When I came to The Netherlands almost six years ago I found an apartment in one of the oldest social housing projects in the city of Amsterdam. Till then I had the idea that social housing was only for people with a very low income, and I had expected the buildings to be in a poor state and condition. Soon, however, I discovered that the Dutch social housing system provided a relatively high living standard for low and middle class households.
I got interested to find out more about the building I was living in. The Planciusstraat project is considered to be the first large scale social housing building within Amsterdam, erected by the Vereeniging ten behoeve der Arbeidersklasse te Amsterdam, to provide decent housing for the working class. The building was renovated by wooncooperatie Ymere in 2006 and is now considered as a monument. What interested me was whether the building had retained its function. Who were the people living in these apartments nowadays? Were they aware of the particularities of the building and their surroundings? I wanted to find out to what degree the social status was reflected in the way people had decorated their house. I approached all the neighbors personally and had a chat with them.
These are pictures some of the inhabitants of the houses have made after my guidance.