The number of young asylum seekers without parents at the Ter Apel registration centre in Groningen topped 350 earlier this week, almost seven times the number the location is equipped to deal with, settlement agency COA said.
Formally, just 55 unaccompanied minors should be put up at Ter Apel, in a separate part of the camp with extra security.
A number of youngsters were transferred to adult accommodation because of the lack of space, COA said. “We are looking at every available option to find a place for these children,” the agency told broadcaster NOS.
In total, 1,852 unaccompanied minors registered at Ter Apel in the first six months of this year, some 700 more than in the same period of 2022, when coronavirus travel restrictions were still partly in place.
Meanwhile MPs are due to vote later this month on legislation which will ensure all 355 local authorities provide housing for their fair share of refugees.
The measure is opposed by the ruling VVD but according to the latest calculations, is likely to get a majority in the lower house of parliament.
Research published by RTL Nieuws a year ago showed that more than half of Dutch local councils have not provided any housing for refugees in the past 10 years. Richer council areas and Bible belt towns and villages are far less likely to have housed a refugee centre.
The COA is currently providing accommodation for nearly 57,000 refugees, of whom 16,000 have official residency permits but cannot move into regular housing because of the nationwide shortage of homes.
Of the total, 26,000 are living in temporary housing, including converted sports halls, army barracks and marquees.