Home Leaving and Housing Transitions in the Netherlands: Understanding Dependence and Independence between Generations during Early Adulthood

Wednesday, 18 July 2018
Distributed Paper
Oana DRUTA, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands
Richard RONALD, Universiteit van Amsterdam, Netherlands
Using an original dataset of qualitative interviews with young adults and their parents living primarily in and around Amsterdam, this article investigates early adulthood housing transitions and the nature of intergenerational relations during this period. We find that while strong norms regarding early home leaving and young adult independence persist, the conditions of the housing system, and especially Amsterdam’s housing market, prompt significant intergenerational support, financial and in kind, to sustain this ‘independence’. Support for renting and homeownership play into different intergenerational dynamics, with the first being part of a process of easing into adulthood, while the latter solidifies a new set of relationships between fully adult generations supporting one another on equal terms. Despite a growing trend toward individualization in Western European societies, the analysis of housing trajectories of young adults shows that intergenerational dependencies emerge in specific housing markets, requiring creative ways of maintaining the apparent separation of generations. In the case of the Netherlands, these negotiations take form at times in quasi contractual or actually contractual agreements between parents and their young adult children. To conclude, we argue that the nature of housing systems and housing markets have profound influences on how generations of a family negotiate dependence and independence.