Nieuws - 22 september 2010

Squatters in De Dreijen building

A group of squatters took over the glass instruments factory on the Verbindingsweg in Wageningen on the evening of Monday 21 September, in protest against disused buildings.

'The university has had a lot of building demolished recently', says squatter Sarah. 'But first they stand empty for a while when people could be living in them. This campaign is not specifically about student housing, but about disused buildings in general.'

Four residents
The squatters' entry into the building went off peacefully, says Sarah. 'Yesterday we reported the fact that the building was disused, but the police have not been around yet. The building has been empty for one and a half to two years. We haven't heard anything from the university either.'
Four people intend to live in the building, two of them students. Sarah: 'It is one big room with two smaller ones leading off it. There is a shower and a toilet and a corner where we can make a kitchen. We have settled in nicely.'

Early on Tuesday afternoon, Wageningen UR spokesman Simon Vink was not yet aware of the squat. His initial response was: 'Squatting in illegal, so they will have to get out.'
Vink is right up to a point. On 1 June 2010 a law was passed making squatting illegal. But the law only takes effect from 1 October. Squatters can face a maximum of one year's prison sentence.
The Wageningen town council passed a motion in June urging the exercise of restraint in applying the squatting ban.