Amsterdam: Two houses re-squatted on the Minckelersstraat

Two houses were today re-squatted in Jeruzalem (Amsterdam) after being left empty by Rochdale since the eviction of the previous squatters in January.

Today two houses were re-squatted in the neighbourhood of Jeruzalem (Amsterdam). These houses on Minckelersstraat have been left empty by the housing corporation Rochdale since the eviction of the previous squatters at the end of January 2017.

The neighbourhood contains a mix of social and free sector housing, and the entire area is being renovated or demolished and redeveloped. The previous squatters were presented with court documents by Rochdale detailing their plans for the houses which today were re-squatted – they were to be used as modelwoning, to demonstrate to residents what to expect from their renovations. However, this purported use of the properties never materialised, instead they were boarded up and left vacant.

According to Rochdale’s concept plan for the renovations (dated March 2017), modelwoning exist elsewhere in the neighbourhood. Residents of the block concerned had the opportunity to view these in March. In other words, the previous squatters were evicted for no reason other than to leave these houses empty.

They plan to begin construction on the block in September 2017, however at present appear to still be in the process of gaining agreement from residents to move forward with their renovation plans. In the meantime, they advise that vacant properties which will not be transferred to anti-squat will instead be made uninhabitable. They state that this will be achieved by destroying utility connections and/or boarding up their doors.
We find this absolutely unacceptable in the current housing crisis, particularly as it remains unclear whether works will begin in September. In addition, current residents of the block have voiced their dissatisfaction with Rochdale’s handling of the entire process, and others whose houses have already been renovated are unhappy with the results.

In 2010, the housing block was awarded monument status due to its historical significance from the post-war rebuild era. This status was the result of a residents initiative, intended to safeguard their homes as the original plans were to demolish the block. In 2014, Rochdale were accused of exploiting this status by charging significantly higher rents to newcomers (712 euros per month), purely because the blocks were now monumental.

In a broader perspective, there is a major problem with such housing corporations reducing their social housing stock by switching homes into the free sector market. There is already not enough social housing for those who require it, and waiting lists in Amsterdam well exceed the 10 year mark. In such an environment it is unacceptable to continue to reduce social housing stock for the purpose of profiteering from the free sector market.

We like many need housing, and we find it ridiculous that Rochdale has left these houses empty following the eviction of the previous squatters, and that they appear to have no intention to remedy this vacancy. For this and the reasons outlined above – and our own need for housing – we have today re-squatted these houses on Minckelersstraat.