Spuistraat, Amsterdam

By Kim Bui

Bui_Amsterdam Spui (1)

The Squatter’s Movement in Amsterdam started growing in the 1960s as a way to challenge the post-war housing shortage during which thousands of young people were homeless while houses stood empty and boarded up.  In 1980 on Coronation Day, April 30th, riots hindered the Squatter Movement’s unity as violence was used by a few of its members, affecting the general public’s image of the “squatter.” Since then, there has been a decrease in the number of squatters living in the city as well as their political influence. In 2010, a ban was introduced to make squatting an illegal act.

Previously empty houses such as those pictured above have had residents living in them for over three decades.  The Wet Kraken en Leegstand (Squatting and Vacancy Law) has helped protect established residents from the ban, by making it a lengthier process to be evicted.  Houses on Spuistraat combine living and working space by creating a tight knit group of artists who influence and inspire each other as well as manage, maintain, and improve their living spaces through cooperation.

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