Update on Amsterdam's Op de Valreep

By shenny on Jun 23 2014 - 1:01am Tagged: Amsterdam, Squat, YL Project: A Gift for Amsterdam

On June 18, 2014 Op de Valreep which won Alert Fund's Most Valued Project Award, was evicted by city government but not before activists put up an epic thirteen hour resistance where riot cops had to break through massive barricades and angle grind loose more than 10 people out of lockons. The neighbourhood has lost her living room, the city has lost one of her very, very few last free spaces, the politic establishment has lost all their credibility and Valreep volunteers have lost their home. But as they told the Yes Men:

WE DIDN' T LOSE OUR IDEALS!

Read the Eviction timeline here.

Despite a major campaign in the run-up to the elections, where the posters of all political parties were spoofed…
Despite putting the city slogan "I AMsterdam" in massive three dimensional letters on top of the roof…
Despite going to the city council for the hundredth time with hundreds of sympathisers, thousands of signatures, and a fullsize brassband…
Despite the massive support from the neighbourhood, in the city, throughout the country…
Despite winning the Alert fund Most Valued Project Award…

…Despite all of that, the city stubbornly decided to evict social centre Op de Valreep, the peoples initiative that was free to everyone and was run for almost three years solely by volunteers and without subsidies.

The city government has NEVER granted Valreep's SINGLE demand: Let us present our plans and consider us for renting/buying the place. We have a valid businessplan and investors backing that plan.

The Valreep will probably remain empty for a year, or more likely a few years, or as the case may be much longer, as they will presumably focus on redevelopment of the surrounding grounds. Eventually it will be renovated into yet another posh grand cafe (for the elite).

Despite the sense of loss of Valreep, its crucial to look at what worked.Valreep volunteers wrote in that they were able to survive for three years by enacting a massive campaign which incorporated feedback from The Yes Men. The kind of person to person, online to on-the-ground collaboration, support and hard core organizing that the Action Switchboard is rolling out to the wider movement very soon.

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