Amsterdam’s housing market is dominated by the social-rented sector. It comprises 56 per cent of the total housing stock, while home ownership comprises only
19 per cent, lower than anywhere else in the Netherlands, and among the lowest in the world. Central government policy is currently seeking to increase the share of home
ownership in the Netherlands from 53 per cent (2001) to 65 per cent in 2010. This paper will summarise recent national and local (Amsterdam) housing policy developments, focusing on the recent practice of selling social housing in Amsterdam. Unlike the Right to Buy scheme in Britain, the Netherlands employs an ‘offer to buy’ strategy. Sales, however, have been disappointing so far. Two factors were found to be crucial in this regard: (1) the sluggish change in ‘policy mentality’ and bureaucracy and (2) the high
prices in the home ownership market. By way of conclusion, the paper reflects on the desirability of shifting the tenure structure from tenancy to ownership and on the risks
that an (over-) emphasis on home ownership may bring.