The Netherlands has gained a reputation for its ability to design and create sustainable, pioneering residential construction schemes that suit modern city living. On the back of this, the Tiny House movement is making its presence felt in a big way as house prices soar and personal debt rises.
Tiny Houses measure no greater than 50 square metres, innovatively designed to make the most efficient use of space. Sustainability and aesthetics are priorities; the houses are designed to be moveable, environmentally friendly with off-grid functionality. Tiny Houses are big on self-sufficiency and include solar panels, rain water collection and filtering systems and features such as composting lavatories.
Big voice in the Tiny House community
A leading light in the Tiny House movement is Marjolein Jonker, who in 2015 co-founded Stichting Tiny House Nederland. Jonker’s own home attracts much attention. Along with students from TU Delft, her 20 square metre property stands on the former site of a gas factory. Erected in 2016, it was one of The Netherland’s first ‘tiny houses’.
Using three or more cardboard segments, the Wikkelhouse features a glass front and distinctive but practical triangular tiny-A, designed with a triplex Slim fit and a footprint of just 16.4m. Jonker said: “Diversity is key. People can design for themselves how they want to live and not buy a house because the contractor decided this is what they should live in and dictate how they live.”
Cramped cities look to expand micro homes
Cities with limited development opportunity and expensive land and house prices are beginning to experiment with Tiny Houses. In Heijplaat in Rotterdam, homeowners Noortje Veerman and Jan Willem van der Male moved into their 19 square metre Tiny House a year ago. Noortje Veerman explains:
“Many more cities are offering testing locations for experimental houses – such as micro homes and Tiny Houses. Since the cities are expanding and the housing shortage worsens, it’s clear that people need to find new innovative solutions to build houses.”