28 Jun, 2024 @ 14:00
2 mins read

EXCLUSIVE: Enterprising Dutchman proposes to tackle Spain’s housing crisis in the Balearics by offering social housing on cruise ships

A DUTCHMAN is spearheading an innovative proposal to tackle Ibiza’s housing crisis head on.

Retired business coach Hans van de Rakt, 64, wants to dock a small cruise ship in one of Ibiza’s ports to provide social housing.

The ambitious project, dubbed Social Housing Boat, is in its early stages and will need to find investors to kick start it. There are also a litany of regulatory hurdles that will need to be overcome. 

But Van de Rakt is motivated by his concern for the islands’ key workers, such as police officers and hospital staff, who find themselves living in their cars or even sleeping in caves. 

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Hans van de Rakt, 64, has been living in a camp site due to the Balearic’s housing crisis

“The situation in the Balearics is really bad now – people are being forced to stay in tents or caravans, or crowd a dozen people into one apartment,” van de Rakt told the Olive Press.

“People are really angry and it’s all that everyone talks about these days.

“It’s been going on for years and the politicians are not proposing any solutions whatsoever.”

Van de Rakt moved to Ibiza from Holland four years ago for love and also fell in love with the island, saying: “There is a special vibe and energy, I feel very at home here on these islands.”

But after just one month his new partner told him ‘it was not going to work.’

“And then I saw I was out on the streets. I was looking for a house, and I couldn’t find an affordable one.”

READ MORE: A tale of two housing markets: Malaga’s booming property construction comes as the province sees hundreds of thousands of homes standing empty

Ven de Rakt proposes to offer social housing in a small cruise ship (this photo is just an illustration) that would be docked in a harbour in Ibiza

A recent report from Idealista showed that rental prices in the Balearics have shot up by 18% in the last year – but in some parts of Ibiza the figure reaches a staggering 50%.

For the past four years, van de Rakt has been making do in a caravan at a campsite in Cala Nova on the east of the island.

“I’m 64, so a decent house with running water and that kind of stuff – that would be great.

“I saw one of these cruise ships in a harbour, and I thought, why not use one of these boats? Rent out the cabins. 

“It would be a very quick, fast, efficient solution for so many people who are struggling now. 

“And that’s how this story actually all started.”

Van de Rakt told this newspaper that even at such an early stage he has 80 people signed up.

The non-profit plan would call for a self-contained ship of 300 cabins that would provide housing at cost prices – ideally with government subsidies. 

READ MORE: Nearly a thousand tenants in Spain go on ‘rent strike’ against what they claim are abusive clauses from their ‘vulture fund’ landlord

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A recent report from Idealista showed that rental prices in the Balearics have shot up by 18% in the last year – but in some parts of Ibiza the figure reaches a staggering 50%

At the moment the non-profit project is in the start-up phase, trying to secure seed funding and the appropriate permits from the local authority.

However, the local government has not entirely embraced the idea as van de Rakt would have hoped.

Objections have been raised over logical issues such as the size of the ship, waste management, electricity supply and other infrastructure issues.

But Van de Rakt described them all as ‘solvable if the politicians are willing to collaborate’.

“I’m not doing this for money,” he added. “My social heart is bleeding, that’s my motivation. Nothing else – nothing.”

Walter Finch

Walter - or Walt to most people - is a former and sometimes still photographer and filmmaker who likes to dig under the surface.
A NCTJ-trained journalist, he came to the Costa del Sol - Gibraltar hotspot from the Daily Mail in 2022 to report on organised crime, corruption, financial fraud and a little bit of whatever is going on.
Got a story? walter@theolivepress.es

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