MAASTRICHT. A Maastricht housing corporation has agreed to keep a small neighbourhood in the southern city as a ‘Moluccan area’, following local anger over plans to rent a home to a family with a different background.
Last month a house in the Heer neighbourhood was vandalised and sprayed with graffiti stating ‘this is the Moluccan district. Only Moluccans here’ to try to deter officials from placing a Dutch family in the area.
Now housing association Woonpunt has said it will continue to give members of the Moluccan community priority when a house in Heer became available ‘provided they meet the criteria on the composition of their household and income’.
‘We are meeting our agreements,’ a spokesman told broadcaster NOS. ‘This is nothing to do with discrimination. Other population groups do not share Moluccan history.’
The new deal means that single people and couples will also be eligible for the properties, which are big enough for families, and that properties can be passed down the generations.
The area is one of 45 remaining areas settled by Moluccan communities after they were brought to the Netherlands in the wake of the Indonesian independence wars. Many were housed in camps when they first arrived, including the former Nazi transit camp at Westerbork, and in the 1960s were gradually moved to 60 specially earmarked residential districts.
‘We may be four generations on, but a deal is a deal,’ Djehoshua Sahetapy told NOS. He is one of 16 young Moluccans who have been in talks with Woonpunt. ‘We wanted to talk because we want to preserve our cultural heritage,’ he said.
The Heer district is made up of 110 homes, designed in 1961 by architect Frans Dingemans. It is not the first time Moluccan communities have reacted strongly to attempts to house families from other backgrounds in their neighbourhoods. In 2014 a family had to move out of a house in Hoogeveen, Drenthe, when it was sprayed with slogans saying ‘Moluccans only, Moluccan neighbourhood.’
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