Rotterdam: You can’t evict a movement

Dear neighbours,
This week are threatened with eviction by Woonbron. The police will arrive on the street and the local news might write an article about “squatters in the Havenstraat”. We will not leave the building until we are forced to do so. We want to take a moment to explain our perspective and thank you for your support.
We are not criminals. We have been working to setup a neighbourhood social center in the Havenstraat for over 2 months as part of a campaign to create political pressure for more affordable and well maintained social housing and a higher minimum wage. Since we have occupied this building, we have made it accessible to the neighbourhood and the city, repaired the damage caused by Woonbron’s neglect in the building and organised public activities.
Woonbron used false claims to win a court case against us and force an eviction. Please see the post where we make a public response. Unfortunately, we know there are no clear plans for socially responsible use of this building. Because of this, we want to propose a new name for Woonbron: Leegstandsbron.
We have met some of you visiting in the building, showing solidarity with posters on your windows and some of you have even made press statements in support of our action. We would like to thank you very much for your support. [Read More]

Rotterdam: building squatted in Delfshaven

A number of Rotterdammers have squatted a building in Delfshaven. They want to make a statement to the city council. Rotterdam has been pushing people on the minimum wage out of the city for years. The activists are now drawing a line and want a higher minimum wage and affordable housing.
Inequality in Rotterdam is becoming more and more visible. Everywhere in the city, social housing is poorly maintained and demolished to make way for expensive housing. Rents continue to rise in our city and the income of Rotterdammers with a minimum wage or a benefit is lagging behind. There is also less and less room for their social activities and initiatives. They are being pushed out of our city. There seems to be no place for them anymore.
We do not accept this. That is why we support the Rotterdammers who have moved into the building at Havenstraat 231. They are claiming back a piece of Rotterdam to draw attention to the struggle of many Rotterdammers. Together with them we want the wealth and space in our city to be distributed more fairly. Only then can every Rotterdammer participate and have a place. This can be done by raising the minimum wage to 14 euros per hour in 2022 and by properly maintaining and renovating social housing.
Our city council did not want to listen before. Once again we call on them to ensure that every Rotterdammer can live affordably and have a decent income. We call on the City of Rotterdam to choose for us.
We want a thriving, colorful city in which everyone can live and thrive instead of survive. [Read More]

Netherlands: Actions against the ban on squatting

This year, October 1st marks the ten year anniversary of the Squatting Ban coming into effect in the Netherlands.

Much like what we saw in the UK following the criminalisation of squatting in 2012, the repercussions have been drastic for our community and our movement. We’ve been pushed out of city centres, drastically reducing our visibility and contact with the public outside our own community. The number of squats across the country has been divided by ten, and the legal risks surrounding squatting have risen. Perhaps most damaging of all, our community is sorely lacking in participation from a “new generation”. A large number of people in that age group are totally oblivious to the concept of squatting.

Since the squatting ban came into effect, homelessness has doubled. Simultaneously, waiting lists for social housing have grown enormously, the average waiting time being nine years. The total lack of affordable housing constitutes a housing crisis which, since 2020, is being referred to as a housing emergency. [Read More]

Netherlands: Actions after 10 years of squatting ban

10 Years On! And you still can’t live in a waiting list!

Today, October 1st, 2020 marks the 10 year anniversary of the criminalisation of squatting in the Netherlands through the Kraken en Leegstand (Squatting & Emptiness) law.
Despite the law, kraken gaat door (squatting continues).
On the face of it, the law was created to end both squatting and emptiness. It has done neither. Buildings are still empty and for many people squatting remains a necessity. After all, it is not the existence of empty buildings that leads to squatting, but rather the lack of accessible housing.
Whether you are squatting, renting, or looking to buy a home, finding an available (let alone affordable) house is a struggle. [Read More]

Rotterdam: Temporary new place of DHZ

Since March we have been going through a lot, globally and also in our workshop.

After a fire at our neighbour we had to close the workshop temporarily. It then turned out to be a serious damage to the building and we were evicted from our lovely workshop on Burgemeester Roosstraat where we stayed almost 6 years. It is very sad for us all but we would like to keep our activities going on.
[Read More]

Rotterdam : 6 squats evicted in the Tweebosbuurt

In the early morning of the 6th of March, residents of the Tweebosbuurt in Rotterdam were shaken awake by police forces. The entire neighbourhood was locked down for a militarized eviction of 6 squats. 6 houses of which the residents were put on the street with their right to a home.
Beyond these symbolic houses, which brought some life back into the emptying neighbourhood, it’s all residents of the Tweebosbuurt that are the target here. Since several months, life in the area has turned into a more joyful reality again, in which residents’ resignation in the face of the demolition of their neighbourhood was seeping away. The authorities have thus decided to destroy these sparkles of hope: no squats, no solidarity, no joy, no hope.
But let them know that the destruction of our living spaces will not suppress our desire for freedom.
Squatting goes on. [Read More]

Rotterdam: Illegal eviction of Tweebosstraat 120

On the 26th of February, employees of Vestia came to the door of a squat on Tweebosstraat 120. They knocked at the door, introducing themselves as the police. Obviously the squatters didn’t believe them, and refused to open the door anyway. Vestia threatened them to call the police, so they gave them the following documents proving they were living here for more than a week. Those documents were stamped by the OM on the 19th of February to prove the authenticity of the date.
According to Dutch law, those documents mean that Vestia is supposed to do a court case against the squatters in order to get an eviction order. After 48 hours of occupancy it’s illegal to evict a squat without an order from a judge. [Read More]

Rotterdam: Tweebosbuurt callout for solidarity

For the freedom to occupy abandoned places, an eviction, 10 occupations!

