Wassenaar: The Danger of Occupied Ivicke

Why does the municipality of Wassenaar consider our residency at Ivicke to be a “danger”? And what exactly are we endangering? Here, I will give these questions some space, that necessarily lead us back in time.

In January 2019, Ivicke’s owner requested the municipality to enforce the bestemmingsplan (zoning plan), which was rejected a few months later in June. The municipality justified this decision by pointing out that our eviction would constitute a danger to public order given the owner’s lack of a plan for the building – that is, more vacancy could lead to a second act of squatting.

[Sidenote: The notorious bestemmingsplan is the bureaucratic destiny of Ivicke which was changed to an office function in the 1980s from its original purpose as residency. Thereafter, antisquat companies, hired by the current owner, made use of some rooms, which moves in a legal grey area but is tolerated due to its corporate nature and temporary status. While our residency is quite certainly of a temporary nature as well, the bestemmingsplan has been used as a strategy to evict the “danger” we pose by both the owner and the municipality.]

Back in time: The owner’s lawyer appealed on 29th of July, which was received on the 31st of July by the municipality – interesting timing, as the mayor got to know about the upcoming No Border Camp (NBC: 01.08.-04.08.) on the 30th of July. The NBC is an international gathering with workshops and actions, that inform about and act against the inhumane migratory policies of EU-states, and that aim to connect struggles in other parts of the world. Here, we pause in time because those days were packed with legal procedures and political struggles.

After the owner’s lawyer was informed about our plans with the terrain, she took the municipality to court in order to force them to prohibit the upcoming camp. When the judge didn’t grant her will, she went in appeal hoping that another judge would forbid the – at that point – ongoing camp. Luckily, this didn’t happen and the NBC proceeded. It is however interesting to investigate the lawyer’s justification for this legal upheaval. Her main argument emphasised the potential harm that the activities during the camp could cause to the monument. Her concern is quite ridiculous, as she is representing the person – Ronnie van de Putte – that has remorselessly observed the gradual degradation of the monument and not taken any steps to prevent its eventual destruction.
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The Hague: Housing Action Days, call for participation!

On Friday and Saturday 31st of July and 1st of August, Housing Action Days will take place in The Hague. The theme for Friday is social housing and precarious modes of housing, and the theme for Saturday is the selling out of the city and gentrification. During these two days we will make a collective fist against precarity and the housing shortage.

In the past couple of years the city has become the stage of a social struggle. Capital is increasingly controlling housing and public spaces. The city is transformed into a revenue model, a new apparatus for a select group to accumulate wealth. This has drastic consequences for many of us. De waiting lists for social housing are ever lengthening, rents are already way too expensive and the political unwillingness to take up these issues is stifling. In the inner city, one loft gets restored after another and only expensive private sector housing is built. Hip coffeehouses and their terraces are spreading like an oil spill. We don’t want a city merely for consumption but a city in which we can live!

Paired with the gentrification, the state’s net to control public spaces tightens. Concurrently to being forced to pay increasingly high rent for increasingly small spaces, we are being dispossessed of the streets: hanging out in the street is perceived as suspicious and will get you castigated for gathering. The only places where you can still gather in public are parks or sports field – but never without the supervision of cameras. Our living spaces are shrinking, we will no longer put up with this shit anymore! [Read More]