Startblok - a social living project for integration


Startblok - a social living project for integration

Mismatches Cultural suitability Vulnerable groups
Policies and regulations Governance
Promotion and production Self-management

Main objectives of the project

Startblok is a housing project for young refugees who have recently received their residence permit (status-holders) and for young persons from the Netherlands. Pursuing a diverse community, a self-management governance and an affordability scheme opens the door to an innovative integration project in Amsterdam. A former sports-grounds next to the A10 highway in Amsterdam New West has been transformed into this pioneer housing project, aiming for a better understanding of social housing, mixture and community.


  • 2015: Construction


  • Promotor: Key
  • Constructor: Municipality of Amsterdam


Continent: Europe
City: Amsterdam
Country/Region: Amsterdam, Netherlands


Startblok Riekerhaven is a collaborative housing initiative established by de Key in partnership with the municipality of Amsterdam and Socius Wonen. On July 1, 2016, the inaugural residents received keys to their new homes at Startblok Riekerhaven. Since its inception, fostering a sense of community has been paramount within this project. Residents are empowered to manage their own living spaces, with every aspect of Startblok designed to encourage effort and initiative from its inhabitants. Comprising 405 living spaces across 22 corridors, most of which feature communal living rooms, Startblok caters to young refugees with permanent residence permits as well as other Dutch youth, facilitating integration and interaction among them. Applicants must be between 18 and 27 years old, with all status holders engaged in language courses and either internships or vocational training, alongside access to on-site psychological services.

Of the more than 400 living spaces, 303 are private studios equipped with individual facilities, while 102 are private rooms within apartments with shared amenities. Studios, averaging 23m2, boast personal kitchens and bathrooms and are clustered with 16 to 31 other residents, fostering socialization in communal areas. Meanwhile, the apartments include 42 units for two persons and six for three persons, with private bedrooms spanning approximately 12m2 or 14m2 and shared living rooms around 25m2. Rent prices, ranging from 350 to 430 Euros per month, significantly undercut the Amsterdam average.

Outdoor facilities at Startblok encompass sports fields and a clubhouse, with residents actively involved in creating BBQ areas, a swimming pool, and tending to vegetable gardens. Additionally, communal spaces are designed to facilitate socializing and organizing activities, with residents able to seek budgetary and organizational support from the Startblok Actief! foundation, managed by residents themselves.

Central to Startblok's ethos is its self-management governance model. Each corridor is overseen by one or two Hallway Managers responsible for maintaining communal areas and organizing activities, serving as the primary point of contact for residents in need. Five Social Managers ensure active engagement among residents and uphold standards of hygiene, safety, and livability. A general management team, composed of residents, handles accountability and day-to-day operations.