Den Haag: City takes De Vloek to court. The fight goes on!

Last Friday (5-6-2014), the city of The Hague summoned social center De Vloek to court to expedite the eviction of De Vloek. On July 9th, we have to appear in court for summary proceedings. In this way, the city is also blocking its hollow offer for a replacement location.

On May 27th, the city of The Hague demanded in a letter that we agree to voluntarily depart from De Vloek before July 1st 2015. However, it is in no way apparent that the construction plans are ready for the Top Sailing Center which they want to build in the same location as De Vloek. Our lawyer has made several requests to the city to discuss documents which show that the preparations for the sailing center are in order. The city has repeatedly refused, and our question has also been rejected. Our lawyer has asked for 5 days deferment for the unrealistic response time, but this was also rejected. Thus, we haven’t been able to gain any insight into the actual progress of the plans. The city is purposely trying to build up toward a lawsuit.

De Vloek has signed a contract for a replacement location, but the city has refused to sign
After long negotiations about an alternative location for the initiatives of De Vloek, a users’ agreement was signed with regard to the building at Beatrijsstraat number 12. You would think that the initiatives of De Vloek could have a way to continue. The city is now refusing to sign this agreement. Later on in the negotiation process, the city made an addendum which states that De Vloek has to be vacated before July 1st. As a result of the city’s refusal to give us insight into the progress of the construction plans, we certainly cannot sign this.

The city council was convinced of the inherent value of De Vloek for The Hague, and spoke almost unanimously of an obligation for alderman Joris Wijsmuller (Haagse Stadspartij) to look together with De Vloek for an appropriate replacement.

During the process of months of negotiations, many locations were pulled off the table without any reason being given. Much time has been lost in the process. Now alderman Wijsmuller is using the “offer” of an alternative location as blackmail to evict De Vloek, without giving any proof about the developments in the realisation of the controversial Top Sailing Center. The city has not met its obligation and is only using it as leverage to get De Vloek to go away.

Construction of Top Sailing Center coerced through political cronyism

At the end of May 2014, the municipal government announced that it would like to evict and demolish De Vloek in order to build a Top Sailing Center. Such a center already exists in the same street; namely the Nautical Center. The Nautical Center has remained largely vacant since its completion in 2008 and required 3 million more euros of public funds to stay afloat. The plan for the Top Sailing Center was not pushed through the city council on the basis of arguments, but through political cronyism. The board of alderpersons has tried to quell debate by speaking of an obligation for an alternative location for De Vloek, but this has been used solely to force eviction.

It is once again apparent, also in the process of the development of the Top Sailing Center, that party democracy is a farce, and that prestige projects of alderpersons, project developers, and big money completely dominate the decision making process for the development of the city. De Vloek continues to fight, against urban renewal, against the yuppification of the harbor, and for De Vloek!

De Vloek, Hellingweg 127, 2583 DZ Den Haag, The Netherlands