Also available in: Dutch

About us

29 jaar gekraakt en de opening van deSlang

History of the house

On March 6, 1983, the top 4 floors of 199 Spuistraat were squatted.

Up until the end of the 70’s, these floors had been rented to the General Dutch Press Agency (ANP) after which they moved to locations outside the center, after the departure of the large national newspapers, that were all previously situated in the area. The ground floor was used as a parking garage.
The property was owned by trader/speculator JK Leutscher.

Making the Property habitable

The residents connected the electricity and built new brick walls, plumbing, kitchens, showers and toilets. Plumbing was constructed through the property of the neighbors. The house has since been used as living and working space for 10 to 12 people involved in the cultural sectors.
Over the years artists, actors, musicians, designers, painters and other creatives have lived in and visited the Snakehouse.

1987 – First attempt at legalization

The City of Amsterdam worked together with the residents, to investigate whether the property could be converted into H.A.T. units (specially for single or two-person households). Following a feasibility study conducted by the council, it turned out that not enough H.A.T. units per floor could be achieved.


1st Painting of the Snakehouse facade

After 1987 Casco Plus scheme

deSlang - Kraakpand spuistraat 199 AmsterdamAfter 1987, a partnership between the City of Amsterdam, various housing associations and a number of squats the Casco Plus scheme was developed.
With the Casco Plus scheme the building renovation would be completed on a very basic level, while all the facilities, such as kitchens or bedrooms, would be built by the residents themselves.

The Amsterdam Centre for Housing (ASW) conducted negotiations on behalf of the residents with the broker Fris (on behalf the owner) with the aim that the city, within the Casco Plus scheme, would buy the house. After lengthy negotiations A.S.W. and Fris agreed that the residents would get a temporary lease from Leutscher, until the City of Amsterdam would purchase the property.
Eventually Leutscher refused to sign the contract but offered the possibility for the city to purchase the property within 5 years. Unfortunately he would not put this in writing.

In 1989, the Casco Plus scheme was adopted by Amsterdam City Council as an official regulation, and they tried to buy the building for the occupants.
Leutscher refused to sell the property to the city, as he had changed his mind. He said he had sold the economic ownership. The legal ownership remained in his hands.

1990 to 1997

1997 Re- painting of the Snakehouse facade

From 1990 to 1997, the residents were in a legal battle with Leutscher. All cases were decided in favor of the residents.
After the death of Leutscher in 1997, the residents attempted to buy the property from the heirs of Leutscher, however they never received a response to any of their offers. The squatters turned to the VAK groep (United Labor Kollective) in Utrecht to bid on the property. Even this effort was to no avail.

2001 De Vlieger

Through an obscure construction, the property came into the hands of Erik de Vlieger. The residents also approached the new owner to negotiate any legalization.
Erik De Vlieger showed interest in our ideas and indicated he thought it was important to support creative initiatives.
Unfortunately, the plans never saw the light of day, as De Vlieger’s business collapsed.

2008 De Key

The Key – The Pincipaal buys the Tabak I & II Blocks, a large row of houses in the Spuistraat.