ACU (Utrecht)

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ACU outside.jpg
General information
Statusmusic venue, social centre
AddressVoorstraat 71
Town or cityUtrecht
Coordinates52°05′42″N 5°07′19″E / 52.0950°N 5.1219°E / 52.0950; 5.1219Coordinates: 52°05′42″N 5°07′19″E / 52.0950°N 5.1219°E / 52.0950; 5.1219
Opened1935, squatted 1976
OwnerStichting Voorstaete

ACU is a political-cultural venue in the city centre of Utrecht, in the Netherlands.[1] The name ACU is derived from "Auto Centrale Utrecht" (Car Centre Utrecht) and is one of the many signs of its origin as an old squat. Nowadays it is still run by volunteers as an infoshop and social centre in order to keep it an independent and non-profit harbour within Utrecht's nightlife.[1][2]


The car centre ACU existed from 1935 to 1967. In 1976, the premises were squatted and adapted for habitation.[3] Over time, multiple small businesses settled there as well, for example a bike-shop. The residents started a cinema in the former showroom in 1979. After two years the cinema was replaced by a coffeehouse to be able to provide a public space for the squatting community. Eventually this developed into a venue providing a stage for local and international bands since 1985.

After almost being evicted the squatters realized the premises had to be bought. A foundation "stichting Voorstaete" was established to buy the property. In 1994 Stichting Voorstaete bought the ACU and the squatted premises around the corner, which now houses the hostel Strowis. After years of refurbishing the building, the ACU reopened in 1998, and was completed as the current venue in 1999.


The ACU hosts a wide range of activities including: anarchist library the Barricade, benefits, concerts, films, meetings poetry events, political info nights, queer events and a vegan restaurant.[4][5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Marks, Aisling (2015-05-02). "Squatting, Alternative Spaces, and Anti-capitalist Commons - A Socio-Spatial response to the Housing Crisis in Utrecht". Utrecht Meent Het #1. Utrecht. Retrieved 2019-03-21.
  2. ^ Pablo, Cabenda (2006-08-24). "Jennifer de Vaal (22) werkt viereneenhalf jaar bij politiek cultureel centrum ACU in Utrecht, en heeft 'geen flauw idee' hoeveel bezoekers er jaarlijks komen. Poppodium ACU". Volkskrant. Amsterdam. Retrieved 2019-03-21.
  3. ^ Pelser, Caroline. "Voorstraat 71-73 ACU Utrecht". Huizen aan het Janskerkhof. Retrieved 2019-03-21. Na enige jaren van leegstand werden Voorstraat 71 en Voorstraat 73 in 1976 gekraakt.
  4. ^ "About ACU". ACU. Retrieved 2019-03-21.
  5. ^ Poldervaart, Saskia (2006), "The connection between the squatter, queer and alterglobalization movement. The many diversities of multiculturalism", in Chateauvert, M (ed.), New Social Movements and Sexuality, Sofia: Bilitis Resource Center

External links[edit]