‘What issue of private property? It’s empty!’ Stigmatization and self-image of squatters in Amsterdam

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By Zuzana Žurkinová

Before coming to Amsterdam for my Erasmus Programme, in search of accommodation and seeing the rent rates, I googled ‘squatting in Amsterdam’. Nothing intelligible popped up. I came across anti-squat agencies as well, but again I could not make much out of it; eventually I gave up. Once in Amsterdam, I had this urge to find out what it is all about, but I did not know how. Early on I met a girl, Sabrina, and we soon found we had common interests; she told me about this place – Joe’s Garage – where she was planning to help out cooking vegan dinners. Sounds good, I thought. She sent me a link where I signed up as volunteer. I did not hear back from them for quite some time, so I decided to stop by on a Wednesday, which their program described as ‘Lonely Collective Day’. The board outside the place said ‘free coffee and tea’. I entered and there was no one in, except the ‘bartender’. I wanted to start a conversation, but did not know how. Eventually I asked him what one of the posters said (‘Kraakspreekuur Oost’). He answered:

‘Kraken means squatting. This is an illegal squat. You could be arrested for being here.

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Subbacultcha! – a fungi process: How space is experienced within a youth subculture

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By Marije Peute

‘It’s about this permeation of… light. A sort of irradiating and unstoppable expulsion of darkness, or something. I don’t think that the only way to read the world in 2014 is as a fucking endless cycle of doom. That’s not how I want to work, you know.’ (Ben Frost)

The best ideas occur on surprising moments. Like when I figured out the main concept to connect all the pieces of my research together. I was writing for this paper in a café in Amsterdam while observing the hipness of it. In this case hip means that the space was full of natural colours, garments and textures. Every object was something in its own, probably handmade or at least old. The lights were of a designer sort. A girl walked in and caught my eye. She was neutrally dressed but still fashionable and good-looking. Her hair was short like a nun and she just wore a short black skirt, a white t-shirt, some sneakers and a denim jacket. Her appearance was, despite the neutral look, very strong. When I left to do some shopping, I saw her again. This time it took me much longer to notice her. This wasn’t because of my absentmindedness, but because she looked different in this space than the one I had seen her in before. The first space seemed to contain certain hipness in itself and everyone who could look slightly hip or fashionable got an extra glow of hipness when entering it. Outside on the street, blended in with all kinds of different looks, this glow disappears and someone returns to being normal. My point is that on this afternoon I discovered how important space is in the way people look and feel. Space is defined by the meanings that are attached to it (Navaro-Yashin 2007). This is certainly so for the subcultural spaces defined by Subbacultcha! Continue reading