The Snakehouse has been squatted since March 6, 1983 and derives its name from the brightly painted Snake mural on the facade of the building.
The mural was designed by Patries van Elsen in 1987 and painted and maintained by the residents.
Currently there are ten residents in the building, of which nine are creative professionals working in the cultural sector. This sector is also suffering significant funding cuts in the current political climate.
The City council has repeatedly stated the importance of creative initiatives and workspaces for artists and creatives in the inner city. They are working on temporary work places in the city through what is called a broedplaats (breeding place) program, but are still reluctant to provide a place for artists to live. The residents of the Snakehouse have created an efficient working and living space with shared practical facilities and joint maintenance of the property. Since the building was squatted in 1983, the residents have been working to try and get a legal status and recognition of the need for living and working space for artists under one roof.
The current owner, Housing Association "de Key", purchased the Snakehouse as a component of the "Tabak" Blocks.
The current residents have had limited opportunities to participate in the development of the plans as offered by the current owner. Their plans include only the commercial use of the ground floor, one or two person apartments for the higher income segment of the market and an underground parking garage with parking spaces for sale.
We believe there is no account being taken of the historical and cultural value of the buildings on the Spuistraat and the inhabitants of the Tobacco blocks.
Social housing, working where you live, creative springboards and initiatives and a colorful street view, are swept straight off the table by de Key.
Our goal is to continue to stimulate discussion about the development of this part of the Spuistraat with the current residents, the community, de Key and the City Council of Amsterdam.
To host these discussions we offer the use of our ground floor space "De Slang".
2013 is probably the year in which it will be clear whether the house is evicted and turned into free market living space, or if it can continue as a creative incubator. 2013 is the Year of the Snake, is it a good sign? In any case, we’ll make every effort to keep the Slangenpand. Do you want to stay updated? Do you want the Slangenpand to remain? Keep an eye on http://deslang.nl "
for more info about squat's history and the building itself visit here: http://deslang.nl/eng/about.html and for an article about squat here: http://www.amsterdo.com/insight/the-snakehouse-and-squatting