So you want to live in a Tiny House. And you have already realized that it is not that easy to find a place where you can legally live in your dream house. You can go to the municipality on your own to ask for a residential location for your Tiny House, but it is smarter and more promising to do that with several people. As a group you are stronger, you can divide the tasks, and the municipality is more inclined to work for a group than for an individual. But … how to do that?
First of all, it is important to realize that it takes a lot of time and effort to start and lead an initiative group. Know that people will join and drop out again and that not everyone will show the same commitment. If you accept that in advance, it will save you a lot of frustration along the way. It is a very intense, occasionally frustrating, but also extremely interesting, fun and an educational process to be organizing a citizens’ initiative and trying to realize a Tiny House residential location. Fortunately, many have now preceded you and there is plenty of knowledge and assistance available.
Finding group members
First let me reassure you: everywhere, in every municipality in the Netherlands, there are people who have a similar dream as you do and who also want to live in a Tiny House. You just have to find them. If you are planning to set up an initiative group or you already have one but you are looking to expand the group, you can enlist with the Register for (aspiring) Tiny House residents (Dutch only). You send me an email with some information about your initiative and contact details where people can sign up, and that’s it. I put you in the overview for your province that I send out twice a month to the Register members. There are now around 850 members, so there are probably people among them looking for a Tiny House residential location in your area.
You can also register your own initiative group with Stichting Tiny House Nederland, with the working group Initiative Groups. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, then your initiative will be posted on the website and you will be invited to the special meetings that can be very useful.
The first Tiny House Netherlands Initiative Groups meeting, July 2018.
You can also place a call in your local newspaper or Facebook groups. Or place a shout out in the Tiny House Nederland Facebook group. Really, there are plenty of opportunities to get in touch with like-minded people.
The first meeting
When you have received a number of registrations, it is time to meet. Schedule a date, arrange a location where you can meet undisturbed and make an agenda for what you are going to discuss. I would advise to keep it short; a first meeting is mainly about getting acquainted. It is a good idea to have clear for yourself what you have in mind when setting up the group. What kind of housing project do you want to realize? What role do you want to play in the group? What do you expect from participants? Expressing expectations at this first meeting or at least early in the process is very important and prevents disappointment afterwards. Let everyone speak. Let everyone introduce themselves and ask about everyone’s expectations. Agree on how you will work together. How often do you want to come together and where, and which means of communication will you use. Schedule the next meeting immediately.
The party has just started! You must first clearly state what it is exactly that you want to achieve. How do you want to live? Do you want to rent, lease or buy land (CPO – Collective Private Commissioning)? Do you want to live with connection to utilities or (partially) off-grid? What is important to you, which facilities, which values, to what extent do you want to form a community, share things with each other? Believe me, this is a very important part and it takes time. Take that time. It is only when you are clear about what you want to ask from the municipality that can you devise a strategy for contact with the municipality. I will write more about that later.
In due time you will also have to unite in a legal form, for which I have developed the online course Van initiatiefgroep naar wooncoöperatie (Dutch only). That will help you enormously when you are ready. Are you feeling ready? Well, get started then!