[MS / Münster] Social centre opens its doors. The former Zollamt has been squatted

Zollamt: Wir haben ein Haus besetzt

We have squatted a house! What happened?

We have opened the doors to the old Hauptzollamt in the Sonnenstraße 85 in Münster, Germany on the second weekend of October for us and everybody! The building has been empty for several years. It costs, according to Westfälische Nachrichten (local newspaper), „several million.“ This is too expensive for us. But we would not give a single Euro for it either. We want the Zollamt to be a non-commercial space, for meetings, discussions and workshops, for art and music, a place for neighbourhood community and joint organisation. In short, this space is going to be transformed into a social centre – a space where everyone feels welcome.

Why occupy buildings in the first place?

Münster has a shortage of affordable living space and community-organised spaces. Instead the value of certain districts in the city is raised with construction investments, for example at the central station and in the neighbourhood of the harbour. By increasing the value of these districts, people and their living space (Lebensraum) is pushed to the margins of the city. This problem is not unique to Münster, it is a process which takes place in many cities of Germany and worldwide. Buildings are left empty in order to speculate with them, at the same time there is a lack of affordable living space and self-organised spaces. This kind of city-planning strives to maximise profits and is based on a logic which favours competition before social needs. For example, people with less money are often excluded and pushed to the outskirts. Social infrastructure provided by the council are often too bureaucratic, hard to change and leave no space for people to take part in the decision-making process.

A squatted house provides possibilities to experiment with alternatives we've chosen, independently from council and landlords. A city should be governed by the people who live in it! - We feel connected to the struggle for housing which happened in the past in Münster, for example the occupation in 1972 of the Grevenerstr. 31 and the occupation in 2000 of the Uppenbergschule. We show solidarity with local and worldwide squatting movements, because everywhere people take back houses and spaces that are otherwise left to rot. Squat the lot!

Let's open the doors to the mansions, palaces and sheds to create room for our dreams and wishes!

So what do we want to do in this house?

In order to build and sustain non-commercial structures we need space(s). The Zollamt should be a place for political, social and cultural organisation. Everybody should be able to take part – away from profit-oriented thinking, exploitation and authorities. We are reminded on a daily basis that we live in a world in which our ideas and wishes are hard to realise. This is why we need spaces for critical engagement, awareness of each other and continuous exchange. Only then we can figure out alternatives together and create a city, in which we like to live in.

Neighbourhood parties, bar, talks, bicycle workshop, self-defence courses, art exhibitions, samba-workshop, meetings, poetry-slam, discussion, Hartz IV consulting, food for everyone …. and many more! The programme needs YOU to exist!

We, who have opened the doors to the Zollamt on Friday October 9, invite the whole neighbourhood and everyone who wants to take part to make this house come alive!



We have squatted the former Hauptzollamt (custom office) in Münster!

 zollamt.blackblogs.org   E-mail: zollamt@riseup.net  Twitter: Zollamt

Follow hashtags: #zollamt #squatms