Hundreds of people gathered during housing protest in Amsterdam
Hundreds of people gathered on Dam Square in Amsterdam Sunday afternoon to demonstrate for the right to affordable housing. The demonstrators carried protest signs with inscriptions such as "Fix the housing market" and "landlords function elsewhere." They also shouted slogans such as "Legalize squatting, squatting continues."
De #Dam in Amsterdam is volgelopen voor het #WOONPROTEST Na afloop van de speeches volgt een demonstratieloop naar de #Stopera pic.twitter.com/3dbXyfSVDF— Robby Hiel (@PersburoUNN) February 26, 2023
The demonstration starts with speeches, followed by a march. According to a reporter on the scene, the atmosphere is friendly. On stage, organizers said the turnout is lower than the last time in 2021, when some 18,000 people took part in the demonstration against housing in Amsterdam's Westerpark. "But that doesn't matter, because what matters is that we make our statement," the organization said on Dam Square.
One of the demonstrators is 19-year-old Pippi from Dordrecht. She said she is forced to live with her parents because she cannot find affordable housing in Amsterdam. According to her, it is a "mess" in the housing market. She also explained she looked for a room in the capital for an internship, but only found a room with a stay-at-home wife for 900 euros a month.
"I'm here because two years ago I couldn't find a room in The Hague for eight months," said a student from Switzerland who wished to remain anonymous. "Because it was so difficult, I had to go back to my parents in Switzerland." The student said she has now found a room, "but with mold on the walls".
Hundreds of participants in a housing protest in the center of Amsterdam nevertheless held a march through the Kalverstraat on Sunday. Due to the low turnout, the route that the organization originally wanted to take could still be followed. The demonstrators were allowed to walk down the street in groups of up to four hundred people, the police reported on Sunday.
The organization reported earlier, when announcing the protest, that the march would go through Kalverstraat. "The busy Kalverstraat is a symbolic location, because there, right in the city center, thousands of square meters of habitable space are empty for the profits of large international retail companies and real estate investors," said Melissa Koutouzis, one of the organizers.
Earlier it was announced that the route of the march was changed because the organization did not agree with the conditions of the triangle of mayor, chief prosecutor and police chief. The organizers wanted to go from Dam Square through Kalverstraat, but later it was announced that the march would go from Dam Square through Rokin to Waterlooplein.
Authorities feared that security might be compromised due to the large number of participants and crowds because of the spring vacations and other reasons. Protesters were only allowed to walk down Kalverstraat in groups of 400 at a time, with a maximum of 2,000 participants. But the organizers of the housing protest did not want that.
Reporting by ANP