Squatting in Europe has grown extensively during the past fifty years arising originally from lack of available housing. Squatters in Prague often make agreements with owners of the buildings in which they squat, and in the Czech Republic if permission is granted, squatters can occupy the premises. Squatters argue they take otherwise unusued, dilapidated buildings and put them to use. In Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, squatters enjoy varying degrees of legal protection. Free Christiania in Copenhagen is a former Army barracks that has been occupied by squatters since 1971. This month its occupants filed a legal challenge to prevent the Danish government from demolishing the building.
Some estimates claim up to on-sixth of the world’s population is living in a form of squatting due to lack of housing or inability to pay for housing. One can only wonder if more American businesses go under as a result of the recession will their buildings wind up becoming sites for squatters?