Are container homes the solution for housing shortage in the Netherlands?

That there is a huge housing shortage will be nothing new to you. This is why all kinds of alternatives to big houses are being invented. The container house is one of them. Now you may be thinking, isn’t that one of those rusted square bins used for transport? It is indeed an advantage that container houses are easy to transport, durable and cheap to build. On top of that they can also be completely customised and decorated.

What is a container home?

A container home is a home consisting of one or more shipping containers. These containers are made to transport goods on a boat. They protect the contents in all weathers and for this reason, they are perfect as a base for a house.


Because it is cheaper to melt down a container than to return it, they can usually be bought at very low prices. A standard 40ft shipping container (2.5 by 12 metres) costs on average between €1000 and €3000. You will still need to isolate and furnish these, which will still cost you between €10,000 and €15,000 on average. You can put as many together to make a house as you like, and the costs will rise with the size of the house. All in all, building a house with sea containers costs about 30-40% less than traditional construction.

Should you prefer to rent such a sea container, this also makes a difference in price. On average, this costs between €300 and €350 per month. Especially for students with a lower budget, this is very interesting, saves you some study debt after all!

How do you build a container house?

Because shipping containers have standard dimensions, you can easily stack them like Lego blocks. You can also link them together. So you can build your house completely the way you want it. Even if you need more space later, you can easily add another container. Around 95% of the construction of a container house takes place in a workshop, which saves a lot of transport and time. A shipping container house can be ready in just a few weeks. So bye long wait and hello dream home!


As with other houses, you cannot just put your container house anywhere. You have to apply for a special permit from the municipality for this; they check that it poses no risks and fits in with the surroundings. This is called an environmental permit (this was first called a building permit). An advantage of a container house is that they are moveable, so should you want a holiday home but can’t decide in which place, it could be a good solution. Which dreamy spot do you see yourself in?

How sustainable is a container home?

Apart from all the other advantages mentioned above, a container house is also a sustainable option. This is because it is a residual product which gets a new life as a home. It is also a home with a long life cycle. The steel structure is meant to last a long time, in transport they can protect their cargo for 10 to 15 years while transporting it by sea. But even when a container is written off for official transport, they are still often used on ships for their own storage. If you use a container as a home and maintain it properly, it can last up to 50 years!

So all in all, a container home is a very good replacement for a traditional home. Let your creative brain go wild and come up with your own lego construction!

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