|The Story of the Squatted OLVG + Eviction Activities|
|THE STORY OF THE SQUATTED OLVG|
The Anna and Maria Paviljoens, the only remaining buildings from Amsterdams? old main city hospital, the Onze Lieve Vrouwe Gasthuis, have been occupied since June 7th 1998. When they were originally squatted the idea was to provide ateliers for young artists needing working space as well as creating homes for people to live in a community environment. Presently there are about 50 people living in the buildings, including several families with children, and at least 30 using it for workshop space.
We often host parties, bands and other performances, and run an organic community cafe, info-shop. In the last months we have also been establishing areas which can be open to the public regularly once a week.
The OLVG Hospital (who own the buildings) and the area council intend to demolish the pavilions and construct in their place a car park, a chapel, and a kind of hotel for visitors of patients. This project is part of a very expensive larger plan to ?re-develop? the area, which includes cutting down more trees in the park opposite and on the streets, and ?modernising? the whole look of this area.
Two years ago the OLVG was given 175.000, guilders by the Ministry of Planning to research the possibilities of renovating the buildings instead of knocking them down. They never made the investigation and they never returned the money.
In court, legal battles concerning the buildings have been fought in two directions. One attempting to establish the pavilions as protected monuments, the other to prevent the eviction of those using and living in them. Two court cases have been brought by a neighbourhood campaign group to protect the buildings from demolition because of their historical value to the city. Both failed. This was in direct opposition to the ruling by three monument commissions declaring that the buildings must not be destroyed since they have great cultural, historical and architectural value. It was also despite the fact that the park and all the four sides facing it are supposed to be protected areas. During the most recent court case the Hospital ended up looking like fools when it was revealed that they do not yet have all the building or environmental permits necessary for the construction of the new buildings.
Nevertheless we lost this court case finally (who's ever heard of justice for the likes of us?) and after weeks of uncertainty and last minute attempts to delay the enevitable, we are now facing eviction.
Amsterdam prides itself on being a city of beauty, culture and tolerance. Yet those in power seem intent on systematically destroying these qualities. Creativity is not born from money- making schemes but comes out of grassroots activity. It?s no coincidence that some of the most exciting venues and the most socially valuable projects we have here in Amsterdam came out of the squatting movement. In the last fifteen years squatting has become more and more difficult, but the need for affordable housing, affordable working spaces, places for young people, social resources and cultural centres only increases.
What are the politicians, the council and the judges doing about this?.....They are evicting people instead of working with them, destroying areas of beauty, demolishing instead of renovating, creating new laws to further crush any opposition. The squatted OLVG buildings are a good example. Despite great public opposition to their plans, and despite the fact that a large group of people are using the buildings in a really positive way, the Hospital and the local authority are determined to go ahead with eviction and demolition. Financial interest seems to be their only consideration.
on Mon 18th Oct the OLVG ANTI-EVICTION LAST PARTY & BREAKFAST
Starts at midnight when several sound systems will play diverse music throughout the night until forced out onto the street. Followed by breakfast (around 6am) on Tuesday morning. This will then be followed by a funeral procession through the city to the Town Hall, to mourn the loss of our thriving community. The whole night (and breakfast) is free.
Come and join the spectacle, not to be missed! Special guests: a few hundred ME (Riot Police) - but don't let that put you off.
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