Utrecht: Derelict buildings squatted out of housing shortage and protest against vacancy

Since last weekend, a group of young people have been living in the long since vacant houses at the Burgemeester Reigerstraat 48-53 in Utrecht.

The occupation is both a direct approach to a need for life – the young people are looking for housing – and a protest against the current housing policy. The action, part of a national wave, criticized Squatting and Vacancy Act from 2010 and the intention to tackle squatting even harder. “The residents are of the opinion that not squatting, but vacancy and housing shortage must be tackled”, according to a spokesman. The buildings on Burgemeester Reigerstraat have been vacant for more than five years. Owner Marcel Paping plans to demolish the four buildings and build four new buildings and retail space in their place. A parking garage is to be built under the buildings. He has the permits for his plan, except for the entrance to the basement. Many neighbours are of the opinion that a large underground car park will seriously disturb the peace and quiet in the street. Paping plans to nail up the empty buildings if the Municipality does not grant him all the permits. Half a year ago, the buildings were also squatted. Then the police went on a wrongful eviction. “Hopefully this time the police will be wise enough not to go for the owner’s trolley and go the right way”, says one of the squatters. [Read More]

Utrecht: Squatting during national day of action – police proceed to unlawful eviction

The national day of action against the ban on squatting was also held in Utrecht today. A group of squatters has just added the vacant building at Reactorweg 164-172 to the housing stock. Help with the occupation is welcome, so come along!

The building, owned by De Waal Beheer, has been empty for quite some time now and plans for use by the owner seem to be lacking. While the CDA and VVD in their own-initiative law are working on new legislation to protect property owners even better against squatters, this action shows that squatting is still the only effective means for people searching for housing to combat vacancy. [Read More]

Netherlands: National day of action against the ban on squatting


Ban the squatting ban!

Since the 1960s, squatting has functioned as a mean of action to stress out a failing housing and vacancy policy: the reason why for decades a squatting ban was regarded as undesirable without any associated effective measures to prevent vacancy. Although squatting has been banned by law since 2010, vacancy and housing shortage have doubled in the past 10 years. And so people are still squatting. The VVD and the CDA do not see vacancies and housing shortages as a problem, but squatting is. At the moment, these parties are working hard for a change in the law to ensure that squatters can be evicted more quickly, without tackling the underlying problems. Because this law will put the legal position of squatters and precarious residents under severe pressure and will only further increase the historically high vacancy rates and homelessness, actions are taking place in various parts of the country today.

One-sided effectuation Squatting and Vacancy Act

Almost 10 years ago, the Squatting and Vacancy Act was passed, on the condition that not only squatting, but also vacancy had to be reduced. Whereas squatting has always been (and still is!) an important stick behind the door of pawnbrokers, from now on municipalities should play a more active role in tackling speculation on vacant property and impoverishment. Fines for structural vacancy, however, have hardly been imposed and thanks to the gigantic boost of vacancy management/property guardianship, it has only become easier for speculators to conceal vacancy under the guise of ‘occupancy through temporary renting’. [Read More]

Utrecht: Protest action against new anti squat law

Today, there was an attempt to resquat the Watertoren on the Amsterdamsestraatweg in Utrecht. This water tower has been squatted many times already. Today, squatters unfortunately failed. The water tower, a designated national monument, has not been in use since 1986. The real estate developer who bought it in 2014, has not succeeded yet in developing anything. At the same time, alternative uses are not tolerated and eviction for emptiness has been the systematic answer. This while the monumental building is falling into disrepair.

Today’s squatting action was intended as a protest against the plan of the CDA and VVD to tighten up the law against squatting. The aim of the 2010 law was to tackle both squatting and vacancy. In recent years, squatters have been the main target of prosecution, while only a few cities have been acting against emptiness. The new proposal gives squatters hardly any time and space to defend themselves. The right of residence of people who take matters into their own hands, is so further eroded. [Read More]

Utrecht: New squat!

Since a few days, a group of squatters has been occupying a building located at the Australiëlaan 18-22 in Utrecht. Since 1998, a family from Woerden had ownership of the building. The company Boxx Opslagverhuur wants to use the building as storage place, though their plan has been rejected by the municipality of Utrecht on November 12, 2018. So far there are no concrete signs the place will be used on a short term. That’s why we arrived!
The cops have been informed about the situation. This morning around 25 people showed up in solidarity. We are still waiting for them to come. The ambiance is nice and chill, and we will keep you updated in case the cops arrive or the situation changes. [Read More]

Utrecht: Illegal eviction at Burgemeester Reigerstraat

The buildings are owned by Marcel Paping, who has multiple real estate companies. He was present during the action, being aggressive and annoying towards people supporting outside. We got a lot of support from the neighbourhood. Many of the neighbours are bothered by the empty, neglected, run down buildings and shops. Although a few neighbours expressed aversion to the situation, others mentioned being happy that people finally took action against emptiness and housing need.
The 5 monumental buildings have been empty for 5 years. The owner wants to demolish them to create new apartments, a shop, and a garage, but his plans are so intrusive that the neighbours are against it.
The squatters have had house peace since 2 days, so the police was acting in name of the owner once again. This resulted in an illegal eviction and damage done to the building. After the owner did not succeed to enter with the key, cops broke windows and kicked in a door on the back, neither without a warning or wanting to talk to the spokes people or the squatters. [Read More]

