Saturday, May 8, 2010

Squatters in Amsterdam The Netherlands

Squatters in the Netherlands have been tolerated by Dutch authorities for three decades. The movement has undergone rapid expansion over the years, but now a new law has been proposed aimed at making the practice illegal. If its passed, squatters could face the prospect of a jail sentence.In 1979, police used an armored car to clear an occupied house in downtown Amsterdam. The squatter scene spread rapidly to cities such as Zurich and Berlin. Squatting was soon tolerated in Amsterdam following the initial tough response as long as the house had been empty for at least a year previously. But now that tolerance looks set to end, with a new law aimed at making occupying houses a criminal offense. The squatters do have some respite though the current Dutch government crisis means no decision will be taken until the elections in June. The squatters plan to use this time to stage repeated protests.