Wassenaar: Ivicke Sales Seizure, First Step To Expropriation?

The municipality of Wassenaar is going to court to annul the recent sales of Ivicke by the owner, Ronnie van de Putte, to two of his newly-established companies.

Van de Putte is currently subject to an administrative order from the municipality of Wassenaar to carry out restoration works on Ivicke by July 20. Otherwise, the municipality intends to carry out the work itself and send him the bill.

Thing is though, this bill could quickly add up. And van de Putte isn’t known for paying his debts.

Ivicke’s restoration costs are thought to be around 500,000 euros but this can (and probably will) shoot up once the works begin. Especially since there has not yet been a full architectural assessment.

Kees Wassenaar, the city’s alderman for spatial planning, said the dispute over Ivicke has already cost Wassenaar hundreds of thousands of euros. A spokesperson for the municipality did not want to give an exact overall figure, but the city has incurred around 40,000 in legal costs alone.

These spiraling costs are what led the municipality of Wassenaar to ask the province of Zuid-Holland for help. In response, Zuid-Holland pledged a maximum of 500,000 euros from its monument restoration fund for 2020. We stand against this abuse of public funds for a project that does not meet the criteria set by Zuid-Holland’s own monument restoration policy, where there is no guarantee the money could be recouped, and which does not guard against a new cycle of neglect and decay.

Rather, we argue that stronger coercive measures must be used against Ronnie van de Putte to expropriate Ivicke so that necessary work can be done properly and, even more crucially, the building and estate can remain in use with a public function.

With the municipality’s latest move to annul van de Putte’s Ivicke transactions, it seems they finally agree that he is not to be trusted or relied upon. And while a spokesperson said a few months ago it was “unlikely” the city would be unable to retrieve the costs for Ivicke’s restoration from van de Putte, it seems they finally accept now that this is a very real possibility.

While we do not pretend to understand the full legal implications of the ‘paulianabeslag’ sought by the municipality of Wassenaar, if it is a move towards expropriating the building then we support this, and would be open to a dialogue with anyone who shares this aim.

Such a move is neither extreme nor precluded by law. In response to questions from Sandra Beckermann of the Socialist Party, Minister of Education, Culture and Science Ingrid van Engelshoven said expropriation of property, including national monuments, is possible to carry out “a plan of work to eliminate serious overdue maintenance in the interests of public housing.” [internet translation]

The main obstacle is political will, not a lack of legal mechanisms. At a time of increasing homelessness, insecure tenancies and extortionate rent, it is especially necessary to establish jurisprudence in favor of the right to housing and public access to common goods, over the rights of property speculants to play the housing market like a game.

But with regards to Ivicke, the municipality of Wassenaar’s longer-term intentions or aspirations remain unclear. So far, we have largely been left in the dark about what has been happening, except when the municipality seeks our cooperation.

Instead, what we read in local and regional media reports is that the municipality wants us out no matter what: without even an idea of a future plan for Ivicke’s use. Well, we have many plans. And we would like to involve the local community and other individuals and groups to help realize them. But since the No Border camp last August, city authorities have come down hard on any attempt of ours to host public events.

We hope the municipality sees that restoration works are only a means to an end. They are not a safeguard against future speculation, vacancy, neglect and decay. They will certainly not protect against one of the “unfortunate” fires that seem to curse van de Putte’s properties. The only durable measure to safeguard Ivicke’s future is to take it away from the person who poses the threat and is causing all this bother in the first place.

Huize Ivicke
Rust en Vreugdlaan 2
2243AS Wassenaar, The Netherlands
ivickeautonoom [at] riseup [dot] net

Some squats in the Netherlands: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/NL/squated/squat
Groups (social center, collective, squat) in the Netherlands: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/NL
Events in the Netherlands: https://radar.squat.net/en/events/country/NL

Source: Huize Ivicke Autonoom https://huizeivicke.noblogs.org/post/2020/06/07/420/