Dutch squatting has its origins in the 1960s when many properties were left vacant despite of a severe housing shortage. In 1971 a court ruling opened the way for anyone to be allowed to squat an unoccupied house or building. At that time there were around 20,000 squatters in Amsterdam, a number that went down to 1,500.
After years of public discussion the recently elected government motioned a squatting ban and on October 1st 2010 squatting became a crime in the Netherlands. Authorities are planning on gradually evicting 200 squats in the capital.
While everybody is wondering where the changes in policies will lead to, it is interesting to have a look at one of the oldest and most successful squatting projects. Ruigoord, with its 38 years of history, remains an example of how a community can survive if freedom, responsibility and self-motivation go hand in hand.
This small village located in the industrial area of Amsterdam has been a sanctuary for many artists pursuing their own vision ever since it was squatted in the early 1970s. After a long political and legal struggle, Ruigoord is now officially recognized as a “cultural breeding zone”, a creative and social experiment.
Text and Photography by Inés Querido.
For more information visit the artist website.