Utrecht: Defend the Swamp. Come to the court case!

After 5 years of creating alternative living spaces with nature, the Swamp, Kanaleneiland, is being threatened with destruction.
The state and the company Borghese are working hand in hand to turn the Swamp’s beautiful young forest into asphalt to then build a distribution centre and a bus remise, while there are alternative locations for these projects where the destruction of nature isn’t necessary.
From the Hambach Forest and ZAD evictions, to the ADM case and the expansion of the A27, time after time, people and nature have to defend themselves against capitalist greed and neoliberalist development policies.
The Swamp became a space of living and sharing with people and nature, outside of consumption trends. In a city where the waiting list for expensive “social housing” is endless, we decided to build our own houses and work in a sustainable and self-sufficient way. In Kanaleneiland in particular, only a couple of years back social housing was sold to private corporations behind people’s backs.
While the Netherlands presents itself as a “green country”, green spaces in the city keep on disappearing. We are not the only ones being evicted from the Swamp. Birds, rabbits, bats, bees and other animals and insects will also lose their living spaces.
We won’t keep silent. We won’t just leave. Come to the court case and join the struggle to save the Swamp. [Read More]

Utrecht: Two more houses squatted on Kanaleneiland

monnetlaan85_Kanaleneiland_UtrechtEvicting in neighborhood with 300 empty houses is useless.

Last weekend two new houses were occupied on the Monnetlaan in Kanaleneiland, Utrecht. Those homes were empty awaiting renovation in March. “It seems vacancy protector VPSitex considers metal plates a good way to protect vacancy, we think it’s not.” says one of the squatters.

The first eight houses, Monnetlaan 97-111 were occupied last April in protest agents racist policy of gentrification in this neighborhood. 1100 affordable houses would be demolished because renovation was impossible. Of the replacing new houses only 25% would be social rent. When the social housing corporation ‘foundation Mitros’ almost bankrupted itself and government took over financial responsibility, this megalomaniacal project was dropped. The local government nor the housing corporations knew what to doo with those 224 social houses where they already kicked out the renters. Ultimately they were sold for € 0,- to the Qatari- Swiss asset trust Aventicum. Interesting to note is that this company’s head of real estate is the west- Flemish prodigy Christophe Tanghe, yes the same one that run ING bank to the ground when he run real estate there. This asset trust will renovate the houses; well… they will replace the windows. After that you may buy a 70 square meter house for € 140.000,- with the obligation to finish the renovation within two years. Some of the houses may become open market tent, € 1.200,- a month. Non available for low income groups. [Read More]

Utrecht: Squatters have lost the Kanaleneiland court case

71728On wednesday the 27th of july the judge decided about the eviction of 8 squatted buildings in Kanaleneiland. The demand of the squatters has been turned down. Starting from the 15th of September the police is licit to evict the buildings. The reason behind this verdict is not yet clear. However, during the courtcase it did was clear that the owner doesn’t benefit from eviction, as they don’t suffer any damage by the situation. “This is about a principle: the government of and coorperations in Utrecht agreed not to negotiate with squatters.” -the squatters.
The houses have been squatted in April out of protest against urban ‘renewal’ (destruction). The project in this area (kanaleneiland centrum) means 1100 social housing houses ( (: ) have been destroyed so far. They will be replaced by private renting and expensive houses for sale. Only 138 social renting houses have found a place is this… urban renewal. Squatter Rogier: “Urban destruction means the deportation of not-white residents to establish white enclaves.” [Read More]

Utrecht: Squatters protest against gentrification – New house squatted on Kanaleneiland

201604_Monnetlaan_kanaleneiland_UtrechtWednesday July 13, there is a court case in Utrecht about the squatted houses on Monnetlaan. The buildings were squated in April out of protest against the gentrification of Kanaleneiland. Everyone who has affinity with this story, or is interested in the courtcase, is welcome to witness the courtcase itself. The squatters and supporters will be in front of the courthouse from 8.30, the courtcase itself begins at 9 o’ clock.
Utrecht is finishing a large scale gentrification project that has wiped out 9500 social houses. Kanaleneiland Centrum is one of these projects, where 1100 sociale houses have been demolished. This project is now ending, the squatted have occupied the building which will be the last to be renovated. [Read More]

Utrecht: Eight apartment flats squatted on Kanaleneiland

20160416_Utrecht_Eight_apartment_flats_squatted_on_KanaleneilandLast week, eight apartment flats were squatted in Kanaleneiland. The flatslocated at Monnetlaan (within the so-called “Eiland 8” block) are the property of the city of Utrecht, and are managed by housing corporations Mitros and Portaal who want to transform the flats into free housing sector apartments for rent and for sale.
The squatters disagree with the way former renters have been treated, and are against the gentrification of the city.
Before, there were 224 social renting apartments in this blok, which the former renters had to leave in due to demolition, as a result of the long-term neglect of the homes. These plans are part of a big-scale gentrification that is taking place in Utrecht (and the rest of the Netherlands).
Based on the “leegstandswet” (“vacancy law”). The temporary renters put into the appartments, were promised, in writing, to be allowed to stay until demolition. This is how project Eiland 8 came into being, realized by Wolf huisvestingsgroep and Sophies Kunstprojecten.
Eventually, there didn’t seem to be sufficient money from the city of Utrecht to be able to build the new constructions so, the project was then sold to the Swiss-Quatarese asset management company Aventicum, that hired construction company Heijmans to have the places refurbished thoroughly. [Read More]