On 1 January 2008 5.7 percent of the just over 7 million dwellings in the Netherlands were not officially inhabited. This does not mean that they are vacant, but that nobody is officially registered as living there. The highest percentages of uninhabited dwellings are in the coastal municipalities, as a result of the high number of second homes located in these areas.
May uninhabited homes in coastal municipalities
Coastal municipalities with a recreational character in particular, have many uninhabited dwellings. The municipality of Sluis in the province of Zeeland tops the list: 22 percent of its dwellings are not inhabited by someone in the population register of this municipality. Not only municipalities in Zeeland, those on the Wadden islands, too, have relatively many uninhabited dwellings.
Ten percent or more of homes in three of the four large cities (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht) are also not officially occupied. The Hague has the highest percentage of vacant dwellings of the four large cities: 13 percent. This is partly explained by the fact that this city has recreational districts located on the coast (Scheveningen and Kijkduin).
Uninhabited dwellings per municipality
Not officially inhabited is not the same as vacant
Homes that are not officially inhabited by a person in the population register are not the same as vacant homes. They can be inhabited by people who are not eligible for registration in the population register, or used for other purposes such as surgeries, childcare centres or studios, or as a second home.
Dwellings may also be uninhabited because a resident is temporarily staying elsewhere, for example in a care home, or has moved in with someone else but is keeping the home on in case things go wrong. Some dwellings are also inhabited by illegal immigrants.
House moves and renovation cause vacancy
People who move house may own two houses for a period. During large scale renovation projects, too, dwellings are vacant for a time. Also, dwellings for which a demolition permit has been issued, but which have not yet been demolished are also vacant. Dwellings in all these categories are not available for occupancy. Vacant dwellings also include new and existing homes that have not yet been sold or rented.