Shipping family’s fund buys 100 homes for refugees in Rotterdam

Photo: Peter de Ruiter/ UNHCR Brussel
Photo: Peter de Ruiter/ UNHCR Brussel

One of the Netherlands’ wealthiest families is investing €10 million in accommodating Syrian asylum seekers in Rotterdam, the Volkskrant reports.

Stichting Nieuw Huis Rotterdam (SNHR) has bought 100 homes in the city to support the council’s aim of finding homes for 906 people who have been granted refugee status in the first half of the year.

The organisation will invest the income it receives in rent in language classes and support with integration and finding work. It will work in combination with the municipality, refugee agency Vluchtelingenwerk and the accommodation service COA. The exclusive focus on Syrian families will allow it to tailor its services more effectively.

Van der Vorm family

SNHR has been set up by De Verre Bergen, a philanthropic organisation owned by the Van der Vorm family, which owns investments and property at Rotterdam docks. The houses, which have an average value of €100,000, were bought from private owners and had been on the market for at least six months.

‘We try to get involved in the major social problems facing Rotterdam, and that includes the refugee problem,’ said director Roelof Prins.

The Van der Vorm family owns HAL Holding, which was set up in 1989 using the proceeds of the sale of the Holland-America shipping line for 1.2 billion guilders (€544 million). De Verre Bergen was established in 2011 with the stated aim of working for ‘a better and stronger Rotterdam’.

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