Netherlands: No new Anti Squatting Law

New Anti Squatting Law of the agenda

Last week came the answer, from the State Secretary for economic matter, on motion “Ten Hoopen” to prohibit squatting company spaces. According to Van Gennip modification of the legislation is not possible, not necessary and also not desirable. The Anti-squatting law -Kraakverbod- seems with that of the table.

No Kraakverbod for non-residential spaces

Autumn 2003: Jan Ten Hoopen, Christian democrat, proposed anti squatting legislation. A Committee was formed to protest against the plans, a lobby-group was set up and a press offensive started. About 50 squatted non-residential spaces held an open day to show what we would be missing if there was to be an anti-squating law. Many non-squatters were informed and supported the campaign. The squatters managed to display the broader function of squatting in Dutch society, a function beyound that of provideing living spaces for the squatters them selves. The Dutch squatters movement also pointed to the millions of square meters of empty office space available in the Netherlands at this moment.

Through this campaign Ten Hoopen came in the center of the media attention. The squatters managed to show that he did not know what he was talking about. At every debate and in every interview he reduced his credibility.

Green left and the Socialist Party conducted a firm debate and made an atempt to direct the discussion towards the housing need and real estate speculation. The effort was futile and the right majority adopted the motion. Member of Parliament Van As (Lijst Pim Fortuin, named after the politician who was shot a few years ago), himself a broker, proposed a total prohibition on squatting. His motion was withdrawn when it became clear that there was no support for it.

The decision of the state secretary is that there is no possibility and no need for a new legislation. A building which is empty for more than one year can still be squatted. In the letter from the state secretary a number of reasoning has been quoted directly from publications by the committee against the Kraakverbod. On the other hand the State Secretary wants to support land lords with information on how to prevent squatting and how to get squatters out of the building, probably to counter the success of the squatting manuals

The parliament still has to give its opinion on the answer of the State Secretary. There is also a chance that a right wing party wants to continue discussing the subject for publicitary purposes.