Students squat house near city center

A group of WUR students has squatted a house in the Julianastraat.
The squatters put up a banner reading ‘niet gerenoveerd, wel gekraakt’ (meaning something like ‘Renovated? No. Squatted? Yes’). Photo Resource

The squatters consider it ridiculous that the social house on number 103 has been unoccupied  for over three years during a housing crisis. According to the owner, Woningstichting, the house is uninhabitable. Still, the students do not want to leave the squatted house until the renovations start.

The squat started on Friday, 2 February. Currently, three squatters live in the house but receive help from a larger group of supporters. ‘We think three people is a good number, because we don’t want to cause a disturbance for the neighbours.’ While the squatters have no problem being interviewed, they prefer to remain anonymous.

‘It makes no sense that, amidst a housing crisis, a house like this has been empty since 2020’, one of the squatters says. ‘That inspired us to squat this place.’ After entering the house, the group went around the neighbourhood to introduce themselves, hand out letters with information and invite people over for coffee or tea. ‘Overall, the response from the neighbourhood is good’, one of the squatters says. ‘Of course, some people have concerns because they never met squatters before. But we get a lot of positive responses as well. One neighbour offered us his Wi-Fi connection. Another gave me a home-knitted sweater to stay warm in this cold house—really nice! And because we are trying to get the Woningstichting to get started on renovations, we actually have the same aim as our neighbors. They have been waiting for renovations for a long time already. From what we have been told, there is another Woningstichting house in this street without central heating.’

Historic rental homes

Julianastraat 103 is one of 75 historic rental homes built around 1915, the Gelderlander writes. Because the houses are old, poorly insulated and drafty, the Woningstichting had plans to demolish them, which would be cheaper than renovation. After protests, however, these plans were changed. Now, the intention is to renovate the historic houses. But the starting date of the renovation remains uncertain.

Because the squatted house is an old townhouse with wooden floors and poor insulation, it is quite noisy. ‘Sound is quite a concern, especially because we don’t want to disturb our neighbours. That’s why we are working hard on soundproofing the place. We put rugs everywhere and are still looking for more rugs and old yoga mats to put under the rugs. We also want to put fabrics on the walls, like woollen blankets and curtains.’ Also, the group wants to take care of the garden. ‘Trees were growing through the tiles. There is so much ivy on the fence that the fence is almost falling over into the neighbours’ garden.’


The squatters use water, gas and electricity. ‘We have told the Woningstichting that we want a usage agreement because we want to pay for what we use. So far, they appear uninterested.’ As there is no heating, they keep warm by wearing warm sweaters. ‘Also, we are looking for deep plates, so we can eat soup to stay warm. So if you have some rugs, old yoga mats or deep plates, just drop by the house.’

A spokesperson of the Woningstichting told the Gelderlander that the roof of the house was full of holes and there was no central heating. ‘It is truly uninhabitable, that’s why no one was living there’, she said. The squatters disagree. ‘The house is quite inhabitable. Even with the severe rain recently, there were only minor leaks.’

The Woningstichting has filed a complaint against the squatters, but they have no plans to  leave the house soon. ‘We will leave fourteen days before the Woningstichting starts with the renovations.’

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