I am sharing images of abandoned houses in Amsterdam, which are decaying. Decay is Thursday Special Theme at Paula’s blog, Lost in Translation.  I wasn’t sure on what to post. Struck by luck, when returning home last Friday, I passed in front of these abandoned houses.

Some of them have been occupied by squatters. Squatters occupy abandoned or unoccupied area of land and/or a building – usually residential – that they don’t own, rent or have lawful permission to use.

There are many residential squats in Dutch cities. We call it ‘Kraken’ in Dutch. Dutch squatters use the term krakers to refer to people who squat houses with the aim of living in them (as opposed to people who break into buildings for the purpose of vandalism or theft).

This house has been occupied by squatters for some years.


Squatting begun around 1964 and became legal in the Netherlands in 1971, after a ruling by the Supreme Court. There were several moves to ban squatting in the past. In 2006, there was a political divide in the houses of parliament to ban or not squatting.  Squatters made nationwide protests.

House not occupied by squatters.

A building could be used legally by squatters if it was empty and not in use for twelve months, and the owner had no pressing need to use it. Forcing an entry, was illegal though.

Once the building was squatted,  the owner would receive a letter and the police would inspect the squat. The police checked whether the place was indeed lived in by the squatter. In legal terms, this means there must be a bed, a chair, a table and a working lock on the door which the squatter can open and close.

In 2010, the squatting ban was accepted by both houses of Parliament and became illegal and punishable.  Protests and riots by the squatters followed in Amsterdam.

In 2011, the Supreme Court of the Netherlands decided that the legally forced end of squatting can only occur after an intervention of a judge.

It is very common to see empty office buildings being temporarily occupied by youngsters, in agreement with the owners, just to prevent squatting.



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Sharing sights & insights captured with diverse angles. Ex-corporate, now my own boss. Cycling, hiking, cooking, reading, yoga, writing and photography, are no longer only hobbies listed on my resume. It's what I do when I want.

42 thoughts on “Decay

  1. A very interesting story, Lucile. It’s better than they are in abandoned houses than under some bridge somewhere, but using others’ property even if abandoned is not my idea of living. I have a feeling squatters made a choice to live this way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Paula. From what I know, it is a life choice. They are a mix of people, from students without money, to artistic types, political activists against capitalism and alike, migrants, travelers, etc.


  2. Hmmmnn, it’s interesting. I like that they get kids to occupy office buildings to stop squatters from coming in. The colours are so vivid! A great find on your way home. This prompt is tricky for me, I’ll see what I can spot this week.


  3. Beautiful to see how those colors make them come alive! I guess some of them are occupied by a bunch of artists, as it is in France too.. Great pictures, the second one is stunning!


  4. I like the idea of having someone legally stay in the building to prevent squatters. I’m with Paula in feeling uncomfortable with the idea of living in someone else’s property. Why couldn’t the squatters make an arrangement to live there and keep the place in shape until it’s sold or rented? In the US, many homeless people, whom I’m assuming would be squatters, have drug or mental problems, not the people you might like in your property. Interesting post, Lucile, and lovely photos.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. What you suggested is what the ones authorized to live there do. They protect the place against illegal invasion and stay there until the place is used again. Sometimes buildings are empty while waiting for new occupants, like office spaces, and sometimes there will be a massive renovation.
      The occupants here are a mix of people, from students without money, to artistic types, political activists against capitalism and alike, migrants, travelers, etc.
      I am happy you liked the post. Thanks, Janet, for visiting and commenting.


  5. The youngsters are not considered squatters? If it is unoccupied and of no use to anyone, someone should be able to stay there. Everyone needs some sort of shelter and the blue building is so very pretty, even if it is in decay. Beautiful photos, Lucile.


    1. No, because they are authorized to live there for a fixed and short term, while the building is not occupied yet. It could be just waiting for new tenants.
      The tricky thing is that the squatters occupy any building, not only the abandoned ones. That is why property owners make these arrangements because students without money prefer that than to live somewhere far away. Amsterdam property is very pricey and renting in the city is not affordable for students. Even if they jump from building to building, they prefer this life style.
      There is shelter for homeless people. So, the squatters are to exactly what you would call homeless. They are a mix of people, from students without money, to artistic types, political activists against capitalism and alike, migrants, travelers, etc.
      Thanks for dropping by and for your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Funny how art can transform the ugliness on the outside. Seems like squatting helps Amsterdam if the owners can tolerate it. The US could learn some lessons here. Thanks for sharing these really amazing photos!


    1. Well, squatting is not helping owners because they have a hard time to expel the people out of the buildings and they have all the property costs, legal costs and taxes to pay, while they live there for free.
      The ones who live there temporarily and in agreement with owners, are making a win-win deal. Affordable living, and protecting the property. Good deal.
      Thanks for your comment, Terri.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. It’s quite different indeed. It’s amazing to see that even having become illegal, hasn’t affected the mindset of the squatters. They defy the law and make a bet that some judge will agree with them.
          Property owners spent a lot with security.

          Liked by 1 person

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