Kraken heeft Nederland vormgegeven

Political initiative / 2010

The Dutch Kraakwet was a unique expression of famed Dutch liberalism. Ruling that citizens may appropriate any real estate standing vacant for a minimum period, it helped mitigate the stress on an utterly overcrowded housing market. Particularly beneficial to creatives in search of production space, it also played a vital role in facilitating the large-scale manual research that characterises the Dutch creative output of the last decades.

When the law was put up for debate in 2009, public discussion focused on instances of misuse while no due was paid to its place in the biographies of the designers, artists and architects with whose success the country has been priding and strategically promoting itself since the 1990’s.

Since I had been fortunate myself to find my workspace through the conditions set in and around the law, it felt incongruous to me that this dimension be omitted. I therefore launched Kraaken heeft Nederland vormgegeven to lift into view the perspective of creatives working in Holland.

The initiative instantly received strong support from many of Holland’s most prominent creators and institutions. It produced various exhibitions and worked with the media to demonstrate how large a portion of Holland’s creative scene indeed had found the framework to begin their careers in the disputed law. A book of collected statements by the supporters on their experience with the law as part of their work biographies was given to the Dutch Senate.

The Kraakwet was eventually sacked by the center-right government in 2010.

KHNLV was shown at the NAi Rotterdam as part of the Architecture Biennale 2009. It was publicised on in Dutch and international news media and specialised press and has since featured in Dutch urbanist discourse.

Kraaken heeft Nederland vormgegeven (lit.: “Squatting designed the Netherlands”, various public and press activities, posters, book (silk screen print), 2009. See for a collection of documents