Tiny on Texel
Many people dream of living on the isle of Texel. And, living in a Tiny House on Texel, that would be double awesome. It’s possible! In the new neighborhood Buurtskap de Tuunen in Den Burg, there is a lot of space for nature and self-build. There is also space reserved for Tiny Houses, as many as six will be permanently installed. The municipality has made room for a CPO project with Tiny Houses and the first three houses are already there. We visited Saskia Poelman, who is building her own Tiny House in the CPO De Kleine Vos (the little fox).
What a beautiful location for a Tiny House! How did you manage this Saskia?
A lengthy preliminary process in collaboration with the municipality took place before we were able to start building here. You have to have patience if you want something like this, that’s for sure. But the initiative came from the municipality, they have decided to include Tiny Houses in the zoning plan for Buurtskap de Tuunen. De Tuunen is a temporary neighborhood. In twenty years’ time, the municipality expects less demand for housing. All rental properties in the Tuunen are therefore movable and there are no paved paths, so that the land can be returned to nature. But the owner-occupied homes will remain standing permanently.
So you can live here permanently, that’s great. Is the land yours, or do you rent / lease it?
CPO De Kleine Vos perpetually leases the land from the municipality here. We started as a CPO (Collective Private Commissioning), but have now become a VVE (Owners Association). This has to do with the fact that we jointly own part of the land. A civil-law notary has investigated for us how we can legally organize this, and arrived at so-called “flat apartment law”. After the transfer of the land, we therefore switched to a VVE.
Each Tiny House stands on 80 m2 of “private” land, which is registered in the cadastral register. The Tiny Houses have a footprint of 40 m2. The total plot is 1800 m2, so everyone also has 300 m2 of communal land. We therefore have a VVE to properly arrange this joint land.
That must have been quite a puzzle, to properly arrange everything legally. Did you run into other bottlenecks in the realization of your house?
Yes, financing was tricky for me too. I had no money to build with a contractor. Banks are quickly startled by the term Tiny House, I have noticed. At one point, the municipality drew up a letter in which they explain that it concerns full-fledged small houses that comply with the Building Decree and cannot be moved. That helped.
My home also had to be appraised in advance and there too it did not fit within the existing boxes. Fortunately, we found an appraiser who enjoyed a challenge.
The municipality has helped us by taking on the notary fees. All in all, a great deal of experience has been gained, for example how things are arranged by notarial matters. Other municipalities that are interested in a project like this can request this from the municipality of Texel.
You will live here with six households. Do you also have common areas or shared goods?
Albert and Helen have been living here for five weeks now, Pieter for about three weeks. We have jointly bought a small storage room for each Tiny House. These are demountable containers with a wooden casing around it. We first wanted a shared shed with a washing machine, but we decided to let that idea go. I’ve lived on a boat with limited space and off-grid for 16 years. I’m tired of lugging laundry. I finally have an adult house, now I also want my own washing machine!
And right you are. What about the connections to the grids? Do you live here (partly) off-grid?
We have water and electricity here, no gas. The municipality wanted it that way. We actually wanted to have one common power point, but that turned out to be more expensive than each house having its own connection. This has to do with the type of connection, which must be much heavier because much more current passes through it.
You are building your own house, so cool! When do you think you will be ready?
I have a deadline, I canceled my rent at the end of June so it must be habitable by then. I do a lot myself, including things that I have never done before. For example: I poured a concrete floor in the bathroom yesterday. That is hard work! I have a lot of muscle pain. In the winter months I made the house wind and waterproof. On Texel you have a lot of wind and it was quite tough, under a tarp in the cold. My hands were also open all the time. But it is all worth it, I will enjoy living in this wonderful home soon and forget about the struggles.
What a wonderful space you have in your home Saskia! Can you imagine people finding this too small?
There was also a problem with the Building Decree, I discovered an discrepancy in it. For private construction, the ceiling may be 2.20 high. But the doors had to be 2.30 high, which of course is impossible. The municipality couldn’t do much about it, so I asked the Building Regulations Helpdesk for advice. This has resulted in the Building Decree being amended on this point in the next version.
Great job Saskia, you have done important pioneering work for other private Tiny House builders! Thank you for making the effort. And thank you very much for your explanation and tour! We would very much like to re-visit you in the future. Good luck with the construction we wish you lots of joy living in your Tiny House!