Sounds of the Schoolstraat Street Party

2 Nov

There has been one street in Amsterdam in the last few years that has become of legendary status. Schoolstraat, has been put on the map due to the previous supporting laws on squatting in the Netherlands. The street was given up on due to ill repair, and a constant threat of buy out from developers. The entire street has now been occupied by squatters and anti-krak residents (yes the two live side by side, but that is another debate) for nearly seven years.

But this is soon to end, as the eviction orders have been handed out, due to new legilosation The Wet kraken en leegstand (Squatting and Vacancy Law), which became effective on 1 October 2010.

This means the developers will soon be moving in to develop an entire street, leaving an awful lot of people needing to be re-homed.

And what if they do not move?

The ‘Amsterdam Triangle’, formed of the police, the Public Prosecution Service and the City of Amsterdam will be responsible for enforcing the new law. Basically, eviction by force. And this will be happening all over Amsterdam. With probably a lot of those properties continuing to still remain empty and un-maintained.

So how does this work, eviction?

All instances of squatting will be categorised as high, middle or low priority. Dependent on the category, squatters will either be immediately evicted from properties, evicted during a planned eviction or at a later date when there are enough police numbers to support the process. Roughly 200 properties will be targeted after 1 October 2010, including several entire complexes. Six rounds of evictions are planned for the coming year instead of the usual three. The first squatted properties to be targeted are those deemed to cause a serious nuisance to the surrounding area.

The standard rounds of evictions will still take place and an additional three rounds are being organised in order to minimise inconvenience within the city and make efficient use of police and justice personnel. In recent years, the police successfully evicted squatters from more than thirty properties in Amsterdam through large-scale operations. However, such a show of force is not expected to be required for all future evictions in the city.

What is the charge, punishable offence?

The introduction of the new squatting law means that the owner of a property no longer has to go through the courts to obtain an eviction order. Providing an official statement to the police will constitute sufficient grounds for an eviction to proceed dependent on approval from the Director of Public Prosecutions. If large-scale police presence is required, the ‘Amsterdam Triangle’ will set a date for the eviction taking into consideration the priority given to the property and police availability. Those present in the property during an eviction will usually be arrested and prosecuted.

Solving the vacant property problem?

The new law provides the City of Amsterdam with increased powers to fight the problem of vacant properties in the capital. The Amsterdam College of Aldermen will soon propose a new plan of action to reduce the amount of empty buildings in the city. Around 17% of office space in Amsterdam is currently empty and a large number of properties have been empty for a considerable time.

What are Schoolstraat doing about it?

Regardless what your views are on squatters/anti-squatters, this street has been people’s home for many years. And due to the complete ill repair of a lot of the houses, potential asbestos in the ground, a lot of the residences have maintained and improved the properties and looked after them. Maybe not to everyone’s taste, but it is certainly an interesting street

In fact there is also something quite unique about Schoolstraat ,which is missing in the world of online social networks, busy daily lives and the need for independence. Schoolstraat actually has a community. People KNOW each other, support each other and actually know their neighbours.

So all the residents of the Schoolstraat are coming together to celebrate their home and their street. And will be bringing you:


And just like the residents of Schoolstraat, I don’t want to call it a goodbye party at all, I think it will definitely be more of a celebration party.

Either way I suggest if you want to see a little piece of history,  you head down to Schoolstraat, for some fun, some music, entertainment, food and drinks, some shopping and to meet some really nice people. Who, actually maybe one day be your new neighbour.

How well do you know your neighbour’s?

How much do you love your street?


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