So, what is an expat, then?

Expats come and go. They don’t integrate, don’t learn Dutch. But they do live in our houses. Oh yeah… And, they’re arrogant. An anthology of what you might hear at a birthday party. As you may have sensed: this isn’t the whole truth of the matter. If it were, your average expat would strongly resemble your Uncle Bob.

‘Short stay, WA?’ as a well-known sausage roll maker from Eindhoven would say. Short stay is one of those terms that comes up when people talk about internationals. As you probably know, it refers to a short-term lease. But what exactly are short stays, where can you find them and who is actually involved here?

A study recently conducted, commissioned by the Municipality of Eindhoven, has provided the following definition: a short stay is temporary housing for a period of at least 14

days and a maximum of 6 months, with the possibility of extending for another 6

months (if the conditions set by the tax authorities are met).

So a short stay is literally housing provided for a short period of time. International employees (with or without their families) often arrive in Eindhoven without having secured a permanent place of residence yet. They first stay in a short stay accommodation for a few weeks or months before moving on. This is often the case with internationals who are planning to stay here for a longer period of time, perhaps even indefinitely or permanently. But you also have internationals who know in advance that they are only going to be in the Netherlands for a few weeks or months, and who deliberately choose a short stay accommodation for that reason.

How long the accommodation is needed varies. The tenants can also come from a variety of backgrounds. Highly skilled migrants, migrant workers and international students may all be looking for this type of accommodation. But it is not only internationals who make use of short stays. Dutch people who are in urgent need of a place to live sometimes end up in this type accommodation as well. As you can imagine, all these different target groups can have extremely varied expectations and available budgets.

But is the offer diverse as well, and more importantly, is there adequate accommodation available? The answer is as clear as it is short: no! There is currently a shortage of housing options for all the above-mentioned target groups. This is partly an estimate, because it is difficult to gain a complete picture of the supply of short-stay housing for migrant workers, for example. But it is clear that the shortages on the housing market are not limited to conventional accommodation.

Many short-stay apartments, especially those aimed at highly skilled workers and students, are located in the city centre. For migrant workers, the situation is more varied. Converted office buildings or hotels, for example, are used as accommodation. There is still quite a bit of reserve space in the plans, but every effort will have to be made to accommodate the growth in international employees and students in the years to come.

I believe it is necessary for short-stay housing to receive as much attention as long-term housing. After all, short-stay housing is in fact a type of long-term housing, it’s just that the tenants change a bit more quickly. An adequate supply of short-stay housing is an important element in solving the current housing crisis.

I know what you’re going to ask: where did Aunt Hetty and Uncle Harry from my previous columns actually end up, when they came here from Belgium all those years ago? Well, they stayed in a basic 9 m2 room with a bunk bed and a wash basin. They tested the strength of their relationship there for three months and decided that it would do. Then they moved into a second space (20 m2) in the same building and a year later they moved into their first proper little home. The short stay turned into a long stay …

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