Den Haag: City wants to evict De Vloek on January 5th, 2015


Today, July 2 2014, a process-server delivered a letter from the municipality to De Vloek free space. The letter states that we have to vacate the premises before January 5th, 2015. If the city gets its way, then one of the last squatted free spaces in The Hague will disappear.

The city already let us know in a letter that De Vloek has to move aside for a Top Sailing Center. Currently, this sailing center is located in the Nautical Center across from De Vloek. The Nautical Center, which has been built especially for sport sailing, was completed in 2006 but has been mostly vacant for years. Many other building in the area are also vacant. There is certainly enough room for sport sailing. More new construction is simply unnecessary, and our free space will most likely have to disappear to make room for more vacant buildings.

In the past weeks, we have gone twice to city hall to discuss the matter. We did not get much insight into the feasibility of the construction plans. It was also uncertain whether there would be enough interested users of the planned sailing center. After the first discussion, the municipality promised to discuss the planning, but this didn’t happen. A few days after the last discussion, we finally received a summary planning on half of an A4 piece of paper and a letter saying that we have to leave before January 5th, 2015.

Instead of seeing the intrinsic value of De Vloek, it was apparent in our discussion that the city is only interested in the money that the sale of the land will bring in. We believe that the city should focus on what is important to the people of The Hague, and what is good for the city. Besides room for sport sailing, there should also be room for a place such as De Vloek. De Vloek is an important place for thousands of people.

De Vloek wants to remain in its current place and is not planning to give up the fight. De Vloek is a lively and inspiring place that fits perfectly in the harbor. A new sailing center is just the latest prestigious real estate project and doesn’t add much to the area. For years, the city government of The Hague has been trying to turn the harbor of Scheveningen into a paradise for sailors and yuppies. Many businesses such as shipping wharves, which made the harbor what it was, have had to move aside for expensive apartments, office space and a Nautical Center where not a single Scheveninger can feel at home.

Therefore, we will organize different actions in the coming time to save De Vloek. We are calling on everyone to do this as well, and to participate in the actions. The city has been building for too long for the rich elite and doesn’t care about projects that have been realized from the bottom up. Instead of nurturing such initiatives, more and more free spaces are disappearing in The Hague. Fewer spaces for exciting social and cultural meeting places will cause The Hague to become more boring, and creative and active people will be driven out of the city. De Vloek is also one of the last places where people with little money can eat and go out.

De Vloek, where many non-profit initiatives have been able to develop, was squatted 12 years ago and has made its mark on the harbor of Scheveningen. De Vloek is home to the organic vegan restaurant “Water en Brood”, the concert hall “de Piratenbar”, many work spaces, studios, living spaces and rehearsal rooms for bands. Everything that happens in De Vloek has been started and kept running without subsidies, and the building is self managed. Hundreds of people come to activities at De Vloek every week. Alternative spaces such as this one should therefore be preserved.