We’ve received another action report from our friends of the Anarcha-Feminist Group Amsterdam. This time they squatted a building to raise awareness and directly challenge the colonial and racist past and present of Netherlands. In response the riot police not only brutally evicted them but attempted to murder one of them. We present bellow their own account of the events followed by the original statement they released after occupying the building.
Solidarity with the Anarcha-Feminist Group Amsterdam! Death to the racist colonialist capitalist patriarchal state and the enforcers of its violence! ACAB all around the world!
What happened at Oudezijds Voorburgwal 136
This is going to be personal, this is going to be emotional.
We are people with feelings, with political convictions, with longing for freedom. Our struggle and our wounds are written and felt in our bodies. We are angry and we are sad, we are tired and we are determined. Evictions are public spectacles, collective traumas. Certain people are to blame. So we will name them and we will shame them.
Why we squatted Oudezijds Voorburgwal 136:
There are many reasons to squat. The line between personal reasons and political is – as always – blurred. We not only squat because of a need for affordable housing with an imagination of what this space could be, but also with anger towards the racism, colonialism and capitalism this building represents. Watch the video to see our political statement.
On the illegal eviction:
We don’t believe in justice under this racist, patriarchal, capitalist system. We don’t recognise its laws, courts or authority. Nobody needs more than the house they live in. All property is theft and everyone that needs a home should take it from those that have multiple houses- especially when they are not using them. Still, it seems worth mentioning that this was an illegal eviction. We are not surprised when those in power break their own laws; we quickly learned to expect it. We had been in the building already for 5 days and had made it our home, we provided the cops with evidence (see here: ). Initially, when the cops showed up (pretty soon after we dropped some banners), they said they would respect our house peace (“huisvrede”) and told us everything looked okay when we handed them the evidence. Only to come back a few hours later to inform us that the riot cops were on their way to evict us. We were told by the head of police that it was Femke Halsma the mayor of Amsterdam who called for the eviction, there is a clear conflict of interest there, as it is the Municipality that owns the building.
It took 12 riot vans and about 100 cops to evict the 3 people inside from our home and political space. Comrades and sympathetic bystanders got beaten by cops while rich neighbours sipped away at their chardonnay enjoying “the spectacle”, like our lives are some kind of entertainment. One of our comrades got snatched, beaten and abducted by plain-clothed cops (video on Twitter).
On the attempted murder of our comrade by the riot cops, their racism and the snitch ass neighbour from next door:
Some might have seen a picture or a video of one of our comrades hanging from a window on the 7th story of the building. Some bystanders might have watched it from across the street, we know you were watching too, Janny Alberts. If our comrade would have died, their death would have been on your hands too. Before going out of the window, while the riot cops were smashing our front door, the comrades inside were upstairs. When looking out of the window, the neighbour next door encouraged us to come to his house. We asked if we could come to his balcony and he replied by saying “Yes, of course” . Essentially, he told us he would provide us safety and help us escape. It was this that encouraged our comrade to climb out of the window. When we realised they were not going to be able to make the climb, we tried pulling them back up. It was at this moment that the riot cops grabbed us, the people who were holding our hanging comrade, and pulled us away, even though we stated multiple times that if we would let go, our comrade would fall and possibly die. It was luck, not care on the cops’ behalf, that caused our comrade to survive. Luckily, they landed on a little latch on the side of the building. If our comrade wouldn’t have landed there, or if they would have slipped and lost balance while falling down, they would have died. The cops tried to kill them. After the attempted murder of our comrade, they called us “tyfus wijven” twisted our wrists and pushed us down the stairs. The first thing the neighbour told our comrade, who was still standing on the little latch, was that they were under arrest. The arrest took place on the roof and was executed through the neighbour’s house. Later we would realize that he had already let the cops inside before he encouraged us to climb out – or maybe he was an undercover.
After being dragged away from our comrade, who was still in a dangerous situation on the rooftop, a male riot cop searched our black femme comrade, both inside the building and outside by the riot van. Even though she protested that she should be patted down by a female cop, they did not listen. Various cops inquired about 5 times whether our black comrade ‘had any sharp objects on her’. This question was not once asked about our two white comrades. Furthermore, an innocent black passerby got snatched and beaten by the cops without provocation.
