Darinka Czischke
Preprint / Version 1

Nederland op een kantelpunt

Darinka Czischke about the freedom to choose your way of living in collaborative housing


  • Leo Oorschot




collaborative housing, cohousing, housing cooperation, bofaelleskab, intergenerational communities, social architecture, project together


There have been a number of changes going on in recent years, the housing crisis is deepening, demographic changes are underway and the narrative among urban planners and public housing providers has changed.

For a number of years there has been a housing crisis in the housing market in the Netherlands. The reasons for this are different. On the one hand there is the political powerlessness to solve this out of control housing crisis, on the other hand there was also the political will not to solve the problems and for years people relied blindly on solutions from the market. Whether the solution to the housing crisis will come about in the coming period is the question. One of the problems is the gap between the production of houses and the demand.

Already for a number of years, the traditional family unit is gradually fallen into decay as cornerstone of the human society. According to Statistics Netherlands, many people live alone or at most as a couple. Young people, divorced people, the elderly live in small apartments (if they have been able to get hold of them) next to each other. People complain about loneliness. The CBS dataset 'key figures for neighbourhoods and neighbourhoods 2021' shows a shocking picture. In the Netherlands, only 2.1 people are present per household. This household density is somewhat evenly distributed across the country. Furthermore, the average Dutch have 65m2 living space available while in Germany and other parts of Europe this is just 45m2.  Many people in the Netherlands living alone or in couples. Individualization seems to have gained the upper hand and people literally live next to each other without knowing each other or even wanting to know each other. Garden fences become impregnable barriers. Towers are built with small units for one person in urban areas. However, ‘living alone together’ become more popular the last years. Many people looking for a home are seeking for more close links with neighbours.

This interview is about project together, collaborative housing and cohousing, what exactly does it mean, does it solve the housing crisis, is cohousing inclusive, is cohousing the successor of mixing-residents-narrative from the neighbourhood-unit-ideas of the past?