Rotterdam (NL): Resistance

In Crooswijk, a district of Rotterdam, a housing corporation (Woonstad Rotterdam) is carrying out wholesale destruction of social housing. They have already demolished a large part of the neighbourhood, and then found that they had no money to rebuild homes, so now half the district is reduced to a huge expanse of sand.

Because the city doesn’t permit Woonstad to demolish it wants to sell homes and refurbish them for private rent. A large part of the district was then stripped of regular tenants, after which it was inhabited mostly by anti-squatters, temporary tenants, legalized squatters and of course dozens of squatters, including myself.
From February this year, eviction letters were sent out, with a date that got moved with each successive letter. The last letter received by this house squatted three years ago was from a law firm indicating that if the house was not left before 31 May, then a courtcase would begin. The courtcase has still not begun, so the house is logically still occupied.

On June 17, there appeared to be a leak in the apartment above this squat. The main valve is in the squatted ground dwelling. The local cop (Sander Boer), together with Niels van Ham, assistant Woonstad, broke open the front door. They closed the main valve, walked through all the rooms in the house and took away the note on the door saying the house was occupied. Then there were new locks installed on the door, meaning the residents no longer had access to the house or their belongings. The squatters have since placed another lock, so that Woonstad could also no longer have access without destroying the new lock. On the door was a note from the cop that the new key could be retrieved from Woonstad. But Woonstad refused to do this, however, and Niels van Ham did not come to the phone. The residents left three callback requests to which he has not responded.

Only on Tuesday, June 30th, did he call one of the residents, after a neighbour had spoken to him. On July 2, the squatters could come by their house to make it empty according to Niels van Ham. They have then been in and have pictures of the situation and hung a note on the door that the house is occupied and that there is domestic peace (husivrede). They still had the lock on the door, and Niels van Ham then put up a steel door, which sits across the front door. With this, he again denied access to the house and property! So he proves to the squatters, who have already sought advice from a lawyer, that he is guilty of trespassing, vandalism and embezzlement, which will also be reported.

This behaviour is symptomatic of the way Woonstad Rotterdam deals with residents, they think they are above the law and have in recent years in cooperation with the police carried out several
illegal evictions of homes in the neighbourhood.

This kind of behaviour will not be tolerated – squatting continues!

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