The Open Atelier is official open and the process of creating the Subjective Atlas of Amsterdam continues! Last week, the activist group Verdedig Noord invited us to host the fifth workshop at the Rietwijker, in the Banne, Amsterdam Noord. The Rietwijker is the former neigbourhood community centre in the Banne where you can now find a theatre, small entrepreneurs, and music companies.
About Verdedig Noord
Verdedig Noord is a group of people who take action for Amsterdam Noord and against gentrification. They do this through art, activism, and campaigns with the aim of creating awareness among old and new Northerners so that they can relate better to each other. Their activism stems from their belief that the changes and improvements in Noord should not be at the expense of people who have lived here all their lives. In this, they take a critical stance towards gentrification which they believe only makes the differences between people greater. For Verdedig Noord, gentrification has so far manifested itself as a process of exclusion and expulsion. The group believes that it can be done differently, in the fields of housing, entrepreneurship, art, culture and education.
Welcome to the Noordside
In contrast with previous workshops, Verdedig Noord sat together as a group to brainstorm about what they would like to say about Noord. What makes Noord, Noord? What is beautiful, characteristic, and problematic about this place that they fight to protect? The conversation shifted from the partly rundown housing to what they consider to be the ‘beautiful ugly things’ that define public space in Noord (“mooie lelijke dingen”). At the same time, Noord has a rich cultural heritage that includes certain buildings, community centers, shops and gardens and local festivals. In their contributions to the Subjective Atlas of Amsterdam, the participants of this workshop would like to map these.
New economic trends and privatization
What these workshops have made clear is that Amsterdam is a city of contrasts. These are also apparent in Amsterdam Noord. For instance, the participants of the workshop pointed out that the trend of food delivery and shared economy has affected Amsterdam unequally. Shared vehicles (Felyx, Sixt, Greenwheels) and food delivery services (Thuisbezorgd, Getir, …) do not supply to the entirety of Noord. You can ride your Felyx scooter to Noorderpark, but not beyond. Privatization of public space and social housing is another phenomenon that they brought forward. More and more ‘for sale’ signs pop up in social housing neigbourhoods. This is also something that the action group ‘Niet Te Koop’ has been fighting since 2016, of which some of the members are part of.
In the coming weeks, the participants, the visual authors, will further develop their contributions. The results of this research of previous workshops are already on display in the Open Atelier at Arcam, and in the publication to be published in December 2022.