How the Court Case was Won

Cruquiusweg 86, squatted since March 2010

Cruquiusweg 86, squatted since March 2010

On December 15th, the Judge issued a definitive verdict about the squatters of Cruquiusweg 86. After 3 months of struggle, city officials at Stadsdeel Zeeburg could now officially feel reassured. The old car repair shop at Cruquiusweg 86 having been abandonned in 2008, it was squatted in March 2010, while waiting for renovations that never came.

The struggle with the City Council started with something as banal and innocuous as a barbecue in July 2011. It took a month for the Gemeente Amsterdam to express their disapproval, with a city official showing up at their door, introducing himself as “Johnny” (also known as the infamous John Stoelinga).

Summoms to appear in court were received by the Cruquiusweg 86 on October 5th, the very same day the squatters attended an information evening at Stadsdeel Zeeburg about the new rules and development plans for the neighbourhood. Among others Stichting Cruquius 2015 was present, and all in all there reigned a rather flashy atmosphere.

To introduce a saner, more realistic view amid all the ostentatiousness, the squatters distributed a pamphlet to the crowd (the text can be read here), also received by Thijs Reuten, municipal councillor Grote Projecten in Amsterdam East.

The date of the courtcase came around on October 19th. The city of Amsterdam and Drenth BV, the former renter, took the squatters to court on which we reported earlier.

A preliminary verdict was issued on October 27th, allowing the fire brigade to check the building. However, before the fire brigade appeared, the City Council sent, on November 11th, an unannounced team of experts in construction, who could suddenly be heard walking spookily over the roof from the inside of the house. They must have noticed some of the leaks in the roofing, but in case they were looking for the wood stove chimneys mentionned in court, it is certain none were found.

On November 16th, the local council produced a memo about the Cruquius squatters (to which we answered on the Inspraakavond of the 16th of January with a flyer).

Kopgebouw, fiascoop de Zeeburgerkade

The Harbour Club coming in the Wijn Terminal. A future sand beach in the Cruquiusgebied?

In this memo it transpires that for the Stadsdeel the construction of the Kopgebouw is basically a fait accompli, disregarding the fact that neighbourhood organisation Red Het Blauw is still involved in court-cases against some of the building permits, and that the economic crisis has stalled plans elsewhere in the city completely, which cannot be a good omen for a plan as ambitious as this one.

The Gemeente and project developer OCN (a joint venture of corporations Amvest and PFC²) together own 70% of the Cruquiusweg area. PFC², a company directed by Hans Woerlee and Rens Smid, is established on Cruquiusweg 111. The intentional speculation going on in the area means that land prices are going up. The money some greedy politicians at the Gemeente intend to invest in the neighbourhood is your money, the retirement money you hear about everyday on the radio.

Kopgebouw, fiasco op de Zeeburgerkade

Kopgebouw, another fiasco for Stadsdeel Oost?

It is clear that a small minority in the neighborhood will profit from a luxury marina and the Kopgebouw, but that the neighbourhood in general will hardly profit from these projects and others, like a newly planned nightclub on the beginning of the street.

The inspection of the squat at Cruquiusweg 86 by the fire brigade came around on November 23rd. In the report following a week later safety of the building was duely attested.

Finally, on December 15th, the judge announced the definitive verdict: It was a positive one for the squatters.

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