Groningen: Statement by Akerkstraat squatters to the council

Dear Councillors,

As the people who live in Akerkstraat 16a we are pleased to be able to speak at this needed debate about the housing shortage among students, mostly internationals, in Groningen. It is clear to us that this is a matter of urgency. Every year thousands of international students are lured to the city to come and study here. What should have been a wonderful time in a beautiful city turns out to be a tragedy for many of them, just as this year. There are not enough houses, especially ones that are affordable, in the city to accommodate all those students. At this moment hundreds of students are in the emergency shelter they are expected to leave at the end of this month. Most of them have not yet found alternative housing. [Read More]

Groningen: Former Heijkens building squatted by students

A few days ago, a group of students occupied the former Heijkens building on Akerkstraat. The youngsters who are looking for housing are trying to raise the issue of the national housing shortage. The squatting action is part of a national campaign in the context of the nine-year squatting ban. “During this time, it was mainly squatters who had to suffer, while landowners and speculators get away with vacancy. So the ban is not a solution to the housing shortage”, according to the students’ spokesman.

Since 1 October 2010, the Squatting and Vacancy Act applies. The purpose of this law was to reduce the vacancy rate in the Netherlands. However, research commissioned by the Ministry of Security and Justice and the Ministry of the Interior shows that the effects of the vacancy policy are hardly visible. At the beginning of this year, some 96,500 m² of office space was vacant in the city of Groningen, half of which is not even for rent or sale. The vacancy rate of office buildings in the Netherlands has almost doubled. [Read More]

Groningen, Netherlands: Pino has to stay!

Sociaal_Centrum_Groningen_Pino_Hereweg_97Where there is a will, there is a way. The former pizzaria Pino, at the Hereweg in Groningen is the oldest house in the street and has been on the demolition list for almost 30 years.
Now, 2016, it is the home for creative, free spirits.
Because the place is squatted and its interest is not economical profit, it makes it easier for people to get involved and organise something here. We notice that this activates lots op people! A few examples of activities that have taken place at Pino:
– the March against Monsanto was planned at our table
– we had a benefit evening for a teacher who was raising money for children in Kenia
– because our stage is open to all kinds of music, we get lots of surprising acts. International, but also a lot of local musicians. Almost every week we host live music here. Once we had a Norwegian duo that made music with a beer crate and a loop machine and we also hosted the very first concert of De Kat, a band from Groningen. The Pino is also part of the festival PleuropSonic, during Eurosonic, which attracts a lot of people every year. [Read More]