Forty years ago, the squatters’ movement put the housing shortage high on the political agenda by entering into a violent confrontation with the government. The 1980 riot year, which included the Vondelstraat riots and the Coronation riots in Amsterdam, was concluded in February 1981 with the Nijmegen Pierson riots.
I don’t experience a housing shortage now and I had to fight hard for that. Students and young people must stand up and stand up for themselves
Decades later, the squatters’ movement has been marginalized and instead, the Action Group Het Woonprotest is trying to get the housing shortage back on the political agenda through national protest. In its fight against the housing crisis, the group receives support from about 150 organizations, including SP Wageningen & Ede, PvdA Nijmegen and Student Alliance Wageningen.
How Jan-Frank Gerards looked death in the eye during the biggest squatters’ riot ever
In the four-part Pierson podcast of The Gelderlander journalist and historian Jasper van Gruijthuijsen talks with former squatter Jan-Frank Gerards (63) about the most violent squatters riot ever in the Netherlands: the Pierson riots in Nijmegen.
Why did Gerards risk his life forty years ago by pelting a tank with smoke bombs and stones? How could the resistance against the construction of a parking garage turn into a grim confrontation in which more than 2000 men, commandos, helicopters and tanks came to the Gelderland provincial town to evacuate fourteen homes and a warehouse?
From this Saturday, part 1 of the Piersonpodcast will be online. The podcast can be found above or can be listened to on Spotify. Part II will follow on September 11, part III will be online a week later to conclude September 25 with part IV.
If you replace the c’s with k’s or an sj, then the text on the website of Het Woonprotest seems to come straight from a cracking newspaper from decades ago. ‘For those who haven’t paid attention: we are in the middle of the largest housing shortage since the Second World War. The current situation is a big cluster fuck; House prices are experiencing a record increase about every quarter and there is a very urgent shortage of social rental housing. Millions of people are experiencing the negative consequences of this.”