researcher at KNMI.
Uncles: “I always thought: I will rent for a while and then I will buy a house. Now it will be financially feasible, but it has become so expensive that I wonder: do I want it at such prices?
“My friend and I live together in a rented house in Rotterdam. The rent is around €1,050 for 70-80 sq.m. This is relatively affordable, if still expensive. We are happy with our current house, but we really want to buy something.
“We’ve focused on what we can afford. We haven’t made the move yet to the broker. It’s mainly because we hear bad stories from friends. They say it’s really hard to get watched. Then you have to decide fast and then bid on a lot. It scares us.”
People need protection from investors who are raising prices. I don’t have any parents to lend me a ton. Sebastian is from Mexico, so we don’t know if we want to live in Holland forever. We want to keep the option open to exit. For now we will be staying in our rented house. We just don’t know what the wisdom to do now.”
“It’s all lies, cheating and threats.”
Wim Leeuwis (72), president of FNV R’dam, retired, was a social worker
“The municipality only wants the rich in the city. The entire housing policy is aimed at suppressing certain groups of the population. That has to change.
“I’ve been living in Tweebosbuurt since 1974, and it’s a traditional working-class neighborhood. You had it all here: Turks, Moroccans, Hindus. We were always in solidarity, helping each other. So I loaned my welding machine, or shared the car if someone needed it. Worth holding on to in Living is its weight in gold.
“Two years ago we received a message that ‘You must leave your house in a year because we are going to demolish it.’ The residents were only informed at the last minute. Vestia [de woningcorporatie] Clears the entire neighborhood for “urgent personal use”. It is lying, cheating and threatening.
“After several lawsuits, eleven homes are now allowed to remain, including my own. It is not entirely clear why my house is being demolished and renovated now. Will my rent go up after the renovation? I don’t know. I have a social rental house but I am not on the roof yet. In my neighborhood, but it was demolished behind it as well, and even more so. Where did it stop?”
A version of this article also appeared on NRC on the morning of October 18, 2021
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