Whatever they say, squatting will stay. Overview of resistance to the
squatting ban in the Netherlands. Brief history of squatting in the
Netherlands and current legal position as well as updates on actions
that took place from October through November 2010. Text from a flyer
from the Netherlands printed in December 2010, just left the text as
info for those interested in heading to Amsterdam for the action days on
July 2nd to 5th.
Squatting in the Netherlands and the end of legalized squatting(or not?) ….
A brief history
On the 1st of October legalized squatting ended in The Netherlands after two decades.
Squatting has been a long tradition in The Netherlands. The first reports of squatting appeared just after the Second World War. In the eighties squatting became booming and big. Only in Amsterdam squatting was done by more than 20.000 people, including young cops. The squatting movement back in those days was very accepted and the whole society was more or less represented in the ‘movement’. After a couple of years squatting became more militant and there where a lot of connections to the squatting movement in Germany.
The squatting movement became more and more militant. In the nineties, when more liberal and right wing parties became in power, there where huge clashes between the authorities and the squatters. At a certain point the riot police even got defeated and the military needed to stabilize normal daily life in Amsterdam.
The movie “the City was ours” gives a good view on what squatting looked like between the seventies and the nineties. It also shows the internal power struggles that there were in the movement in those times.
1990 ? 2000
After these times of lots of militancy everything became more or less “easy” for squatters. By a miracle in 1994 squatting became legal. It was possible to squat a house which has been empty for more than one year, until the owner proves he has a good reason to evict the squatters, which was done in court.
To show how easy squatting was in the past in The Netherlands we put the movie: ‘Squatting in Holland’ (in English!) on the info CD. See directory: Movies.
From the beginning of this millennium, several liberal and conservative parties tried to ban squatting. After three attempts the parliament finally pushed it’s point through and banned squatting by the votes of a small majority.
Please keep in mind this is a VERY short history. Still this brief history is needed to understand the dynamics of the squatting movement in the present.
The 1st of October and the present:
The new anti-squatting law (in Dutch: de wet kraken en leegstand) came in use on the 1st of October this year. On the 1st of October squatters squatted a house during a demonstration. When the squatters and sympathizers walked to the endpoint of the demonstration, the riot police charged the black bloc at the head of the demonstration in full power.
The black bloc stood their ground and man to man fights happened. In the end there was a huge riot which hasn’t been seen in at least the last 10 years. Streets where pumped full of teargas, burning barricades, injured riot police. On the end one of our own comrades skull got fractured, and there were eleven arrests. The arrested people got in the end a maximum of 80 hours of forced labour.
We included a collection of photos of the demonstration and riots of the 1st of October on the info CD (in the directory: Photos/I” of October), also we included a couple of movies of the riots and the squatting action (in the directory: Movies).
Squatting ban: Veni Vedi Perdidi (It came, It saw, It disappeared)
Apart from the riot, a couple collectives sued the Dutch state. Without going much in to detail of this court-cases. There where two major court cases, both court cases where based on the laws of the European Constitution(article 8). Initially both court cases where lost. One collective went in appeal and just twelve hours before a major eviction in Amsterdam, the higher court judged that the police couldn’t evict without the interference of a judge. This verdict is based on the constitution of Europe!
Since this verdict, no house got evicted on criminal acts. This means on the moment things are quite unsure. The government now declared that it will try to “fix” the law, so that the state can evict squatters. Seeing that governmental decisions usually don’t happen overnight, squatters have at least won some time. The state already declared that it might take up to 6 months, or even a year, to rewrite the anti-squatting law.
But whether the law is going to be rewritten or not, and whether the state is continuing to ban squatting or not, squatters will continue to come in action and fight for people’s basic rights.
This part might be interesting for squatters in Europe outside of The Netherlands:
Since the verdict is based on the Constitution of Europe, it means that it will be possible for squatters in Germany to sue the state and to make squatting a bit possible in Germany on a legal way. At least until a judge decided that the owner proved that the people living in the house are squatters and not renters. On the moment we asked a lawyer to write an analysis about the court possible impact in other countries in Europe.
What can you do in the near future?
First of all we’re going to do an international call out for the 8th and 9th of January of 2011. The Idea is that you do a nice action in solidarity with the Dutch squatters or squatters in general. Some examples are: Squat a house/office, Paint bomb a house owner, do something with the dutch embassy, etcetera … Be creative! Also if you feel like having a holiday in The Netherlands, you’re welcome for our national squatting day’s which is also on 8th and 9th of January 2011.
Also, people are busy organizing a big demo with international call-out in the spring(March or April) of 20 11(was postponed, now July 2nd til 5th to resist Amsterdam eviction wave). More information about this will follow later (e.g. Via the mailing list and on Indymedia) Since a lot of things are still unsure and in development you can subscribe yourself on the international mailing list for squatters. We’ll keep you updated about squatting, call-outs, timelines etcetera:
Mail to this address and you will be subscribed.
The web site http://kraakverbod.squat.net is still under construction, but will be online as soon as possible. This web site will be the platform for international sympathizers and squatters
From the barricades, we greet you!
