Amsterdam is in crisis. Housing is unaffordable. People with low and middle incomes are being chased out of the city. There is no room for young people. The commercialization of the center has attracted masses of tourists who make the city unlivable, while property owners, investors and large companies enrich themselves endlessly. There is no room for alternative culture. Amsterdam is losing its soul.
We, the collective Pak Mokum Terug! (Get Mokum Back!) are young Amsterdammers who have had enough. We no longer want to accept the trend that our city can only be inhabited by the rich. That economic and commercial interests are all-important. That we cannot shape our city, its culture, the way we live, ourselves. Therefore we claim the city, we claim the space for the people of Amsterdam, we take back Mokum.
That is why we are squatting in the former Marnix Hotel and founding a new Free Space (vrijplaats) there: Hotel Mokum. The Marnix Hotel, vacant and seriously neglected for years, stands for everything that has gone wrong in Amsterdam in recent years. The historic building is in the hands of foreign investors, has been used as a budget hotel to extract living space from the residents of Amsterdam for the sake of tourism, and for years has been so poorly maintained that it has become completely dilapidated. Now it is nothing more than an object for speculation, while for young people, workers, artists and people without property there is no longer a home to be found.
It is time for drastic measures to combat the housing crisis and preserve the soul of the city. Hotel Mokum will be a new cultural center for art, music, fun, activism, low-cost culture and freedom, and will also provide housing. Hotel Mokum is now open to anyone who shares our ideal that Free Spaces are indispensable for a living city: our ideal of an open, free and rebellious city that its inhabitants shape themselves. Because it is the Amsterdammers who make Amsterdam, not the speculators and multinationals who profit from it economically.
We want to turn the tide. We believe that free zones, rooted in the neighborhood, open to residents and their needs and initiatives, strengthen the city. We just can’t wait for the municipality to see that. We squat because the need is too high. We squat because we can no longer stand by while commercialization and gentrification tear the city apart. We squat because living is a right, not a privilege.
Hotel Mokum will be a place for the people of Amsterdam. Open and accessible, public and anti-commercial, where we will stage lively, original, surprising, disconcerting, combative, creative and innovative programs. Hotel Mokum is open: to local residents, interested parties, and fellow combatants.
Take back Mokum!
Pak Mokum Terug!
Some squats in the Netherlands: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/NL/squated/squat
Groups (social centers, collectives, squats) in the Netherlands: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/NL
Events in the Netherlands: https://radar.squat.net/en/events/country/NL