Exhibition Housing shortage in The Hague
From October 31 to December 17, the Hague Municipal Archives will present the exhibition Housing shortage in The Hague in the Atrium of the city hall on the Spui.
In this exhibition we tell the story of the housing shortage in The Hague over the past 175 years. A roof over your head is a fundamental right, which unfortunately is not always self-evident.
Association for the Improvement of the Homes of the Working Class
From 1850, The Hague's industry flourished and the demand for workers grew. There is a housing shortage and working-class families are housed in tiny working-class houses, in slums and narrow alleys. The health of the workers suffers from a lack of light and fresh air.
The housing law: the turning point
The realization that social housing could not be left to the market also penetrated the national government. The liberal Pierson cabinet introduced the Housing Act in 1901. This was a turning point, because before that the government only interfered with large infrastructural constructions.
The housing associations
In the 20th century, housing services developed into influential municipal departments. A large part of the municipal budget was spent on social housing built by various housing associations and corporations. The quality of housing was checked and guaranteed.
The crisis years
After the First World War (1914-1918), construction costs fell and the economy picked up strongly. There was catch-up demand after the uncertain war years. On the basis of the Housing Act, the government stimulated the new construction and remediation of slums, but especially in the crisis years with a limited budget.
During the occupation, The Hague suffered a lot from the German measures. In The Hague, more than 135,000 people were evicted from their homes and 2,400 buildings were demolished to turn the city into a fortress. 6 percent of the total housing stock in The Hague was lost.
After the liberation on May 10, 1945, The Hague was a city full of ruins. The devastation of war led to a severe housing shortage. There was a shortage of all the materials needed to build houses: building materials, energy and skilled labour.
Post-war housing shortage
The Municipal Housing Agency tried to regulate the number of inhabitants with a permit system. In order to determine the degree of 'urgency', the number of people per square meter and the living space were looked at.
No home, no coronation
In the 1960s and 1970s, the call for a fair distribution of wealth, income and property grew louder. In big cities, slum landlords could get through the cracks of the law. This led to the rise of the squatters' movement. In the 1970s, squatters received legal protection because of court rulings.
City in transition
A resident of The Hague from the fifties will have trouble recognizing the city in 2022. The dunes, the North Sea and the Binnenhof are still there, but the city has changed a lot in those seventy years. Converting real estate can offer a solution. Many buildings have since been converted into residential buildings.
Composition of the exhibition
The composition of the exhibition is by the Hague Municipal Archives. Special thanks to Elise Mutter, Department of Monument Care & Welfare and Raymund Schütz, historian.