Wassenaar. Netherlands. February 15. 2022. Today, there was a hearing at the Raad van State in The Hague, which will decide the future of Huize Ivicke. The villa in Wassenaar that has been squatted for three and a half years is threatened with eviction because the building is officially designated as an office. In a court case on December 20th, the administrative judge in The Hague decided that vacancy was more appropriate than occupation, to which the residents have filed an appeal. To prevent an eviction before the date of the higher appeal, they have applied for a so-called preliminary injunction. This request was heard today by the Raad van State. The lawsuit is between the residents of Ivicke and the municipality of Wassenaar, with the latter wanting an immediate end of the occupation in violation of the zoning plan.
Originally published by Indymedia NL.
During the ruling on December 20th, the judge hardly considered the interests of the residents. In administrative law it has long been customary that little attention is paid to interests and results of decisions, but rather to the legal aspects of a case. As a result of the “toeslagenaffaire,” however, the Raad van State realised last year that the concrete consequences of their decisions are also somewhat important. Based on this, the residents argue that their interest to not be thrown out into the street must weigh more heavily. On the other side, the municipality apparently found the interests of the residents sufficiently dealt with and considers the enforcement of an abstract zoning plan and eviction for vacancy to be more important.
Then there is the third party of the lawsuit: the owner of Huize Ivicke. They claim that they are planning to transform the house into an office space for their own company. The administrative judge considered this enough reason to assume that Ivicke will not be vacant once again. However, the reputation of the owner gives more than enough reason to think otherwise. For the hearing, the owner, Ronnie “Slum King” van de Putte, who has allowed the building to decay, has never developed anything, and whose vacant buildings regularly burn down “just like that” and so has come up with a few contradictory A4 pages to make his case. He did not apply for permits for any of his plans, either. As a reason, his lawyer claims that this is not possible while the house is still squatted, which of course is complete nonsense. The residents argue that the interests of the owner should also be considered, and that in this case they clearly do not amount to much. It was clear that even the municipality had a hard time believing that the owner would now suddenly start to put his money where his mouth is.
Finally, the judge asked the municipality and the owner the question that was at the core of the hearing: “How big of a deal would waiting with the eviction until the higher appeal be?” Both parties offered responses that were barely convincing: The municipality argued that the whole process had already been going on for too long and the lawyer of the owner started talking about people who get kicked out of their holiday homes before the judge reminded him that this had nothing to do with the question at hand. In the end, the lawyer admitted that the only disadvantage would be some financial loss for his client’s company. The final statement of one of the residents again made it clear that they would in fact be gravely and irreparably affected by an enforcement before the higher appeal. Becoming homeless is undoubtedly shit, after all.
At the end of the hearing, the judge declared that he would come with the verdict within two weeks, but earlier if possible. This means two weeks of insecurity for the residents of Ivicke. Some aspects of the hearing allow for a hopeful feeling, while others have more of a negative tint: It could go either way. We remain prepared for the worst. Keep an eye on the website for updates in the next two weeks. Ivicke will not make way for vacancy and speculation.