Amsterdam: The new squat ‘eFFi’


Amsterdam has a new squat in the West.

Since the 18th of January 2014, the ground floor apartment of the Van Effenstraat 2, located in the Kinkerbuurt, is squatted. It hosts from this day on the house project group ‘eFFi’ which is doing renovations and makes it livable again; under the slogan “Better to renovate through squatting than to destroy through ownership.” The apartment as well as most of the building blocks around were supposed for social rent since their construction around 1900 under the ‘social’ housing cooperation Rochdale. The ownership and therefore the responsibility for maintaining these houses lie still by Rochdale, which however is defining these quite different and lets its properties empty and rotting.

A more elaborated and informative article about Rochdale and the Kinkerbuurt will follow in the next days.
For now, we offer our neighborhood letter:

Dear neighbors,

Today, the 18th of January, we have squatted the ground floor apartment of the Van Effenstraat 2. We are a small group of young activists who are in need of a new home since we had to leave our former house.

Van Effenstraat 2 is owned by Rochdale. The apartment, which was in use as a storage room for construction workers, has been empty since the constructions of Rochdale on the other side of Van Effenstraat and in the Bellamystraat ended. It was neither offered for sale nor has Rochdale done any efforts to change the fact of emptiness. Van Effenstraat 2 would still have been empty in the future.

Should we have the apartment unsquatted? We say ‘No!’, because we want to point out the nonsense of the current housing situation in Amsterdam and the contradictions of having a lot of people searching for affordable accommodations, while a social housing cooperation like Rochdale is letting its property empty or doesn’t take care of it at all.

Unfortunately we are facing here in Amsterdam more and more lofts and fancy apartments which can not be afforded anymore especially by young and old people or people and families with low income. In this way we take a firm stand against the procedures of gentrification which cause the increasing of rents into absurd highs, the banishment of people into the outskirts of the city, and the destruction of social relationships within the neighborhood.

We believe that that the decision how, where, and with whom we want to live shall not be a privilege of the upper class or be depended on the size of the wallet.
We deny the logic of capitalism which promises, that we just have to work hard enough to gain a good life.
We refuse to pay high rent to become stuck in a lifestyle we don’t want to live, because we want to build on relationships and a life which are not based on money.

Therefore we, as your new neighbors, want to offer you our support, if you need helping hands, for example for moving stuff, repairing your bike, fixing something in your house, etc. or simply helping you out with a cup of sugar. Please, feel invited to have a talk or to drink coffee/tea with us.

Best wishes!

House group ‘eFFi’

Published on Indymedia