Amsterdam housing scarcity protest set for Sunday; March down shopping street scrapped
The activist organization that scheduled a housing protest at Dam Square in Amsterdam on Sunday said the demonstration will no longer include a march through the Kalverstraat, one of the city’s primary shopping streets. The organization said it would not agree to conditions set by the mayor, and the heads of the district offices of the Public Prosecution Service and the police.
Instead, organizers announced an adjusted route for the protest march.
The authorities said they would allow demonstrators to walk down the shopping street from Dam Square in groups of up to 400 participants at a time. If the total number of demonstrators topped 2,000, the march to Waterlooplein would not be allowed to go through the shopping street at all. They would instead be marshaled down the Rokin.
Because the organization expects more than 2,000 participants, the protest’s leaders said they could not agree to the conditions in advance, a spokesperson said.
Earlier, city center entrepreneurs expressed their concerns about the march down the Kalverstraat. The organization of the protest clearly stated the shopping street was a focus, and that the "vacancy in floors above the shops in Kalverstraat is the reason for wanting to walk there in protest.”
But because it is expected to be busier than usual on Kalverstraat due to February school holiday, the authorities decided that the demonstrators could only walk through the street in smaller groups. Otherwise, public safety and security could not be guaranteed, authorities said.
The demonstration for the right to affordable housing starts on Sunday at 1 p.m. with a demonstration on Dam Square. This will be followed by a March Against Vacancy, which will now follow the Rokin towards the Amsterdam City Hall in the Stopera building.
A similar housing protest in 2021 in Amsterdam’s Westerpark drew 18,000 participants. There were also demonstrations against the housing shortage in Utrecht, The Hague, Arnhem, Leiden, Rotterdam, and elsewhere.
Reporting by ANP