The housing needs of travellers cannot be equated with those of people who reside in regular homes. The caravan life is so particular to travellers, that the caravan plays an essential role in how much they will enjoy living somewhere. This was the verdict of the Dutch subdistrict court of Gouda on January 10, 2019 in a case that housing corporation Woonpartners had filed against five travellers in Waddinxveen. The housing corporation asked the court to end their rental contracts, trying to force the residents to move to newly built ‘caravan houses’. These specially constructed homes, built of stone, are very similar to caravans, according to Woonpartners, and therefore constitute a suitable alternative. The court, however, ruled differently.
The municipality must take into account the cultural identity of travellers when it comes to its housing policy. This means, inter alia, that the municipality must protect the caravan culture and has to facilitate the possibility of living in a caravan, for example through guaranteeing sufficient caravan sites. This was laid down in the new policy framework, which was presented on July 12, 2018 by the Dutch government. With this new policy framework, the so-called extinction policy of traveller’s camps was officially banned.
The travellers are very happy with the verdict.
The PILP-NJCM filed an opinion letter (Amicus Curiae) in this case, in which the human rights that are applicable to travellers were once again explained. The five travellers were assisted by attorney Charday Huurman.
The travellers were also supported by Sabina Achterbergh and the VSRWN.
Read the Amicus letter here.
Read more about our caravan file here.