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Amsterdam squatters evicted; others can remain for now

DutchAmsterdam.nl — Police in Amsterdam this morning evicted squatters from 4 buildings.

Most squatters left the buildings peacefully, but four people were arrested after they committed acts of violence.

The buildings were not evacuated on the basis of Holland’s new anti-squatting law. Instead the squatters were removed after civil courts had ruled in favor of the property owners.

Amsterdam mayor Eberhard van der Laan last week announced that more buildings would be evacuated today, but that did not happen.

Yesterday the court in The Hague issued a judgment in a higher appeal as to the question of whether the Justice Department can proceed to evict various squatted buildings in Amsterdam, The Hague and Leeuwarden.

The court prohibited the eviction because in the new Act on Squatting and Vacancy no possibility is provided in which squatters (who are in danger of losing their home) can first have the eviction reviewed by a court. According to the court this is in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), which has repeatedly ruled that someone may not lose his residence before a court has first had the opportunity to rule on it.

Since the ECHR trumps the law of Europe’s individual countries, the anti-squatting law will have to be amended before it can be used to evict squatters.

Squatting was long tolerated and — under certain conditions – even legal in the Netherlands.

At first the practice enjoyed much public sympathy, but in recent years the original purpose — which was to alleviate the housing shortage by squatting buildings that were deliberately kept empty by speculators — has been lost as the movement became increasingly anarchistic.
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This post was last updated: Sep. 11, 2011