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(en) Holand, Leiden, Freeplace Koppenhinksteeg wins appeal at February 2004

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Tue, 14 Sep 2004 07:32:55 +0200 (CEST)

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Three and a half years after Leiden city council issued a building
permit for the Koppenhinksteeg and Hooglandsekerkgracht n the city
centre, judge E.R. Eggeraat has ruled that the permit should be
withdrawn. The social organisations housed in the Koppenhinksteeg
have got reason to celebrate as it means that their future in the street
is safe for now. Those people who attended the 2nd European
People’s Global Action (PGA), which conference took place in
2002, will remember this unique occupied street.
The judge ordered the withdrawal of the building permit for two reasons:

1. Procedural errors: six hundred and fifty people wrote letters of
objection to the building plans. All objectors received a standard letter
from the council wherein it was stated that the objections had no
grounds. According to the judge, all objectors should have received
an individual letter stating the reasons why their objections had no

2. The building plan for the street should never have been issued as
the development plan for the area was not correctly completed.
Without this development plan a building plan may not be issued.
This was enough reason for the judge to order the building plan to be
withdrawn. Because of this, the judge didn’t find it necessary to
look at the Freeplace organisations’ other reasons for appealing
the issuing of the building permit.

The Stichting Vrijplaats Koppenhinksteeg (Foundation Freeplace
Koppenhinksteeg) (SVK) hopes that this ruling, apart from
preventing the implementation of a dreadful building plan, will put
the wheels of the process which will lead to the legalisation of the
Freeplace in motion.

Background of Freeplace Koppenhinksteeg

The SVK was one of three organisations which appealed the building
plan. The foundation represents cultural social centre Bar & Boos and
the Eurodusnie collective. Some of the initiatives in the
Koppenhinksteeg are: multi-functional space “Las Vegas”, a
progressive bookshop, a vegan/organic food co-op, a concert hall and
practice area, a soup kitchen for the homeless, a sport hall and a free
shop. These activities attract around two thousand visitors a week.
The SVK was set up to fight for and eventually manage the
legalisation and rental of the Freeplace. The SVK has already
proposed to rent the building from the council and has come up with
a financial plan. Until this moment the council has refused to
seriously negotiate this plan.

The Freeplace dates back to around 1969 when artists and the
Chloroform Collective made use of some of the spaces on the
Koppenhinksteeg. Since that time many organisations have been
housed there, such as the Student and Action Group printers,
Catholic Working Youth, the Squatters Union, The FNV Youth
Union and the Youth Museum. As you can see, many groups and
volunteers have found a home in the Koppenhinksteeg in the past 35
Presently, around sixty volunteers are active in the Koppenhinksteeg
and come from all walks of life (young, old, homemakers, students,
pensioners, working, unemployed, Dutch and non-Dutch). Some of
them have been working for more than 20 years in the

The street has a rich social and cultural history, and the SVK was set
up because that history deserves a future in the Koppenhinksteeg.

Stichting Vrijplaats Koppenhinksteeg
Postbox 2228
2301 CE Leiden
The Netherlands


Copied from the Enodusnie anarchist collective
webpage: http://squat.net/eurodusnie/english/mainenglish.htm

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