Skip to content

Buying a piece of land from the municipality

Land is scarce. This is well known now. And the quantity of land is not increasing; yet plots of land are regularly offered for sale. And municipalities in the Netherlands play an important role in the development and sale of land. In this article, we consider how buying a piece of land from the municipality works.

The role of the government

The government is responsible for land policy. This policy is a tool for the government to develop a particular area in a desired manner. It is a partnership between the central government, provinces and municipalities. For instance, a municipality may decide to build a new residential area. This requires land. In the past, municipalities have bought up large tracts of land around the municipal boundaries. These areas are now used for land development. In addition, municipalities or property developers regularly buy new pieces of land themselves. Subsequently, the municipality is authorised to change the zoning of land. In most cases, agricultural land then turns into building land.

After that, such an area can be developed further. Preparations for construction will start with the laying of roads, sewerage and necessary utilities. There is obviously a lot of interest in new building land. Many future homeowners want to buy a piece of land from the municipality.
However, the sale of land by the municipality is not straight forward. A recent Supreme Court ruling is causing some changes in the game of supply and demand.

Anyone can buy a piece of land from the municipality

In the Netherlands, everyone is basically allowed to decide to whom they sell something. This is one of the important principles of a free market. But when it comes to selling land, there is not really a completely free market, according to the courts. As mentioned earlier, municipalities fulfil a very important role because of the right to change zoning plans.

The Supreme Court ruled in 2021 that municipalities can no longer unilaterally sell a piece of land to one party. As soon as there are (or may be) several interested parties, the municipality must provide an opportunity for everyone to compete on equal terms for the purchase. This represents a fundamental change in the way land allocation by municipalities comes about.

This seems to have made it easier for individuals to obtain a suitable building plot. After all, anyone can now buy a plot from the municipality.
Municipalities are now required to announce in advance the criteria forming the basis for the selection of buyers. Governments more often opt for public sales procedures. And this means that the selling process can be fairer than was the case in the past.

You can check whether your municipality is currently offering building plots for sale on its website. The approach may differ from one municipality to another. For instance, the municipality of Zwolle offers the plots directly, The Hague chooses to have a market party supervise the sale and the province of Groningen sells a plot in Lutjegast via Funda. Although the approach differs, at least the offer is now public and visible to everyone.

Investing directly in a plot of land is of course also possible. Contact one of our advisers about this.

Those who own the land, have the power!

Also view these articles

Request your information brochure now.

Via Milanium you invest in strategically located land. You anticipate the gigantic housing shortage in the Netherlands.

milanium logo

* Your contact details are only used for contact regarding offers by Milanium.

For more information, see the  Privacy policy