As part of a bachelor course on the history of Amsterdam's postwar housing market, ACUH organizes a screening of 'De stad was van ons' (1996, 115 min) followed by a Q&A with René Boer. The documentary tells the story of Amsterdam's infamous squatting scene between 1975 and 1988 through interviews with squatters of the first hour, for whom political battle was more important than living space.
As almost any other Western city, Amsterdam was falling on hard times during the 1970s. Throughout the decade, a net number of more than 10,000 residents and 250 companies annually exchanged the inner city for the suburbs. They left behind an impoverished population of students, senior citizens and migrants, who had to cope with a crumbling housing stock and struggling public utilities.
Taking matters into their own hands, young people resorted to the occupation of vacant buildings. By doing so they protested against the lack in proper housing as well as shady real estate transactions and property speculation. Soon enough their squatting actions let to violent clashes with the authorities, most notably during the coronation of queen Beatrix in 1980 and the eviction of the Vondelstraat and Lucky Luijk squats. 'De stad was van ons' unravels the history of Amsterdam's squatting movement, which eventually collapsed under internal conflicts over ideology and pragmatism.
Together with René Boer, curator of the 'Architecture of Appropriation' exhibition and member of the Failed Architecture collective, we will discuss the rise and fall of the Dutch squatting movement. The film is subtitled in English but the Q&A is in Dutch, followed by drinks.