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The Novotel hotel in Eindhoven, which initially denied closing its doors to business people and tourists in favor of asylum seekers, appears to play a central role in the reception of refugees.

The municipality of Eindhoven and the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA) have confirmed that the hotel will be fully deployed to accommodate no fewer than 200 asylum seekers. This mededeling came after Omroep Brabant revealed on Sunday that this development had already been initiated, based on an internal email sent to hotel staff on Friday.

In January, the hotel manager of the Novotel emphatically stated that there were no plans to permanently use the hotel to accommodate asylum seekers. At that time, the hotel had been involved in a temporary measure for almost a year, in which approximately fifty asylum seekers found accommodation. However, this temporary nature now appears to be untenable, given the continuous influx of refugees and the acute shortage of reception places throughout the Netherlands.

The announcement that the hotel will soon house 200 asylum seekers affects not only the guests, but also the staff. Some employees lose their jobs, which undoubtedly causes uncertainty and unrest. The municipality of Eindhoven has indicated that it will inform local residents and has convened a press conference to explain the situation. The first new group of asylum seekers is expected as early as next week, which underlines the urgency of the situation.

The shortage of childcare places is a national problem from which Eindhoven cannot escape. The municipality has committed to helping to accommodate people seeking protection. In May 2023, the decision was made to accommodate a total of 900 asylum seekers in the city, spread over several locations. The COA's request to expand the temporary location in the Novotel to 200 people was welcomed by the municipality.

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Novotel Eindhoven
Photo: © Pitane Blue - Novotel Eindhoven

Novotel Hotel at Eindhoven Airport will close at short notice and will become a location where asylum seekers are received. Some of the employees are dismissed. The staff was informed about this last Friday in an email obtained by Omroep Brabant.

It is still unclear how long the Novotel will function as a reception location. This lack of clarity is causing some concern among both local residents and hotel staff. The municipality and COA continue to discuss the further implementation of these plans. In the meantime, the demand for suitable reception locations for asylum seekers continues to grow, and it appears that the Novotel in Eindhoven will remain an important link in the reception chain for the time being.

The arrival of a larger number of asylum seekers may evoke different reactions among the residents of Eindhoven. The municipality has the responsibility has taken it upon itself to properly inform local residents and to remove any concerns. The importance of humane and efficient reception of refugees is emphasized, while at the same time minimizing the impact on the local community.

The transformation of the Novotel in Eindhoven from a hotel for business people and tourists to a reception location for asylum seekers reflects the broader challenges the Netherlands currently faces. The shortage of shelter places requires quick and decisive solutions. The decision of the municipality of Eindhoven and the COA to fully deploy the Novotel for the reception of refugees underlines the urgency and complexity of this problem. How long this situation will last and what the ultimate impact will be remains unclear for the time being.

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