ABSTRACT

This chapter is an attempt to cover the development of squatting in the Netherlands from its spontaneous and experimental beginnings around 1963 to the present day. It describes how kraken (squatting) gained a measure of legitimacy based on shared norms and expectations, in other words, how it became socially institutionalized. My work sees squatting primarily as a means of practical empowerment. To make sense of the variety of squatting experiences, I previously proposed the following typology:1

(1) Deprivation-based squatting: middle-class activists helping poor people (2) Squatting as an alternative housing strategy: home seekers organizing

squatting for themselves (3) Conservational squatting: used as a tool to preserve a building, neigh-

bourhood, landscape or their function (especially social housing) (4) Entrepreneurial squatting: as a means to create any kind of establish-

ment, for example, a social centre (5) Political squatting: for an ulterior political goal, which involves gaining

power and the ability to make others do what you want them to do

The reason for choosing such a restrictive definition is analytical sharpness. The history of squatting in Amsterdam, and in the Netherlands in general, is a straight success story of squatting as an alternative housing strategy, that is, conservational and entrepreneurial squatting. The evidence on political squatting is much more ambivalent.