Squatting history of Leiden mapped

The house where painter Rembrandt
was born used to stand here. The house was demolished to make room
for these luxury apartments. Squatters occupied the apartments, because people couldn’t afford to live here… And at the same time, there was a housing shortage. When an alderman came here to
commemorate Rembrandt’s birth… squatters threw a bucket of water over his head,
because they were so angry about the housing policy. Luckily for them, the alderman had a thick skin
and understood their anger. So there were no consequences. The research project is about squatters in Leiden. We have focused on the period from 1970-2010. Much has been written about squatting
in Leiden in this period. These newspapers have been digitised
and we went through them. We’ve mapped these squats
and collected them in an app. With this app, you can walk around Leiden
and see which buildings have been used as squats… by whom, and how long the squats lasted. The research shows that there was much more squatting going on outside Amsterdam. And also that the people who were squatting were much more diverse than we previously thought. Because when we look at the situation in Leiden,
we see that squatters were not only young people… but also elderly people, young families, artists. We also find funny stories in these papers. For instance, a group of squatters trying to occupy an old store. When they entered, they saw something in the
shop window that looked like a body. They rushed off to the police to tell them… but when police officers arrived to investigate,
they found out it was a mannequin. The squatters lost their building though. Many old newspapers have been digitised
and they’re a rich source of information. It takes a lot of time to process this information properly. The great thing about this project is that
students and lecturers did this work together… They learned from each other
and the result was this app. If you want to learn more about squatting in Leiden, download the app in the Google Play Store. And see for yourself which buildings
in Leiden have been squats. More information: www.krakeninleiden.nl (in Dutch)

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