Amsterdam: Swomp4 direct environmental action

Swomp4 direct action in the Rustenburgerstraat in Amsterdam squats piece of land and starts urban regeneration permaculture project.

On Friday July 11th 2008, a group of squatters occupied this piece of land in the Rustenburgerstraat in de Pijp in Amsterdam. Technically they are wild campers, as the law in Holland only allows you to squat a building that has been empty for one year. Within three days they already had running water and had started to plant vegetables and develop an urban permaculture project. This is direct action at its very best. The land was going to waste in the heart of the city, and these guys are trying their utmost to turn the sandy wasteland into a green oasis. This coming Saturday they are planning a permaculture workshop, and I’ll be posting more details on that as soon as they become available. Yesterday it was inspiring talking to them and listening to their plans.

Their heart is in the right place and they care about how we use land in cities, the housing situation in a city that is becoming gentrified, and the environmental issues of the day. Instead of having meetings and making plans, these guys took direct action to do something positive and show the local community what is possible in the field of urban regeneration. So far most of the neighbors have reacted in a positive way. The campers are in a goldfish bowl, and I admire their courage and determination. Some of them are old friends that I have known from protest actions in the past. These are people who stand by you when the going gets tough. So I wish them all the luck in the world and I’ll be back to take more pictures and get more news in the days ahead. Swomp4 is a cool action, for nature, the community, and the future. Website of the collective
E-mail: amsterdam AT groenfront DOT nl

Permaculture workshop on 26th July

Leighton Cooke