One of Leiden’s many wall poems. Photo:

Leiden, the big issues: housing, integration and jobs

We asked the main political parties in Leiden to answer three questions, based on the issues which readers said were most important to them in our recent poll: ensuring enough affordable housing, stimulating integration and creating jobs. These are the answers so far:

Partij voor de Dieren, Leiden
1 Affordable housing is an important issue for a lot of people, for both the international community and native Leidenaren alike. However, Leiden is very densely populated already and public space is very limited. Building additional houses will reduce the quality of life for human and animal residents. Therefore, the Party for the Animals is not prepared to sacrifice green spaces for building new homes. We propose regaining space by reducing the size of parking lots and by transforming roads into new lands for housing. In addition, we aim to deal with vacant office buildings more efficient, and explore how we can adapt those empty building to make them suitable for sustainable and affordable housing.

2 There are four important key principles underlying the activities of the Party for the Animals: sustainability, empathy, personal freedom and personal responsibility. Empathy motivates us to reach out to all who are new to our beautiful city and provide them with sufficient information and guidance to find their way in Leiden. We also expect new people to take responsibility and actively look for the support the need.

3 We don’t believe that we need more companies in Leiden. We need other companies in Leiden. We need companies that can contribute to transforming Leiden into a sustainable city. Therefore, we propose to develop an innovative recruitment policy for sustainable companies. On the other hand: companies that do not contribute to sustainable urban development, are encouraged to go elsewhere.

PvdA Leiden
1 We will have to build many houses in the coming years – affordable houses, at logical places such as near the station. These homes could be high rise but not in our beautiful inner city and not in Leiden’s parks. They need to stay green. In addition we want the city authority to do more to check up on bad landlords and unsafe, or too expensive housing. Leiden should not become a city for the rich. It needs to remain an open and tolerant city where everyone feels at home.

2 We want to further expand our expat centre and make it the one and only place where immigrants and expats need to go to sort out everything. Think about practical matters such as schooling and a family doctor but also to deal with questions about where to go out and how public transport works. We also want to continue with the current intensive programme for refugees, in which they get to know our city and start learning Dutch over a six month period. The university, for example, offers courses for expats. There should also be enough housing for expats.

3 Leiden is a real centre of knowledge, thanks to its international university and bioscience park. Over the coming years, the PvdA wants to continue investing in attracting foreign firms to Leiden. For that we need the facilities – such as international schools and childcare. We also want to host more international events and activities in our inner city.