October 31, 2021… Halloween for some, but in Nijmegen it was time for a housing protest. Host Benedicte Mbala-Nguyen made it very clear everybody should feel safe and stay safe. There were stewards available in case you didn’t feel it. Lilian Seip, representing the Bond Precaire Woonvormen, explained the undercover cops wore stickers of the organization on their jackets in Rotterdam. Jos Kersten, director of the Zelfregiecentrum Nijmegen, explained how difficult it is for a disabled person the get a suitable house. When a different house is needed it is very unlikely you can get that in the same neighbourhood where you whole support system is if you can stay in the same town.
Alina Bijl, chair of FNV Young & United, Nol van Gerven, Landelijke Studentenvakbond, and Kayleigh Hofstede, chair of the Studentenvakbond AKKU, all talked about student housing issues and that the universities do not see that as their problem.
Cees de Beer, night major of Nijmegen, talking about what he sees on the street with the homeless. Michael had some time think after his speech in Arnhem. He pointed out how ridiculous it is that building more houses is a solution while 100,000 buildings are empty which could be used today! And he put a finger on the lawyers and real estate agents who use beautiful big houses on the most expensive places in the city… as an office. Davey Essers represented the Nijmeegse wooncoalitie, a group of organizations and political parties who try to change the system and situation bottom up as they other way around doesn’t work.
The march through the city was short, but it was an important message. It went through historic streets when it comes to housing protests. In 1980 the city counsel wanted to build a new parking in the centre. To make that possible 14 houses needed to be demolished against the will of the people living there. When a family left the house was occupied by activists. In the end it resulted in war with the police and army. Read all about it! (if you don’t understand Dutch… no problem, the photos in the article say more than enough.)
No protest without music! Kladderadatsch was blowing up a swinging storm at Plein 1944.