The mortgage interest deduction - in fact a disguised banking subsidy - puts Dutch homeowners heavily in debt. It also pushes house prices to astronomical heights. It can also be done differently. How expensive is the cheapest conceivable, yet still legal, house in the Netherlands?
Bureaucratic paradise of the Netherlands
The Netherlands is a heavily regulated country. This is also partly necessary. After all, we live close together here, so there is a good chance that you will disturb someone. For another part, you can honestly ask yourself whether the regulatory burden is really necessary. A good example of this is the very detailed Building Decree, which contains all the requirements that homes must meet. And there are quite a few. Even the more readable Building Decree 2012, according to the government, still has 350 pages despite the simpler text. To make matters worse, it often refers to NEN standards and the like that can only be ordered for a lot of money (around one hundred euros per booklet). These are also available for inspection in libraries of technical universities.
Main requirements Building Decree
If we start from the minimum requirements as stated in the Building Decree 2012, for an average family of two adults and two children, we arrive at the following main points.
* At least 12 square meters of living space per person (so 48 m2 living space).
* Each floor 3 m high. With dimensions of approx. 5x5x6 m (the most energy-efficient form) we thus arrive at 170 square meters of surface, of which 25 square meters each foundation and roof. The floor of the first floor is then extra.
* Good ventilation (7 liters + 0.9 l per square meter per second), at the same time max. 0.2 cubic meters per second of draft).
* Sufficiently dry: humidity anywhere below 70%.
* Sufficiently energy efficient (equates to at least double glazing, wall in total 2.5 m2 K / W. In practice: e.g. 7 cm thick, well-sealed solid wood or a double insulated brick wall).
* Sufficiently large countertop (approx. 1.5 m2) with space for a cooker.
* Sanitary (shower, toilet, tap). Waste water must be disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner, i.e. discharged into the sewerage system or into a septic tank. The latter is only allowed in the countryside, if there is no sewage system. No wonder, this is an important source of income for water treatment companies in which municipalities are major shareholders. Installing a biological water purification or biogas tank yourself is of course out of the question.
* Daylight. A very complicated calculation that means that the daylight intensity in each room must be at least 10% of that in the open field. No civil servant who wants to simply include this simple requirement, which can also be checked very quickly with a simple light meter. An amateur builder can broadly achieve this by having at least 10% of the total outer surface consist of transparent material. Of course, the shadow effect of surrounding trees etc. must be taken into account.
Solution: double garden shed plus conservatory
It is of course the cheapest to use standard materials and components. Large log cabin manufacturers sell well-insulated gazebos with an area of around 25 to 30 square meters around six thousand euros each. In principle, two of these houses pushed together already provide a single-family home. A conservatory of a few square meters can be added to create a frost-free passage between the two log cabins. This will cost around a thousand euros for self-build.
A concrete floor must be poured for a stable location. For around fifty square meters, this can cost between one thousand and two thousand euros. A simple shower cubicle is available at the Gamma hardware store for around four hundred euros, a simple toilet around one hundred and fifty euros. With a simple sink, tiling and sewerage, this comes to a total of fifteen hundred euros.
Then the kitchen. A simple countertop with space for a hob, plus sink comes to about two hundred euros. Laying all electrical cables will cost around three hundred euros.
A cheap HR boiler costs twelve hundred euros. Added to this is a geyser for hot water for the shower and kitchen. For all this equipment plus installation, add up to around two thousand euros.
Living for twenty thousand euros possible
The total cost price, excluding building land, is therefore less than twenty thousand euros. For this you have a beautiful energy-efficient bungalow with a small conservatory. In front of about this amount you can order a house that is five times as big from a Latvian company. However, this house must still be equipped with the aforementioned built-in appliances. This will cost around five thousand euros extra.
It is probably possible to cut back on these prices by purchasing competitively. This is also a fairly mainstream and ecologically responsible solution. Next time, we'll really dive into the depths of pricing. For this, however, it is necessary to ignore the Dutch building rules. However, no compromises will be made with regard to living comfort and safety / health.
Also read: Visionary living ideas