This afternoon a building was squatted at Singel 356 in Amsterdam. The canal house, which has monument status, was last sold in 2014 to a British hedge fund banker based in Switzerland. Prior to the sale, the building was uninhabited for a number of years, with planning permits denied, and only minor works carried out by a now bankrupt construction firm. Since acquiring the property in 2014, the current owner has continued the trend of his predecessor: leaving the building vacant.
Like the majority of these typical Amsterdam canal houses, the property has been deemed monumental. Generally, this status is given to structures and buildings of significance in particular to preserve an area’s historic architectural value. Future plans for this property remain unclear, and we strongly believe that unique, significant monumental buildings such as this should not be left empty to deteriorate over time – particularly when the reasons behind this likely involve some means of speculation. As a group we intend to look after this property, which its current wealthy owner appears to be unconcerned with.
The continuing housing crisis in Amsterdam shows no sign of improvement anytime soon. The accommodation shortage we are witnessing is driven by surging prices in both real estate and rental accommodation. At the same time, increasing numbers of social housing properties are being switched into the free sector or even sold, with very few being added to the social sector. Understandably, waiting lists for social housing have ballooned in recent years – 15-20 years on average across the city. [Read More]