Title: De Vondelstraat: Verslagen van Radio STAD 29 februari - 3 maart 1980
Photographer(s): Various photographers
Writer(s): Joop Blom, Stan van Houcke, Thijs Lieffering, Heikelien Verrijn Stuart, Jan Haasbroek,Jan Carmiggelt
Editor(s): Jacques Janssen
Publisher(s): Van Gennep, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Size: 14,5 x 21 cm
Print: Drukkerijen De Busssy ellerman Harms bv, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Nation(s) and year(s) of Protest: The Netherlands,1980
3 March 1980: for the first time since the Second World War, tanks drive through Amsterdam to evacuate squatters.
There has been a housing shortage in Amsterdam since the Second World War. At the end of the 1970s there were 54,000 officially registered house seekers, in practice this figure is much higher for a number of reasons. Speculation with empty premises causes a lot of anger.
Since the mid-1970s there has been an organized squatter movement. Squatting' is possible because moving into a house or building that has been empty for more than a year is not a criminal offence. In principle, the police will not evict the property until the owner has won a civil case against the squatters. The legal ambiguities, however, lead to an escalation: on the one hand the police using violence during evictions, on the other hand the squatters who see less and less benefit in what they see as a bankrupt constitutional state.
29 February 1980: at nightfall, a building is occupied in Amsterdam's Vondelstraat.
The squat has been thoroughly prepared: a large demonstration in the city centre is intended to divert police attention away from the building. The crack succeeds. Three platoons of mobile units dispatched are driven away by a large group of squatters within 10 minutes. 53 officers are injured, 25 have to go to hospital. The entire encounter can be followed live for Amsterdammers via the local radio station Radio Stad Amsterdam. This channel will follow the events closely with extra broadcasts throughout the weekend and part of the negotiations will also take place via radio. After the departure of the Mobile Unit, the squatters start to build barricades around the building. They fear a quick return of the police. Construction work nearby provides material for barricades: from bricks to complete construction chains. The barricades completely block some transit routes in Amsterdam.
The Mobile Unit immediately tries to evacuate, but after a fierce battle must flee from a large number of squatters. There are traps tied to the side of ME 53. This is the beginning of an illustrious weekend, which ends with an action of over 1,000 police and army personnel. Tanks and the threat of snipers have to put an end to the occupation of an important traffic artery in Amsterdam.
The policemen with the help of the tanks cleared the squatters without firing a shot and so nobody was hurt, in the full Dutch attitude always seeking dialogue and persuasion.