Amsterdam: The continuation of eradication policy of Free Spaces

Update by the Slibvelden crew, May 24th 2020.

Wednesday morning we had a meeting with the relevant officials talked about the Slibvelden (sludge fields) and the end date of November 1 that is imposed us. We entered the conversation with the hope that Erna Berends (City District chairman Amsterdam North, SP) that we could find mutual ground in our stay on the sludge fields. We left this digital meeting trembling from the reconfirmation that nevertheless all beautiful slogans and open conversations Amsterdam is stuck in their extermination policy free space.

After the eviction of the ADM Terrain in January 2019, we where offered an alternative place. This is the Sludge Fields – former water purification company Amsterdam Noord. The deal was that we could say for two years and in the meantime we and the municipality would look for a sustainable solution. In one and a half years we have bandaged the wounds and the community itself is healing. We managed to use the terrain for what it is. There is a communal garden, kitchen, workshop, concert space built up. And there have been some small-scale events and neighborhood activities organized.

Now the term ends on November 1 this year. We have had multiple conversations with municipal administrators about postponing our departure and from here and an alternative place with little success. The municipality states that if they extend our stay that they become weaker in possible future lawsuits. Also they say that in the larger city plan of Waterland 2050, it is not aloud to live outside of the ring north.

We currently have nowhere to go as a group. We have submitted various places to the municipality as potential spot for us, with little result. This means that is if we leave we must find individual solutions. This way the group cohesion and community relationships are broken even more. It is clear that this is not important for the municipality who profiles herself to stand up for the “frayed edges” of the city. They rather, abolish the existing networks of this alternative culture and replace it with a naive genetically modified homogenised apple pie with tunnel vision.

Furthermore, it is not possible to organize a large scale exodus within the limitations of the COVID-19 time we live. We say that if good agreements are made and if there is an open dialogue there is no reason for legal proceedings. We have received a commitment from the municipality that we as a group have a place in the new “free spaces policy” (*) that is being created. This would be a place for living and working and for the ADM community. Only there is little known about the proceeding of this policy beside that it should be finished in 2 to 3 years. This is the solution the municipality give as a sustainable place for the ADM. We ask the municipality to let us stay on the sludge-fields until the place is realized. Since there are no concrete plans for the development of the sludge fields. Because temporary nature of our stay and the fact that we live in mobile / tiny houses an exception for us living outside the ring north is easy to make. The municipality also does this for anti-squatters, houseboats and other precarious residents of the area. The bottom line is that they don’t care.


Some squats in the Netherlands:
Groups (social center, collective, squat) in the Netherlands:
Events in the Netherlands:

(*) the Free Spaces Accord (het vrijplaatsenakkoord)