Only people of Dutch origin allowed to rent an apartment

As we all know, the Netherlands is THE MOST TOLERANT COUNTRY IN THE WORLD. In spite of this, it does appear that in some situations that if you’re not of Dutch origin, that this could be a disadvantage in some circumstances.

Some time ago I wrote about the experiment carried out by Nederland undercover, where they had a group of identically dressed Dutch natives, Dutch Moroccans and Dutch black guys trying to get into nightclubs in different parts of the Netherlands. The results showed that if you’re not of a Dutch origin in Breda, that there’s more chance of getting a Dutch guy to pay the entire bill on a first date than getting into a nightclub.

For today’s post, we return once more to South Holland and another story of Dutch tolerance in action.

The things I do for my readers!

The Dutch origin requirement fairytale

Once upon a time somewhere in South Holland, there was a Dutch-Moroccan couple who were looking for an apartment to rent. Sadly, real estate agents are as essential as a packet of condoms on a Tinder date. There’s no avoiding them when looking for a rental apartment. (Estate agents not condoms).

Dutch directness overload

The couple approached a real estate agent about an apartment advertised on their site and received the following typically Dutch direct response.

Good afternoon Sir and Madame,

The owner of the apartment has stipulated that he will only rent to people of Dutch origin.

I’m frightfully sorry to have to tell you this.

Yours Sincerely


only people of Dutch origin required

Dutch directness

No discrimination here, move along!

As you can imagine, the Dutch-Moroccan couple were not amused to receive such a response in 2017 in what is after all supposed to be the most tolerant country in the known universe. They quite rightly shared the response on social media complaining about being discriminated against.

After the uproar on social media, the real estate agents involved issued the following statement which really made things much better.

“The formulation of the email was unfortunate and wasn’t meant to come across that way. The owner had bad experiences in the past with worker migrants from the Eastern Bloc, who left without paying the rent and can’t be traced. As a result of this they would rather have a Dutch family, in the broadest possible sense of the word. So also Dutch-Moroccans, Morrocan-Dutch or however you want to call it.”

NOS and other Dutch social media sites were full of supportive comments for the apartment owner.  The Moroccan-Dutch family were, in fact, to blame for this situation, for being Moroccan.

Here are some comments from the Facebook page of the Dutch public broadcaster NOS about this story.

As a house owner, you have the right to decide who you want to rent to, that has got nothing to do with discrimination, it’s more about what you want to read into it.


He’s in the right, it’s his property.


A Moroccan wouldn’t rent out his house to a Dutch person. Or am I wrong and there are people here that would rent their house out to a Dutch person?

Niets aan de hand

I agree with those posters. There’s never any discrimination involved in such situations at all, only misunderstandings. Such as in the following case of the real estate agent who stated that non-western cooking wasn’t allowed in a rental apartment in Amsterdam

Whenever situations like this occur the ‘get out of jail free card’ for the people responsible is always this lovely Dutch phrase. “Het was niet zo bedoeld”. Which means, “It wasn’t meant like that”. It’s the perfect response for business owners accused of discriminating in one way or another. “Het was niet zo bedoeld, now bugger off and leave me alone and stop choosing to be offended”.

Dutch couple arguing

Yes I asked to have sex with your best friend maar, het was niet zo bedoeld

Pride Prejudice and remorse

The owner and real estate agent are apologetic (about being shamed on social media) and have offered the Dutch-Moroccan couple the option of having the apartment if it becomes available or helping them find somewhere else. So there you go problem solved and all is well in the Dutch Kingdom.  Now, where’s my bitterballen?

No migrant workers from Eastern Europe were hurt during the writing of this post.

Until next time, sing along with me “Ebony and ivory live together in perfect harmony”.