Zeist (Netherlands): Krakelingenweg evicted

Around 16:30 yesterday afternoon, the eviction at Krakelingweg 19 came to an end. From 8:00 in the morning onward the police, BraTra, fire brigade, together with some cherry pickers were busy getting people out of the house (including a safe!), the basement, the roof, and of tree houses built on the terrain. During the whole day, the police blocked several parts of the forests in order to prevent anyone (‘looking like a squatter’) coming close to the building. Once the eviction got called to and end, security company Andor (a dog brigade) and DGR Dienstverlening started to clean and secure the building.

According to the police, 14 people got arrested, of which; 6 people inside or around the building; 4 people in tree houses; and 4 people wandering around the forest. The police mentioned that they were not sure whether these hikers were indeed people from “our group”. Also, they mentioned that 2 people had been brought to the hospital, one becoming unwell, and one suffering from hypothermia (low body temperature). We do not know whether both people were checked by an ambulance, and indeed brought to the hospital, or if this was a rumor. As far as we know, 12 people are in the police station (and not 14, as the cops mentioned). They are all doing fine.

After tree intense weeks of resistance, building, creating, and a lot of waiting, we have lost our goddamn cold but lovely home in the forest. Although the law is not on our side and cops seem to make it a little (lot!) harder for us each time, we will not stop. [Read More]

Trespass Journal Issue Three

We’re glad to finally present Issue 3 of Trespass Journal!

In this issue, which is online and freely distributed, you’ll find a translation from English to Dutch of a journal article about how a moral panic was generated to enforce the criminalisation of squatting in the Netherlands and a translation to French of a brief text about migration on Idomeni in Greece, near to Macedonia, which was previously published in Trespass 2 in Italian.

As interventions in five languages, we have an analysis of the lack of support to the ZAD in Brittany, plus short pieces about the opening of a new anarchist social centre in the Paris suburbs, community resistance to preserve a park in London, the demolition of a community gym in Athens, an (unsuccessful) eviction threat in Catania, and an eviction in Catalonia. And a report on the resquat of the watertower in Utrecht! There’s plenty more news and analysis on this website.
[Read More]

Zeist (Netherlands): Callout for support in resistance to illegal eviction

Yesterday the police illegally evicted the recently squatted building at Utrechtseweg 86, Zeist. The squatters had written statement from a neighbour that he had seen them in the building for over 24 hours, but still the police claimed the squatters were ‘caught in the act’, and evicted on those grounds.
The police refused to arrest or ID anyone, even when they had to forcefully evict the building. One person refused to cooperate to the point that they were forced to arrest them, but they were released hours later without charge. This unwillingness to bring this case to court proves that the police know that they are acting illegally.
Today the building was re-squatted. After long discussion between the acting officer of justice, the squatters, and the police, the squatters were given until 18.00 to leave. We will not leave!
This is a call out for support inside and outside of the building. The police in and around Utrecht are increasingly deciding to ignore the house-peace of squatters, and are finding any excuse to evict squats in the moment which they appear. We aim to gather as many people as possible inside and outside the building, to make it as difficult as we can for them to do so.
We have a working legal team, the deadline for the eviction is 18,00 today. [Read More]

Utrecht: Eviction of the Swamp starts today. Come to support

Support the Swamp, the eviction of the Swamp has started.
07.00h: workers from Borghese open the fence that separates the Swamp from the neighbors field.
10.30h: Police vans arrive to the field.
Eight cops entered the terrain and a bailiff started to walk around asking people to leave.
11.00h: the first arrest police van arrived.
11.20h: five people have been found inside of the Swamp, the bailiff hopes there’s no one else in places hard to access or hiding.It won’t be that easy. The Swamp will resist.
Lock ons and a monopot tower await the cops. Come to the swamp and support! [Read More]

Utrecht: Callout for solidarity with the Swamp

This week the judge decided to make the eviction of the Swamp possible. This means that birds, rabbits, bats, rats, insects and people lose their living space and a young forest will be killed. All to make space for more asphalt, another distribution center and a bus parking that could be built somewhere else.
The judge ignored that the owner, Borghese Real Estate B.V., hasn’t even asked for permits to cut the trees on the part of the Swamp that is not destroyed yet.
We won’t let yet another one of the very few places of green in the city of Utrecht be killed. We won’t move from out self built community where we live together with nature, as self sufficient as possible, and free.
We call out to all people to defend nature here with us, or in your own way, everywhere. We expect the eviction of the Swamp soon after Wednesday the 31st of October, next week.

FUCK PROFIT, FUCK ASPHALT!
THE SWAMP STAYS!

The Swamp
Gelderlantlaan, Utrecht
Netherlands
https://squ.at/r/6b2z

Squats and squatting assistances in the Netherlands: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/NL/type/squat
Groups (social centres, squats, collectives) in the Netherlands: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/NL
Events in the Netherlands: https://radar.squat.net/en/events/country/NL

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]