A case study by REMCO TORENBOSCH


The availability and affordability of housing in the Netherlands is under severe pressure. In the last ten years, the country’s homeless population has doubled while housing shortages keep rising. Low-income families in particular are affected by the large-scale sale, liberalization, privatization and demolition of social housing. This led to a severe shortage of affordable housing, especially for people with disabilities, the elderly, young adults and aspiring first-time home owners. The marginalization of social renting has consequently made the free rental sector more expensive and insecure, causing middle incomes to fall between two stools as a result. What opportunities arise when the right to housing rather than the right to property, takes precedence in the transformation of the city?

— Based on the Woonopstand Manifest

HOUSING takes place in the Justus van Effen complex, a historical complex in Rotterdam's Spangen neighborhood where
A Tale of A Tub was founded and established in 2014. The Justus van Effen complex was built in the 1920s when the port and industry of Rotterdam experienced tremendous growth, leading to the first housing crisis. In the 1980s, during the second housing crisis, an urban renewal project was developed in which the original 264 small dwellings of the Justus van Effen complex were combined into 164 standard maisonettes. However, the site soon fell into disrepair and the renovated homes no longer met modern housing requirements. In 2012, the Justus van Effen complex underwent a complete renovation that reduced the number of housing units to 154 while bringing them up to current living comforts. Anticipating the current housing crisis, this latest renovation transformed the Justus van Effen complex from an idealistic social housing project for the working class into a middle-class residential community within Spangen.

HOUSING, a case study by REMCO TORENBOSCH, consists of an exhibition and public talks that address the notion of (social) housing and accessibility through the history and present of the Justus van Effen complex. The complex serves as a paragon of the last three housing crises in Rotterdam. The works selected for the exhibition are mainly interventions that engage in an active dialogue with the historical space and archival material lent by Het Nieuwe Instituut Rotterdam on Rotterdam's housing history and the Spangen neighborhood. The public talks revolve around housing conditions within Rotterdam and Spangen, examine the complex influence of ownership and accessibility on housing, and explore possible alternatives.

REMCO TORENBOSCH studied at the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam, Universität der Künste in Berlin, and is an alumnus of the Rijksakademie Amsterdam. In 2013, he was nominated for the Prix de Rome.
His work has been exhibited in places such as: Kunsthaus Zurich, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Kunsthalle Wien, De Appel Amsterdam, Victoria and Albert Museum London, CAC Parc Saint Léger, Het Nieuwe Instituut Rotterdam, and GAMeC Bergamo.

HOUSING is supported by the Municipality of Rotterdam and the Mondriaan Fund.


22.04.23, 16:00-20:00
Exhibition opening