Monday, November 05, 2007

The end of squatting in Holland?

Vrankrijk, the most (in)famous squat in Amsterdam. As Dutch society embraces intolerance there seems to be unstoppable pressure to ban squatting.

The Mayor of Amsterdam, Job Cohen is for a ban, as are many of the parties of the right, although the Christian Union does not want to ban squatting without something being done on the other side to stop speculators leaving buildings unmaintained and empty.

Squatting is 'no longer of this time...', has no part in modern society they say. Indeed, once you have abandoned tolerance and embraced unchecked capitalism, maybe there is no place for it.

And, oh yes, we can blame the foreigners too (it used to be Italians but now we can blame the Poles). They are the bad squatters who just want to live here for free.

Fred was a squatter before he met me. He does not have a lot fo time for the squatting movement himself - and looks back on his own squatting days as a period he went through, just as he protested against cruise missiles in the Dutch countryside during the Cold War. However, he sees as well that the current climate against squatters is part of a general pull to the right amongst the Dutch population, egged on by opportunistic populist politicians, the list of which is getting far too long...


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