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Ungdomshuset (literally "the Youth House") is a historic building located in Copenhagen on Jagtvej 69, NÃ¸rrebro, and is currently functioning as an underground scene and rendezvous for different left wing political and social initiatives, concerts and festivals. The place has an extensive history as resort for the early, Danish labour movement and is today the centre of much debate, because of the persistent fight between the municipality of Copenhagen and the activists who have occupied the building throughout many years.
The building of Ungdomshuset was completed on the 12th of November 1897, although its name was at first "Folkets hus" which literally means "The People's House". At that time, the place functioned as one of the resorts for the then incipient labour movement in Copenhagen. Seeing that labour organisations were not very popular in the eyes of the authorities and reprisals often were carried out against them, the working class had to build their own headquarters and Folkets hus was the fourth of these to be built. Several demonstrations and meetings were rooted in Folkets hus, fx. The place played a great role in connection with the great demonstration against unemployment in 1918 where the workers stormed the Danish Stock Exchange, "BÃ¸rsen". In 1910, The Second International held the International Women's conference in this house, at which they declared 8th March as The International Women's Day.
During the 1950's it was still primarily the different sections, associations and unions of the labour movement that took lodgings in the house, even though all sorts of different activities took place, among others boxing meetings and end-of-season dances.
Several years later "Brugsen", a danish chain of supermarkets, bought Folkets hus, planning to tear down the building and build a supermarket in its place. However, as this was prohibited, due to the historic importance of the place, "Brugsen" sold the ground to the folk music ensemble "Tingluti" in 1978. For economic reasons Tingluti had to sell the ground to the municipality of Copenhagen after a number of years. The price back then was 700.000 Danish kroner.
In 1982 Folkets hus was assigned to a group of young people, the original founders of Ungdomshuset. Albeit, the municipality of Copenhagen did still own the building. The building was given its current name; Ungdomshuset.
In January 1996 Ungdomshuset was ravaged by a fire and the municipality of Copenhagen planned to tear down the building. This did not happen, and the building continued as Ungdomshuset.
Ungdomhuset faces eviction
In 1999 the building was set for sale to the highest bidder by the municipality. The company Human A/S bought the building in December 2000, but a change of ownership didn't take place before 2001, whereafter the independent Christian group "Faderhuset" officially claimed to be the owner. In August 2003 Faderhuset served a writ upon Ungdomshuset and its users and claimed ownership of the building and in December the same year the trial began at The Copenhagen County Court.
On January 7th 2004 the verdict from City Court came, stating that Faderhuset was in their right to sue four activists rather than Ungdomshuset itself, since Ungdomshuset function without a hierarchal management and are therefore not regarded as an organisation. However, the court denied Faderhuset the compensation.
Both sides appealed against the decision, Faderhuset demanding the compensation and Ungdomshuset demanding the future right of usage. The 28th of August 2006 the National Court states, like City Court, that the right of ownership and usage to Ungdomshuset belongs to Faderhuset and that they are free to order it evicted. And once again, Faderhuset wasn't to get the compensation they had demanded.
This decision originally ordered the current users out at 9:00 a.m. on December the 14th 2006. Ungdomshuset was also denied the possibility to take the case to the Supreme Court, meaning that there is no more options within legal system. The police however stated that they will not evict the activists until next year, 2007.
The group of activists, currently managing the house, have stated that they refuse to leave the house freely. The house has been barricaded, to prevent the authority from evicting them. Also, an open letter stating "Troublemakers of the World; We bid you Welcome!" has been sent to different autonomous groups around the world, asking for help defending the house, in case of an eviction.
- Official website (direct link to english news)
- nathue.dk - Photos from Ungdomshuset
- Youtube.com - Propaganda calling to action for ungdomshuset
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