Motivation is a photography blog that discusses the creative aspects of photography. The posts will include thoughts about images and their interpretation, photographers and their work, technique, workflow, my ongoing projects, and perhaps even the occasional off topic rant.

The Demise Of Amsterdam's Snake House

A few months ago, I wrote two posts about the Snake House in Amsterdam entitled "The Snake House, Amsterdam" and "The Snake House - Follow Up". The Snake House, pictured below, was a building I photographed while visiting Amsterdam, but knew very little about.  It had such a fascinating looking facade that I tried to find out more, and as I wrote in the second post:

"It turns out that for many years the Snake House has been inhabited by squatting artists. Now, in Amsterdam, squatting apparently means something a little different than it does in the US. It means living cheaply and covering costs like heating and electricity, at least from what I can gather.  And the artist's living there made the first floor into something of an art and cultural center hosting events for the local community.

The Snake House is reported to have been inhabited by such squatters for over thirty years, long enough to make the building theirs (believe me, I don't have the slightest idea if this is truly the case based on Dutch law) but in 2010 squatting was made illegal.  In 2008 the building was bought by a group that wants to convert it into luxury condos (sound like a familiar story?). The court is apparently set to rule on the issue in January."


The Snake House in Amsterdam    © Howard Grill


So, how did the Snake House story end? I tried in vain for many months to find out. Only recently was I able to obtain some information and it doesn't turn out well for the squatting artists. Apparently the squatters lost the court case and the Snake House, as well as some of the surrounding buildings, were to be renovated and turned into 69 condos and 2000 square meters of office and retail space.

However, the artist/squatters did not leave without a fight which culminated in 19 arrests. Luckily there does not appear to have been any serious injuries sustained in the stand off. The full details can be found in this article from the NLTimes entitled "Amsterdam Squatter Demonstration Ends With 19 Arrests".  As you can see from the image below (from Zack Newmark of the NL Times), the Snake House will not be there on my next visit to Amsterdam.

The Demise Of Amsterdam's Snake House    © Zack Newmark / NL Times