Riots in Amsterdam this week, as the police evicted several squatted buildings in the centre of the city. Squatting in Holland used to be legal for years until 2011, when a new law banned the Amsterdam squats.
History of squatting in Amsterdam
Squatting in the Netherlands became big in the 80s, when a serious lack of housing caused young people to move into abandoned buildings.
Squatting in Holland soon turned into a political ‘movement’.
This Amsterdam squatters movement (‘Amsterdamse krakersbeweging’) turned militant and clashes between the squatters and the riot police became a regular sight.
The squatters war ended in the 90s, when the Dutch government legalised squatting in 1994.
The new law stated that people are entitled to live in buildings if they had been empty for at least one year. The owner of the building could evict the squatters only in court and by good reason.
For almost 15 years the squatters movement in Amsterdam flourished, setting up artist workplaces, stages for performing artists and organising alternative events.
Squatting in Amsterdam banned
Until last year. On October 1st 2010 the new law ‘Kraken en Leegstand’ came into existence. Some of the squatter collectives turned to the court to secure their rights. The judge decided that no house can be evicted without interference of a judge.
On Tuesday July 5th, the police evicted Schijnheilig, a squat in the centre of Amsterdam at Passeerdersgracht 23, after the judge gave its okay. The former school building had been squatted since January 2010. The building had been set up by the squatters with a stage, exposition room and a debate-film room. During the eviction 150 people were arrested.
Famous Squats in Amsterdam
Many squats in the centre have been there for years. The old film academy of OT301 for example started as a squat on Overtoom 301. Now it is owned by the squatters and turned into an alternative cultural centre with as stage for music and film, a vegan restaurant and artists workspace.
The huge building of Vrankrijk on Spuistraat has been squatted since 1982. In 1992 part of the building was bought by the squatters.
Vrankrijk was most famous for its political views, debating globalisation, capitalism, animal rights, anarchism and feminism.
Bands from the punk, ska and alternative scene played in the bar downstairs.
When a visitor to the bar was heavily beaten up by one of the residents in 2009 and the bar seemed to lack updated license, the bar was closed.
The Amsterdam squatters have announced that they will continue to squat empty buildings (‘Kraken gaat door‘ or as the new saying goes: Kraken draait door‘).