Utrecht: save the Reactorweg

A squat in the city of Utrecht at Reactorweg in the district of Lage Weide is being threatened with eviction. The reason? The Utrechts Studenten Corps (Utrecht Student Association, USC from here), a Fraternity, wants to throw its 77th annual “lustre” party in the 3 squatted buildings that house 25 people and numerous social, cultural, and political initiatives. To make such an eviction during the COVID-pandemic and a housing crisis in Utrecht, the students are essentially helping the owner evict the 25 squatters, putting them on the streets.
But we still have hope! If we manage to raise sufficient funding we can initiate a higher appeal, in which other judges will revise the case.

The situation

A court ruling last week decided that the people living at the Reactorweg in Utrecht will be evicted to facilitate a week-long party organized by the USC.
The living groups think it is unacceptable that a student party gets precedence over their right to proper and affordable housing. Consequently, the living groups went to court to prevent this from happening. “The people living here are very diverse. Some live here as there are no alternatives, others live here more out of ideological reasons.” In the court case, the squatters emphasized the urgency of the case and said they will be homeless if the eviction continues. “Some have applied for social housing a decade ago and still can’t find proper housing,” one of the defendants explained. [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]

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]