Amsterdam housing chief resigns over inappropriate comments

Laurens Ivens. Photo: Amsterdam.nl

Amsterdam Housing Manager Laurens Ivens has resigned with immediate effect following complaints about his inappropriate email communication with female staff dating back to at least 2019.

“I’m very shocked because I really didn’t know about it,” Ivens said in a farewell note to city council. “Looking back, I must conclude that these complaints were correct.”

Nothing has been made public about the nature of the complaints, but Ivens himself said that “the complaints are not about physical contact” but about comments that “cross borders and have been experienced as sexual”.

Ivens was warned by Mayor Femke Halsema after complaints were filed about her “inappropriate communication” with female staff in 2019. Five more complaints were filed in 2020 and 2021, after receiving four more, officials conducted a formal investigation which concluded Ivens had violated the rules of good governance.

While the original complaint was about an email, it’s unclear whether the later ones referred to written or verbal communication.

Ivens, who represents the Socialist Party, has been in charge of the city’s housing strategy since 2014 after spending several years as a city councilor.

In particular, it has helped tighten controls on vacation rental platforms like Airbnb, but has been criticized for not facilitating enough new construction projects. He is also in charge of the city’s waste collection services.

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