Amsterdam no longer a city of squatters

Two years after the introduction of a ban on squatting, Amsterdam has just 23 squats left, the Parool reported at the weekend.

Since the ban came into force, 350 squats have been cleared, the paper says.
A number of prominent ones remain – such as the Tabaks building on the Spuistraat, painted with a giant snake.
‘Some of them are on the list to be cleared while others will not be emptied yet because the owner has no plans for them,’ police commissioner Leen Schaap told the paper. ‘There may be a Pole sitting in a flat somewhere that we are not aware of, but you can no longer call Amsterdam a squatters’ city.’
Criminal offence
Before the ban came into effect in October 2010, squatting was legal if a property has been empty for at least a year and if the squat was registered with the police.
The new law means squatters face up to a year in jail if they take over an empty building, double that if violence is involved. It has also been made easier for local authorities to take over empty buildings which have been left empty for long periods.
Squatting has long been a part of the Dutch political scene. In the movement’s heyday in the 1980s, there were some 20,000 squatters in the capital.
Is squatting justified when buildings have been left empty? Have your say in the comments box below.