If you’re dreaming about living in a tiny house in the Netherlands, you will come across this hurdle soon enough. Where can you possibly live, every inch of this country belongs to somebody. Even worse: there is regulation for pretty much every step you take. At the same time, tiny houses are small, flexible, good looking and sustainable. You might think there should be some sort of arrangement possible, right? Well yes, both are true. Regulation is incredibly annoying, but there are ample possibilities nonetheless. An overview of what to expect, if you’d start your search for a spot in the Netherlands.

Approval by landlord

Whether you have your own plot of land, if you found a farmer with some room to spare, or have set your eyes on some public land, you will have to deal with the landowner. He or she will have to agree with your plans to live there. This is the very basis.

Destination plan (bestemmingsplan)

What comes second, is what activity is allowed on the specific type of land. If the plot is already destined for living purposes, you’re lucky. But it will also mean almost always that the land is very expensive. Eventhought the land has a living purpose, that doesn’t mean you can randomly build or put up houses. No matter how small they are.

Permission from municipality

Based on the prior info, you should get in touch with the municipality in case. If your proposal is completely in line with the destination plan, you should be all right. They need well-founded objections to deny you the possibility to live there. If your plan isn’t in line with the land destination, you need permission to get excepted from it, or they need to change the destination plan altogether. The latter will be the toughest route. Getting an excemption will be easier, and will allow you to live there for 5 to 10 years mostly.

Building regulation (tiny house regelgeving: bouwbesluit)

Once you’ve found a plot of land you could theoretically live on, the next step is to get your specific ‘building’ approved. Even though your house is build to be moveable, you still will live in it permanently. The problem is that a tiny house can in no situation be in line with the current regulation. Therefor, you need to get exempted from it by the municipality. It’s getting a little technical at this point, but municipalities used to make a excemption based on the crisis- en herstelwet. Which allowed for deviant houses to be build for the purpose of experimenting with ways to battle the shortage of houses. Unfortunately, the national government decided that such a reasoning was long overdue, and now there is only one way to get your house approved (if the municipality demands).

With something called het gelijkwaardigheidsbeginsel (principle of equality), an architect can prove that your little house offers just as much quality of live, as a regular ‘approved’ one. Anyway, the laws will all change drastically soon, with the new and long overdue omgevingswet, which will be very relevant for everything that has to do with living in a tiny house. For now, its seems that the law will offer a clausule for local governments to make exceptions from it, if they wish so. Read along about a clear overview of the current situation on the website of Tiny House Nederland. (in Dutch)

Joining a Tiny House ‘Community’

The more viable alternative, is to get selected for an already existing tiny house spot. You can find them on many places, throughout the country, in all sorts of types. You’ll only have to worry about getting selected, and you don’t need to bother about regulations etc. You might still have to proof the ‘equality of the quality of life’ in your house with the help of an architect though. The obvious downside to this option, is that it’s rather hard to get a spot in the first place. There are quite some locations now, but there are also a lot of people waiting to get in. Additionally, only few people will leave their spot once they have settled down.

But don’t give up just yet, there are a lot of awesome spots, and every month new spots are being set up. Are you ready to do what it takes? Read along, to find out how you can increase your changes of getting picked. Questions or something to add? Let us know in a comment down below.

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