Gypsies and Caravan Dwellers in the Netherlands - Settlements



In the past, almost all caravan dwellers and Dutch Gypsies lived in so-called woonwagenkampen (caravan camps), mostly in immobile caravans. Only in the summer did some of them use a smaller mobile caravan and leave the sites for some time. A minority of Dutch Gypsies also lived in houses. The foreign Gypsies used to live in caravans and tents, but after their legalization they were placed in houses in ten municipalities throughout the country.

After the war the concept of integration gained increasing acceptance among government officials. The opportunity to travel was minimized and the majority of Gypsies and Caravan dwellers found themselves, socially and economically, living on "a dead-end street."

Traveling nowadays has only a symbolic function for them. The option of a caravan is obviously discouraged. Only the children of caravan dwellers can officially get a new permit to live in a caravan. But the reality is that they can find a house in a certain municipality or neighborhood more readily than an official site in a caravan camp. In the long run the goal of the government is sedentary housing. This is best illustrated by its policy toward foreign Gypsies, who were put up in houses from the moment of their legalization in 1978.


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