Wassenaar: Villa Ivicke, news from the last six months

Zoning plan, construction works, court proceedings.

A lot has happened in the past six months. In April, the owner started a lawsuit to evict us. And in May, the municipality of Wassenaar imposed an administrative order on both the owner Ronnie van de Putte and us as residents. With this administrative order, the municipality wants to put pressure on the owner to carry out construction works, and on us to leave the building; the latter on the grounds that Ivicke’s zoning plan is not “housing” but “office”.

As the residents of Ivicke, we have filed an appeal against the enforcement of the zoning plan, the hearing was supposed to take place on the 16th of September. However, the case was referred to court, wherefore the hearing was cancelled. We are now waiting for a date for this hearing. In the administrative order, the municipality has marked November 19 as our leaving date. Be that as it may, it is already clear that there won’t be a ruling in this case before said date, but this doesn’t mean that the municipality cannot evict us. For this reason, we have submitted a request to the municipality to suspend the enforcement of the administrative order until the court has ruled whether such enforcement is lawful.

The owner, too, has filed an appeal against the administrative order. He tried to get out of his obligation to carry out construction works by starting a lawsuit against the municipality, which he lost. Despite the court’s ruling, it did not seem as if he was going to start the construction works, so the municipality decided to take over. They even placed a big sign—very conveniently—in front of the traffic lights at Rust en Vreugdlaan to show everyone that they are taking care of Ivicke’s renovation works. Then, however, the owner threw a spanner in the works and unexpectedly started the emergency repairs himself.

On September 18, the owner’s architect announced that the works will start on the 23rd. And so, two scaffoldings were erected around Ivicke last Wednesday—the municipality on the other hand did not feel like putting an end to their restauration plans and imposed a construction stop on the owner on Thursday the 24th. Justification was that the owner did not have a permit for the construction works. Funnily enough, the municipality repeatedly stressed during the owner’s lawsuit against them that he does not need a permit for the repairs. [1] By now the scaffoldings have been taken down and the municipality has informed us that their construction works will begin shortly.

Meanwhile, the lawsuit the owner started against us is still ongoing. We recently filed our response to the complaint, and now we are waiting for a date for a hearing in this case, too. However, the owner’s main argument, the complaint that our presence makes it impossible to carry out restauration works, seems to have been invalidated by the fact that he actually started the works.

And in the midst of all this chaos the claim that we are obstructing works, no matter whether it concerns construction workers paid by the owner or the municipality, is still frequently brought up. As soon as the municipality had wooden sheets put over the stairs and detached a corner of the roof gutter, the media was instantly full of praise, [2] while the repairs we continuously carry out have been publicly dismissed as a “smoke screen”. [3]

Lately, the media as well as politicians have been turning against the owner of Ivicke. The VVD has even asked parliamentary questions about Ronnie van de Putte’s practices. [4] They consider him the bad egg amongst the listed companies, while he is actually part of a much bigger problem. The prolonged emptiness of buildings such as Ivicke is not solely the result of speculation of Van de Putte’s companies, but also of neoliberal housing policy. The VVD itself bears more responsibility for the current housing crisis than a few opportunist speculants.[5] In a society where property rights outweigh housing rights, we will continue to squat in order to fight against emptiness, for housing, and for the possibility to live together in the ways we want to. Because what good is restoring a monument if it is to remain empty or put to use for yet another soulless company?

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/2020/09/30/verslag-april-tot-september-2020/

[1] https://www.wassenaar.nl/portal-wassenaar/nieuws_297/item/gemeente-neemt-zelf-maatregelen-voor-behoud-ivicke_22516.html
[2] https://www.omroepwest.nl/nieuws/4079019/Wassenaar-zelf-begonnen-met-herstellen-Huize-Ivicke-omdat-de-eigenaar-het-niet-doet
[3] http://www.dewassenaarsekrant.nl/archieflijst-edities/4679/
[4] https://www.tweedekamer.nl/kamerstukken/kamervragen/detail?id=2020Z17085&did=2020D37081
[5] https://www.tweedekamer.nl/kamerstukken/kamervragen/detail?id=2020Z17085&did=2020D37081