Utrecht (NL): Prinsesselaan threatened with eviction

In 2007 the former site of Wijkpost East, Prinsesselaan 20 in Utrecht was squatted. Since that time, there has been a unique live / work / care project for Utrecht, namely the Prinsesselaan. A living / residential care area where support, guidance and 24-hour care is given, along with a place where bicycles are recycled and workshops are given. We also have a neighbourhood garden.

With the living / care area, people with various problems were able to gain their place in society again. This can consist of your way in applying for care, work, or a benefit. We also help in finding temporary shelter from which to move on to a regular place to live. In this way we have helped several homeless people find a place to live in another squat or in a regular home. Also we put people in a treatment program, in order to work on their (addiction) problems.

The work area and especially the bicycle recycling, is a place where people meet and learn to create their own bike and maintain it. We give workshops, support in bike maintenance, and we build unique items (tall bikes, cruisers and whatever else we think of). We lend out folding bikes and bakfiets (a transport bike). We also offer people daily activities, in order to return to a “normal” daily routine and thus to look for a regular job. For the bikes that are put back into use, we only ask for a donation. In this way, people, with little or no money, are still able to get a good bicycle. A bike contributes to the mobility of people, so they can maintain their social network, find a job more easily or take their children on a good bike to school.


This unique place is now under threat!

Since 2004, St. Barbara, the cemetery located behind the Prinsesselaan, wants to make this place into a parking lot. This means that this piece of common land after the sale is private property – something there is little support for in Utrecht. There is no basis for the alleged traffic dangers and the adjacent neighbourhood Emmalaan views any parking place as unnecessary.

St Barbara has additional land outside the fence on the side of the Stolberglaan, but the residents of this neighbourhood have always expressed great resistance to the construction of a private car park during the consultation. Just as the neighbourhood around the Prinsesselaan, would rather keep the piece of green and not have an unnecessary private parking lot with all its consequences.

The neighbourhood supported the squatting of the site – the nearby Highland Park is a well-known place of prostitution and before the squatting of the Prinsesselaan the site was used for ‘encounters’ and drug trafficking. The proposed car park will be used only occasionally and will not much more than an empty area with a barrier closing it off.

Meanwhile the council and St. Barbara have made a bargain, and want to trade plots of land. There will need to be less justification since there is no loss of land, it is simply ‘moved’. In this way, the council is no longer accountable to its constituents about the construction, but not indeed to the users / residents of the Prinsesselaan.

As early as 2010 the then councillor Harry Bosch stressed that the Prinsesselaan could make an application for legalization. At the nd of 2011, the live / work / care project has already been threatened by the same plan. An eviction was then avoided, when the councillor expressed the wish to first have an investigation take place.

Translated from https://www.indymedia.nl/node/25615