Den Haag: De Vloek can be evicted says court. De Vloek will keep on fighting

The verdict from the court case between the city of Den Haag and De Vloek came out today July 30th 2015. De Vloek has lost the case and can be evicted within five days. Communique from De Vloek:

This morning, the judge gave a verdict in the case that the city of The Hague filed against social center De Vloek. These summary proceedings were meant to force the eviction of De Vloek. The judge decided that De Vloek may be evicted five days after the signing of the verdict. The signing of the verdict means that the bailiff must sign the verdict and deliver it to De Vloek. It is uncertain when this will happen. Technically, it could happen today, but it could also take longer.

The judge completely ignored the objections posed by De Vloek; for example, that there is no permit for the clean-up of the ground on which De Vloek stands and that this document has not even been applied for or approved. The fact that digging on the seawall is forbidden during the storm season was also disregarded.

The board of appeals of The Hague also made a decision today about the objections that De Vloek and the neighbors have against the building permit. The board of appeals decided in favor of De Vloek on three of the five arguments. The city completely disregarded the advice of the board of appeals.

Further legal action
Because the city has ignored the judgment of the board of appeals, we have been forced to file a preliminary injunction in court in order to get the judge to annul the building permit. We will also not ignore the dubiously motivated verdict about the city´s eviction order. We will therefore make an emergency appeal against this decision.

Alternate location
During the summary proceedings hearing, the judge requested that De Vloek and the municipality come together to look for an alternate location for De Vloek´s initiatives. He also stated that insight into for whom De Vloek is important would be appreciated. De Vloek subsequently approached the city to discuss a member list and the possibility of letting the coordinators of initiatives at De Vloek sign a contract.

De Vloek has more than fulfilled the judge´s request for transparency and cooperation. The city however refused to listen, even after further explanation from our lawyers. In our opinion, the board of aldermen, with Joris Wijsmuller (Hague City Party) in charge has not satisfied its obligations. These obligations are based on the requests of city council members and lie at the heart of The Hague City Party´s own free space policy.

The board of aldermen seems to only be after the eviction of De Vloek. The board only wants to use the offer of an alternate location to ensure that everyone voluntarily vacates the premises. Early on, the board had already attempted to use an alternate location to get De Vloek to leave without judicial review.

De Vloek cannot guarantee that everybody will leave because De Vloek does not have a hierarchic organizational structure. Even the judge stated in the verdict with regard to vacating the premises: ¨[That] De Vloek (read: the persons and businesses associated with De Vloek) can guarantee that everyone present in the building will cooperate with the eviction. Such a condition cannot be set considering that it is not in De Vloek´s power to do so.¨ On this point, the judge even agreed with De Vloek. Whether this judge´s statement has changed the minds of the city board is doubtful, considering the attitude that the city has taken up to now.

The fight goes on
That the city, with the support of the legal system has tried to destroy everything that has been organized at a grassroots level that fulfills an important social function in The Hague, does not mean that De Vloek will just give up. De Vloek is not only fighting to keep its location, but also against the yuppification of the harbor and the municipality´s vision of urban renewal. Throughout Den Haag, initiatives that have emerged on a grassroots level have to move aside for yuppie projects. Policy should not revolve around the initiatives of developers, but around the people who live in Den Haag

Don´t budge for the rich! De Vloek will stay!

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