Once heralded by both liberals and socialists as a tool for Dutch municipal governments to prevent land speculation and to implement spatial policies, a century later the Dutch ground lease (erfpacht) is now despised by many. The ground lease, especially the urban ground lease used by Dutch municipalities, was the subject of strong debate in the recent past and is likely to remain so. It has been argued that lessees should have the right to become owner of the land, and this ‘right to buy’ has indeed been implemented in the land policies of several municipalities. In this paper we will discuss the question if the urban ground lease is outdated or if it is still a valuable tool for land policy. The recent policy changes will be dealt with, with a focus on the recent changes in Amsterdam. This will be followed by an assessment.
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