25 November 2011, Amsterdam
Written by Steff,Rick and others
A timeline of actions in Amsterdam and elsewhere in the Netherlands during the squatting ban
The first day of the squatting ban. Head of the police and a public prosecutor known for his hatred towards squatters are placed under 24-hour surveillance and protection after threatening texts (for example “an accident is just around the corner”) are supposedly painted outside their houses the previous night.
In Amsterdam 1000 people take part in a demonstration against the squatting ban. During the demonstration a house is squatted, and slightly later a riot breaks out when the cops charge the crowd. The police use tear gas for the first time in 8 years. 2 cops, 3 cop horses and several squatters are injured. One squatter is beaten severely and ends up in hospital with a fractured skull.
11 people get arrested.
Around 600 people demonstrate in Nijmegen against the squatting ban. Confrontations with the police. 13 people get arrested.
The house squatted on the 1st of October gets evicted. Massive amounts of riot police, vans and horses present but nobody was found inside the house.
Squatters in Ede bring furniture and thus make a living room in the main entrance of a housing corporation in order to raise awareness of housing shortage in the area.
A former hospital squatted two weeks earlier is evicted in Bloemendaal. The cops state they evict the building based on the new law making squatting illegal.
In Amsterdam a large office building inhabited only by a few anti-squatters is attacked. Windows of rooms where nobody lives in, and that have posters of the anti-squat agency on them, are thrown in.
Five of the eleven people arrested during the riot on the 1st of October are trialled. Four of them get sentenced for public violence. The sentences range from 40 to 80 hours of community service.
The inhabitants of two squats take the state to court, challenging evictions under the squatting ban. They argue that evicting under the new law is not in accordance with the European Treaty for Human Rights. The verdict is delivered a few days later; the squatters lose the case.
A squat in Tilburg is evicted because the owner, the city of Tilburg, wants to place anti-squatters in the building. The occupants are given half an hour to remove their belongings from the house.
A building is squatted in Zaandam.
A huge office building is squatted in Utrecht.
A small house is squatted in Amsterdam to celebrate the one month anniversary of the squatting ban.
The day-old squat in Utrecht gets evicted. 17 people are arrested in a brutal manner. Two of them refuse to tell the police their identities and will have to wait for their court case, which will take place in the end of November, in jail.
During the night the office of the housing corporation that owns the building gets paint bombed. Several windows are also smashed.
November 3rd ,
The city of Amsterdam announces the list of houses to be evicted in the first “eviction wave” since the new law. According to the calculations over 100 people would become homeless in one day. The city decides to evict even the houses that have a pending court case to challenge the eviction. The squatters start a fast court procedure.
Police station in Amsterdam West gets attacked with molotovs. Unfortunately the station doesn’t catch fire.
A terrain is squatted in Den Haag. The terrain had been standing empty.for seven years, ever since the demolition of a house that was squatted for 2.3· years. 12 buses of riot police show up and order the occupiers to leave, which they in the’ end do.
Approximately 300 people demonstrate in The Hague against the squatting ban and against housing shortage. The march is forced to start earlier than planned after city and the police announce that demonstrating is not allowed after five o’clock in the afternoon. One person gets arrested on suspicion of sedition, refuses to tell the police his identity and will have to wait in jail for his court case that takes place in mid-November.
Verdict from a higher court in The Hague states that evicting houses solely under the new squatting ban is illegal. Most houses planned to be evicted the following day get off the eviction list.
700 people demonstrate in Amsterdam for cultural free spaces.
During the night the office of the political party PvdA, which the current mayor is a member of, gets attacked. Paint bombs are thrown, windows smashed and wooden pallets piled against the door are set on fire.
Eviction wave in Amsterdam. Two big blocks of houses get evicted; both had lost a civil court case before the squatting ban. Five people are arrested.
During the evictions a quick noise demo takes place inside the city hall. Squatters run around the building chanting slogans, throwing fireworks and making noise.
During the night four anti-squat agencies get attacked. Windows are smashed and paint bombs thrown. A letter is left-behind: “This is the first course. Are you ready for the whole menu? Do not put anti-squatters in evicted houses. Squatting goes on!”
Windows of Rabobank get smashed as a symbolic action against the evictions.
A huge banner is hung on scaffolding in the centre of Amsterdam to advertise a demonstration on the following day.
Demonstration with the slogan “space for everyone – against the deconstruction policy” gathers around 200 people: squatters, renters and neighbourhood activists.
In reaction to the verdict of the higher court on the 8th of November, the Het Openbaar Ministerie, The Public Prosecution Service, announces that it will try to patch up the holes in the hastily prepared squatting ban. Until there is a new policy for evictions, no squats will be evicted, they say.
A house is squatted in Utrecht, from the same owner as the previously evicted house.
A former office of the city district of Amsterdam South, where an anti-squatter now lives, gets paint bombed.
The squatter that was kept in custody and suspicion of sedition has been sentenced to 25 davs in jail, the maximum penalty
First court case against squatters based on the new squatting law will take place (did not yet take place when writing this).