The protesters, all dressed in white onesies with black spots and udders, were careful to observe social distancing rules, keeping 1.5 metres apart and wearing face masks. Someone with a megaphone explained why they were there.
They want Minister of the Interior Kajsa Ollongren (D66) to introduce fines for ‘slumlords’ who, as they say in Dutch, ‘milk their houses’ and charge higher rents for their properties than they should under the law. At present, however, there is no real penalty for this.
Any tenant can take their case to the rent assessment committee if they are being asked to pay too much rent. If the committee rules in their favour, the landlord will have to repay the difference. But the activists think the government is not taking a hard enough line.
Since this afternoon, a petition has been online calling on the Minister to take action. The campaign was organised by the National Student Union and the youth union FNV Young & United.
In September, Statistics Netherlands reported the largest jump in rents in six years. In the same month, the National Student Union also warned that more and more students are being asked to pay too much.
HOP, Bas Belleman