By no means are we trying to say that this situation is exceptional. Cops are class traitors and racists. They are and have been murdering and harassing POC on our streets, in their houses and in prisons, whenever they can, whenever they feel like.
NV ZEEDIJK’s Green Light District is a state-sanctioned gentrification project paid for by tax payer’s money:
NV Zeedijk is a company largely owned by the municipality (78%), they bought the building on the Oudezijds Voorburgwal 136 with taxpayers money. Janny Alberts is the Director of NV Zeedijk. The municipality has been buying up places like this one from whom they see as “criminals”- (in our eyes all landlords are parasites, whether they are criminals or not, because all wealth is made through the exploitation of working-class people) to make the red light district “nicer”. In reality, NV Zeedijk’s “greenlight district campaign” is gentrification mixed with a good dose of greenwashing. They are pushing out the poor and the situation for sex workers, who are already in a precarious situation, is worsening. With the many windows closing, rent prices for the ones that left have gone up. Because of this, sex workers are forced to accept worse contracts. The municipality’s campaign of “cleaning up” the red light district is a campaign of social cleansing. Removing people they don’t like out of their sight.
Oudezijds Voorburgwal 136 used to be social housing. The families that lived there were forced to leave after the person, in whose name the original social rental contract was made, died. Though NV Zeedijk is still waiting for planning permission on permits and there are no clear plans with the building yet, it looks like they will build luxury apartments in a place that used to be social rent. The building was empty for 3 years when we squatted it, except for some property guardians (anti-kraak- property guardians are not tenants, they are guardians that live under precarious conditions and have signed away their tenant rights).
NV Zeedijk represents everything we resent. They use the language of being socially woke to cover up their social cleansing campaign. They evicted 3-4 families so that a supposedly environmentally friendly company can sell their over-priced soap bars. They left the top floors (the ones we were occupying) empty for three years. And they proudly display the slavery and colonialism The Netherlands participates in on their building.
What you can do to support:
Continue squatting, get involved with Anarcha-Feminist Group Amsterdam (https://afga.neocities.org/), do anti-racist work. Stand in solidarity with Marisella de Cuba ( https://vloerwerk.org/category/acties/ced/) and other anti-racist activists. Spread the word about NV zeedijk and the shady stuff they do, leave a review here (https://nl-nl.facebook.com/ZeedijkAmsterdam) for example. Leave a review at the ‘woke’ soap bar (https://www.instagram.com/naturebarsoap/).
Our email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here’s their original statement for the occupation of the building:
We, the Anarcha-Feminist Group Amsterdam, have squatted this building. Built in the 18th century, its front unashamedly displays a flashy engravement of Dutch colonizer Cornelis Tromp. This engravement depicts Tromp next to a young Black man who he kidnapped and enslaved. Tromp and his family gainded their riches through murder and exploitation of non-white people during colonial times, yet he continues to be honoured and depicted as a national hero.
Tromp is only one example of the terrors of colonialism. It is clear that the Dutch state and society continue to avoid confronting their violent colonial past. The effects of its exploitation have not disappeared with the supposed end of colonialism, rather racism has been institutionalized (de toeslagenaffaire being a recent example amongst many) and colonialism has been dislocated to prisons and the global south.
While the government is actively protecting these racist and colonial statues and symbols, honouring warlords and murders like J.P. Coen, Tromp and Michiel de Ruyter, POC fighting against racism and colonialism are actively being prosecuted by the state. Marisella de Cuba, a woman working on anti-racist and women’s struggles, was doxxed by facists on twitter and later fired from her job at CED. We stand in solidarity with Marisella and all other anti-racist activists fighting against colonialism.
In Amsterdam traces of colonialism are everywhere, from the racism ingrained in white people’s minds to recently renovated statues that glorify racist and colonisers. It is time to decolonise white minds and our city. Colonialism and capitalism cannot be separated. Colonialism provided the logic of exploitation, theft and cruelty that capitalism depends on.
Decolonize Amsterdam now!
This building used to be social housing, however three years ago the family that was living there got kicked out. As of the last 3 years, it has been empty except for the part that has been used by a gentrifying, pretending to be woke, soap bar. The plans that have been proposed but have not been approved yet consist of building even more expensive apartments. Meanwhile, student accommodation and social housing is still vastly unavailable for those who need it. We don’t need more houses for the rich, we need affordable housing for all.
Squat the rich!