Success can sometimes bring its own challenges. That’s something the Dutch city of Eindhoven has discovered.
Jeroen Dijsselbloem became mayor of the city in 2022, having previously served as the Netherlands’ Minister of Finance and President of the Eurogroup, the consultative body of the finance ministers of the Euro countries. In an interview during Expo Real, he described how Eindhoven is experiencing a tech boom that has created an urgent need for residential development.
“Eindhoven has been a boomtown now for 20 years after Philips [a multinational conglomerate that was founded in Eindhoven] became a much smaller company, we had to redevelop the economy. We now have more than 6,000 tech companies,” he said.
“Most of our companies are international and this is radically changing the town . So growth figures are very high but it also creates an enormous demand for investments in real estate, in services and in amenities and that is the challenge we are facing.”
A large part part of the city centre is being redeveloped in order to build roughly 20,000 houses between now and 2040. “We are very far already in planning procedures and we are now very much interested in looking for investors — preferably long-term investors who are committed to staying in our city and who will take on many projects and invest for the long term,” Dijsselbloem said.
This highlights the importance of the issue to the corporate community, a group of companies in Eindhoven banded together to create a housing fund to address shortages in the city. “Some of our biggest companies are growing so fast that they have said to the city council ‘let us help, we want to help you build, we want to help you create the services and facilities that our people need here in the city’. They’ve now set up a fund which can help us finance some of the first losses or give a guarantee on the sale of apartments or a guarantee on the rental contracts so that investors and developers can start building much sooner,” he said of the fund, which is fully private. “This helps us in the current insecurity in the markets and provides additional security so we can keep building.”