Amsterdam: De Mobiele Eenheid goes to court!

Three weeks ago, the collective De Mobiele Eenheid squatted the building Gedempt Hamerkanaal 86, Spijkerkade 2 in Amsterdam Noord. To counteract the commercialisation, mass-tourism and precarious housing market, we have created a social centre offering a weekly program. Soon after the building’s occupation in opposition to an all-encompassing property-based violence, the end is near. Following dangerous threats, the owner of the building is summoning the collective to court, based on his supposed plan to turn the building into a hotel.

Amsterdam contains a disproportionate number of hotels and is completely over-crowded. The hotel stop decreed by the previous city government, is hardly noticeable. But the owner in question, a diamond merchant and property speculator, knows that real diamonds nowadays have two legs, arrive in Schiphol and pull wheelie bags.

His presented plans are not only problematic, but also highly questionable. In 2006, the building was squatted for the first time and already then, the plan was to build a hotel. Besides an environmental permit in 2013, the owner has undertaken little to no action hinting at reconstruction of the building. Overall, the greatest part of his property has been standing empty for many years.

In the upcoming years, a new housing development project will be realised in the area surrounding Gedempt Hamerkanaal, the so-called Hamerkwartier, which is currently comprised of mostly businesses. According to the plan, altogether 6.500 flats will be built, and real estate value will rise significantly. The owner of Gedempt Hamerkanaal 86, Spijkerkade 2 is therefore likely to await the development so as to sell his property for a higher profit.

Thus, his plans will presumably result in renewed, long-lasting vacancy due to property speculation, instead of the realisation of an actual zoning plan in the near future. In the face of dire housing shortages, escalating prices and the prevalence of precarious living, emptiness cannot be justified. The municipality has done little to act against emptiness. Since the introduction of the law “kraken en leegstand” concerning squatting and emptiness on October 1, 2010, municipalities are able to counter persistent vacancy by means of fines. In reality, only half of this law is put into practice. It is used to justify the eviction of squatters, but not to counter vacancy.

De Mobiele Eenheid will go to court today, on November 6, and continue to use the building as a non-commercial, horizontal social space as well as living space for people in precarious housing situations.

We are not evicted for hotels, property speculation and anti-squats!

Update: Verdict is expected on 20th of november.

Mobiele Eenheid
Gedempt Hamerkanaal 86
1021 KR Amsterdam
info [at] mobiele-eenheid [dot] org

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