Utrecht: Watertower squatted to protest squatban, later evicted

Yesterday (October 1) a water tower in Utrecht (in the Netherlands) was squatted to mark seven years since the criminalisation of squatting. The long empty building (which was already squatted in the past) is a perfect example of the necessity to occupy empty buildings. A big banner was put on the building saying ‘Fuck the squatban.’ Unfortunately the state responded with overwhelming force and evicted the building the same day. According to reports, seven people were arrested, six squatters and one person outside for “insulting the police”. Solidarity with the arrestees!

Here follows a (quickly translated) statement from the squatters:
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Netherlands: The current housing crisis and the repression of squatting

The vacancy crunch: The current housing crisis in the Netherlands and the repression of squatting

Recently, an opportunity to discuss the current housing crisis in the Netherlands was wasted. The government published a report evaluating a law realised in October 2010 which both criminalised squatting and suggested a few paltry measures to combat building vacancy (see “From Convicting to Condoning: Evaluation of the Squatting and Vacancy Act” [Dutch]). The report received a few mentions in the media but was accompanied by no real analysis. Whilst the Minister for Safety and Justice writes in a letter to Parliament that “this assessment does not require policy changes,” a careful look at the statistics produced by the report instead indicates that much more could be done (see “Presentation of report evaluating the Squatting and Vacancy Act” [Dutch]). The number of people needing to be housed is increasing, and the best way to solve this problem is to liberate the empty building stock, putting it back into use through both legislative measures and squatting.
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UK: Whatever they say squatting will stay!

October 1 2011 marked one year since the Kraakverbod made squatting illegal in the Netherlands. However, hundreds of people still squat and will continue to squat.

With squatting in the UK coming under threat, join us to hear 3 squatters from Amsterdam talk next week in several cities across the UK about squatting before the ban, resistance to the criminalisation and what’s been happening since the Kraakverbod became law.
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Netherlands: No new Anti Squatting Law

New Anti Squatting Law of the agenda

Last week came the answer, from the State Secretary for economic matter, on motion “Ten Hoopen” to prohibit squatting company spaces. According to Van Gennip modification of the legislation is not possible, not necessary and also not desirable. The Anti-squatting law -Kraakverbod- seems with that of the table.

No Kraakverbod for non-residential spaces

Autumn 2003: Jan Ten Hoopen, Christian democrat, proposed anti squatting legislation. A Committee was formed to protest against the plans, a lobby-group was set up and a press offensive started. About 50 squatted non-residential spaces held an open day to show what we would be missing if there was to be an anti-squating law. Many non-squatters were informed and supported the campaign. The squatters managed to display the broader function of squatting in Dutch society, a function beyound that of provideing living spaces for the squatters them selves. The Dutch squatters movement also pointed to the millions of square meters of empty office space available in the Netherlands at this moment.

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Possible new anti-squat law in the Netherlands

Next tuesday the Dutch parliament will vote on a proposal to make squatting in the Netherlands more difficult. The proposal was made by Christian Democrat Ten Hoopen and is aimed against ‘criminal organisations who squat buildings to have parties’. Ten Hoopen proposed this to the parliament with a right wing majority after ten years of silence on the subject of squatting on national political level.

According to Ten Hoopen the squatters profit from free electricity and they make life more difficult for real estate owners. In an interview he said he wanted all squatting to be illegal. The next few days he got loads of counter arguments in the main stream media and it became clear he didn’t know what he was talking about. Even his colleage from the Christian Democrat party ‘CDA’ responsible for housing issues said he didn’t want to talk about making squatting in general illegal and preferred making plans against the housing shortage.

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