The Municipality of Eindhoven is standing by anti-discrimination posters that were displayed in various places in the city at the end of 2022 and the beginning of 2023. The campaign led to questions from the VVD and the LPF.
In addition to the opposition parties, the anti-discrimination campaign also caused quite a stir on social media. The text ‘Erik and Annemarie will get the key tomorrow (Omar and Samira will not)’, went down the wrong way with many people. The municipality of Eindhoven said that the campaign was not initiated by the municipality or by the anti-discrimination organization Radar, but by The Hague.
In addition, the campaign was not about discrimination in the social housing market, but rather in the private housing market, the Municipal Executive responded to the council’s questions. The council regrets that there was so much fuss about the campaign. That is not what we wanted to achieve with this campaign.
“The aim was to create awareness of discrimination and to point out the possibility to report the discrimination to Radar.” The Board acknowledges that it was not clear enough in the campaign that it was about discrimination in the commercial rental sector, and not in the social rental sector. It also acknowledged that the campaign did not make it clear that it is an initiative from national government, and not of the municipality of Eindhoven.
However, the municipality of Eindhoven considers the initiative important and necessary because there is discrimination in the commercial housing market in Eindhoven. This is evident from national research, but also research that the municipality has specifically commissioned in Eindhoven as a result. This showed that people with a non-Dutch surname are less likely to be invited for a viewing.
The national survey also showed that the ‘vast majority’ of real estate agents or housing brokers cooperate with discriminatory requests from landlords to exclude people with a non-Dutch background from renting out, according to the research.
‘Emergency scheme is not discrimination’
The Municipality of Eindhoven, therefore, supports the message and the intention of the campaign. The argument put forward by the LPF that there is discrimination in the social rental sector precisely because some homes in that sector are allocated to refugees is not correct, according to the council.
“Discrimination in treating people unequally based on personal characteristics that do not matter in the situation,” the council writes. “A certain part of the social rental housing goes to people with urgency. (…) In these cases, there is a legitimate purpose for prioritizing people in certain emergencies and the measures are appropriate and necessary.”
Although the municipality of Eindhoven was not the initiator of the campaign, the municipality had to pay for its rollout in the municipality. It cost the municipality more than 27,000 euros excluding VAT. In total, the anti-discrimination posters were displayed in about 60 places in the city, from November 22 to January 22.
The results of the local investigation carried out by the municipality, will be announced in the third quarter of 2023, according to the council.
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