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Trees at city nomads camp to be cut

Alex van Veen

9 March 2007 - The trees in the Hedonia city nomads camp may be cut, decided the Amsterdam court yesterday afternoon. Today, the contractor will enter the terrain in the Western Docklands to cut down trees amid caravans and houses.

As far as Dutch Railways Property is concerned, the city nomads of Hedonia leave today. The court tried to make the parties reach a settlement last Monday, but to no avail. Meanwhile, some 800 trees have already been cut at the terrain.

Although a permit has been issued to cut the trees, the camp may not yet be evicted. The court will make a ruling on that issue on 18 April. Nevertheless, the contractor has sawed down trees around the camp on Tuesday. When it became clear that they wanted to enter the city nomads’ terrain, lawyer J. van Broekhuyse started urgent legal proceedings.

On Tuesday afternoon, the court ruled that the Hedonia trees may be cut down as well. Any form of resistance on the part of the residence will be punished by a 250 euro fine, with a maximum of 15,000 euro. Cutting the trees may create a dangerous situation, since the caravans and habitations are surrounded by green areas. Van Broekhuyse speaks of an ‘inhuman situation’ being created by Dutch Railways Property.

The city nomads are currently in a state of shock. They think that the Dutch Railways are trying to discourage them from living at the terrain. “With the disappearance of the trees, Hedonia dies in silence”, fears Dado, one of the first Hedonia residents. Once the trees have been cut, the terrain will soon flood.

Accompanied by the police, the nomads took possession of the vacant terrain at the Westhavenweg and the Nieuwe Hemweg in 1990, after having been evicted from the former KNSM Island. At the time, Dutch Railways staff working at the nearby shunting-yard had no problem with the arrival of the nomads.

Previously published at Ravage Digitaal


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