In a few days from now, next Wednesday March 4th, 6 squats (3 of which officially and the rest very likely) are facing eviction, 6 homes people have been transforming and living in for months, whilst also fighting against the demolition and gentrification of the neighborhood. 6 houses whose residents will be thrown out onto the street with all their possessions by the police. The date of 4 March is decisive, both for the future of these homes and for the continuation of the battle here in Tweebosbuurt. We are therefore launching a call out to come and support us and to be present in solidarity during the evictions. [Read More]

Rotterdam: Squatted house evicted within a day. Nocturnal dialogue with Vestia

Police and Vestia think they can do anything with impunity again!

The police evicted a squat in the Tweebosstraat in Rotterdam-Zuid on Wednesday evening. Squatters had entrenched themselves on the balcony and the roof. Four arrests were made. A group of squatters entered the empty building earlier in the day. The police were present with many officers to remove the group. The houses in the Tweebosstraat are on the nomination to be demolished. Earlier, there were also houses squatted for a short period of time in the neighbourhood to protest against the current vacancy.


The Hague: A nocturnal dialogue with Vestia.

In the night of February 25th a nightly visit was made to the Vestia office at the Loevesteinlaan in The Hague. Several windows were smashed and paint bombs were thrown on the building. Vestia is a mafia embraced by the state. The housing corporation is well known for its malpractices and its total disregard for tenants. After the 2008 crisis, the company continued to cheerfully raise rents, sell out social housing and postpone crucial maintenance of social housing. People were struggling with leakage, moisture and mold problems, and Vestia didn’t seem to care.
Now Vestia is once again demolishing more than 500 social housing units in the Tweebosbuurt in Rotterdam. The corporation will only rebuild 130 social housing units, the rest will be business premises and owner-occupied houses. Vestia’s project in the Tweebosbuurt is one of brutal gentrification. [Read More]

Rotterdam: The Squatting Info Hour Rotterdam is back

A search for “Kraakspreekuur Rotterdam” brings back some old memories from 2010 and 2005, which is quite a long time ago.
Back to the now: Here in Rotterdam quite some things are happening in the squatting scene. De Tweebosbuurt, Wielewaal and de Burgemeester Roosstraat for example. But in a city like Rotterdam, where there are so many empty buildings and people looking for a place to live, you would expect more squatters: Come and join us.
Do you need a house and have found an empty place? Are you still green and can use some help? Don’t have a crowbar?
We can help. To prepare for moving into your new place, you could for example read the Rotterdamse Kraakhandleiding (squatting manual) and research who owns the building which you are planning to move into, using the Kadaster. You can make an appointment for the Squatting Info Hour by mailing us. [Read More]

Rotterdam: About police actions in Tweebosbuurt

We’ve been silently listening to lots of different people talking about squatters in Tweebosbuurt in the last few days. From the leftist parties supporting squatters and newspapers calling them “heroes of Tweebosbuurt” to far right activists calling them criminals and claiming that they should be jailed or kicked out of the country. We thought that most of what could be said about squatters in Tweebosbuurt has been said. But then Wim Hoonhout, head of communication of Rotterdam’s police, decided to give his opinion on twitter as well, and it says a lot about how this city works: “Anti-capitalists, anarchists and extremists from Europe choose Tweebosbuurt for their actions. Thereby threaten the safety of residents. This requires a strict approach. Police [is] committed to ensuring that safety. Violence must be proportional and subsidiary. These people seek to undermine the rule of law. Leon [a journalist supporting squatters] trivializes their behavior and condemns our action”.

This is important and needs to be analyzed carefully.

Let’s start with squatting: as you might know, squatting is illegal in the Netherlands and was considered a criminal offense. But you should also know that since the 2 December 2010, the state court has ruled that the law forbidding squatting was illegal. Since then, squatting is legally considered as a civil issue, a disagreement of interest between two private parties. It’s not a criminal offense anymore. [Read More]

Rotterdam: Free Anton !

He has a smiling face, his eyes are filled with sweetness and in the midst of silence, I can still hear him shouting Fuck them and their law.

He recounts how he got arrested. How he just wanted to go back to see some friends, saw cops passing. And no luck, they started following him. Abusive identity check. The arrest quickly turned into a humiliating and violent chase. He was the first victim of the heightening repression in the neighbourhood. January the 22nd two thousand and twenty. 1:12 p.m. [Read More]