The site of the Damrak16 has a long history, possibly almost as long as
the city of Amsterdam itself. Here is a very brief history of this
building, offering an insight into the historical, social and political
changes in which this occupied space is situated.

The original building was standing until 1647 when it was demolished. This
building had been designed by architect Philips Vingboons. It’s difficult
to ascertain for exactly how long this first building was standing, but we
can plausibly assume from the Dutch Hanseatic times of the 15th century.

Prior to the First World War the building was remodeled in 1906, and the
building was completed by 1913 shortly before Amsterdam’s suburban expansion during the war itself.

Once again the building was rebuilt sometime in the 1950′s. This was then a
living space on the upper floors, and business space on the ground floor.
In the early seventies the residents were evicted and the living spaces
were either taken for business or left empty.

In the early nineties the building was bought by Cronenberg, the largest
property developer in the Netherlands. Cronenberg have enjoyed a reputation of being one of the most aggressive and ruthless enterprises in Dutch real-estate history. During the nineties the 1st and 2nd floors were host to
numerous shelf companies, and housed the Randstad temporary employment agency, with the 3rd and 4th floors remaining empty and unused until occupation.

In 2000 the premises became headquarters of Chequepoint
Change, a currency conversion company that had its banking license
withdrawn in 2004 for money laundering, leaving the building empty.

In March 2006 the building was occupied, just a week before the Dutch were voting and reviewing the right of squatting.

We are not only claiming housing, but a social public space.
We intend identity as difference, a metamorphic structure.

Culture and occupation are political issues.
We are local (as a physical space in amsterdam) and international
(as a virtual network).
We are building a community of diversities (members of the group are from
Holland, Europe, Asia, Americas, Oceania, Miceland …)

We are trying to find ourselves out of the models.
We are a family, a community, a group.
We are a supporting structure for squatting in the centre of Amsterdam.
A supporting infrastructure for artists and developers.

The space presents a bar available for projects like ABC Coffee and Cake, a weekly peoples kitchen, the oPeRaTiNg tHeAtRe cinema, the SplusD development lab (with the d.r.0.p. developer in residence project), a dark room for photography printing, a graphic space, fast ADSL internet, workshop room, the Barefoot Clinic, the Oaxaca support group, the buttkraaker queer cabaret, art studios and more.
We are looking for an alternative.

We are in the process of setting up the following structures: audio and video streaming facilities, free digital consulting centre, graphics/printing/subtitling facilities, setup of
an autonomous grassroot internet radio-tv, experimental streaming node.

We aim to be a communication centre and open source developing pole.
A place where ideas can become action, an example of self determined autonomous zone in Europe and elsewhere.