The peoples of the website grutjes.nl made a radio-show about the eviction of the ADM (in Dutch)
You can listen to that show here
This is the English translation:
The Disney-fication of Amsterdam; The fairy tale of ice queen Halsema, greedy wolves and the lost tribe of the ADM
There was once a country,
A poor country, full of stuff, cars, and roads, and buildings that obstruct your view.
A country rich in poor people, but also bursting with wealthy people, and it seemed like those rich people had more stuff than the rest all together. But still it was a poor country, because there was hardly any love, and you were free to do what you wanted, but only if you did a decent job, did not act weird and wanted exactly the same as your neighbor.
In the industrial wastelands around the largest city of that country, a deserted port languished. A port with a dry dock, to repair ships.
Once the city had put a lot of money in that harbor, because people worked in the harbor, and everyone knows that it only goes well with people who get up exactly on time every day, just before they have slept enough, to get very quickly through busy traffic to a place where a boss orders them what to do all day, even if they do not feel like it.
That's good for people.
People who just stand up when they feel like it, and who only do things because they themselves think it is sensible, are of course deeply unhappy. Before you know it they want something different than their neighbor, and we should all not want that.
And so the city had given a lot of money to the port, so that more people could be kept at work, to the clock and to the boss.
But alas, this is a sad fairy tale, and so the money from the city did not help. The port went bankrupt, the employees had to sit at home ashamed because they had become unemployed, and after a while even uncut grass grew between the old tiles, where no one ever walked.
The ADM is created
Although ... Look: people come in, in a boat!
On closer inspection ... people? They look so wild ... they have not even combed their hair! And they are all different, and none wears a tie.
Uh oh, children, would that be okay?
The wild people get out of the boats. There are quite a lot of them. Some are starting to clean the ground, others are repairing the roofs of the two old buildings that are still in the harbor, and ... what are they doing? Yes, they are going to live there!
And it soon becomes clear that the port has become a small village in the city. A village with not so many things, but a lot of love, and all freedom. A village of weird einzelgängers that go together from now on. A village of artists and bon vivants. Of Suwanne and her friends.
And do you know what's the worst? They do and all make things! Festivals, art, music, joy and freakiness. They even help poor people without asking money for it!
There is a new destination for the ADM, the Amsterdam Drydock Company.
There are also kings, market traders and villains in a fairy tale. But alas, this seems real life, and in real life those three are often the same.
The first villain now brutally enters our fairy tale. It is Bertus Lüske, a speculator and a Mafia boss. He bought the ADM port from the city. For very little money, provided that the site would at all times remain for shipbuilding or repair.
Bertus Lüske is not just a speculator: his name was mentioned by the parliamentary inquiry committee Van Traa, as one of the 16 people who lead criminal organizations.
And that is true. Lüske lets a bulldozer drive right through the building very early in the morning, where people are still sleeping. It is pure luck that everyone survives. The police arrests him for attempted manslaughter. He is later also convicted for this.
Five years later, Bulldozer Lüske is being shot by his criminal friends, in front of his wife and child.
The heirs of Lüske, however, have exactly the same plan as Bertus. To get the terrain evicted as soon as possible with an excuse or with brute force and to get rid of the perpetual clause as well. Because they are still stuck to the condition that the site must at all times remain destined for shipbuilding or repair. But if they can get rid of it, the terrain is worth millions more. Millions of community money, which the city once had allocated for employment in the port, selling it far too cheaply to the port company.
Many years of procedures and situations, and occasional peace of mind. The ADM establishes itself as an internationally known name, including with the Robodock festival.
The first time I was there I did not know what I saw. Just when I walked into a huge shed, and in the semi-darkness above me, under the high ceiling, I saw something move ... it was a huge shark, a robotic shark that swam slowly through the air.
Last summer I was even sitting on a moving and steerable bench seat. I saw fire which extinguished itself with water, and which nevertheless continued to burn. A garbage can that lived. A band that did not just play, but that whipped up the audience so that it became a pagan ritual, with a drummer who was literally playing high above the people, drum kit and chair being raised into the air by the audience, while band members bombarded each other with fire . I saw a fire-breathing dragon of more than twelve meters, made of moving steel. I saw people coming home when they did not know they belonged here before. I saw people flourish, smile as a child, suddenly find their wonder about the world.
I saw people who worked hard, who did everything themselves with very little means, who accept all the hard consequences without outside help, but who were free, full of love and independent. They not only helped each other, as a close community, but also others, up to and including large aid transports to refugees in Greece.
But the procedures continued. And Chidda, the company of Villain Bertus, meanwhile of the heirs of the Mafia boss, came up with the following excuse; They had found a tenant: Koole BV. Whether they really want to do something or not is not clear, but it is certain that they want to do it. No shipbuilding, but demolishing and asbestos removal.
That is not allowed by the perpetual clause. So the residents went to the hottest magistrate in the country to ask for justice.
But this fairy tale seems like real life, and in real life there is little difference between crooks, kings, magistrates, aldermen and merchants. And the magistrate said: I'm not saying whether Chidda should keep to the perpetual clause, because you residents have no interested at all! You only live there!
And another magistrate screamed out: We'll get rid of you, filthy scum, freebooters, nasty artists! You will be evicted, especially at Christmas!
There was a slight delay. We'll get you out on 8 January at the earliest, the city guard said, but at the latest the 15th, and then it's really over with.
The 130 residents were promised replacement housing. But what they got from Alderman Kock was a small temporary spot on the sludge fields: heavily polluted, bare ground where your caravan sinks into, only place for a small part of the people, a few run down toilets and not even a shower. The alderman really hates free people, and thus he has rules: no fire, no party, no culture, no joy. And after two years be gone!
There was despair for the ADM. Should they sink the boats? Did they have to give up all freedom? Were they not allowed to work anymore? No more living?
Was there no one who listened?
But all the help that the ADM had given to others came back. Even the ConcertGebouw Orchestra gave a private concert as a birthday present, in this according to the Speculators' newspaper, of course, incredibly dangerous "squatters' nest".
And a Greek lawyer, who, just like the ADM, helped refugees, came to the rescue. She wrote a letter to the highest boss of the whole world. The United Nations. And what no one expected was happening anyway: the United Nations replied, and asked not to evict until she could check that everything was correct.
Ha, Alderman Kock said. It is only a request. I shrug my shoulders about that. That the UN calls all its orders requests, may it be so. The UN, and human rights, that is something that we are only talking about when it comes to other kings, that does not apply to us!
Fortunately, the city just had elections in the meantime. A fascist was also elected to the council, but the majority was left and formed the city council. Finally there was hope! The new city council decided: we want to keep the fringes of the city!
They chose a new Queen, and that shone like no one ever before. Heil Halsema, oh savior of the people!
And the lovely Halsema, spoke: Mirror, mirror, who is the most beautiful in the country?
And the mirror spoke: Suwanne.
And Halsema got enraged. But she controlled herself, took a bowl of apples and her sweetest smile, and said three weeks ago:
"Our city can be a place where people without power make history and culture. A place of hope. A place where we value our heritage and cherish our history. (...) our tradition as an artistic and free city. "
A week later Halsema showed what those words mean, and she evicted ADM Amsterdam.
Not on the eighth, as the police had promised, but on the seventh. Many residents had already packed most of the belongings, but had not yet driven away, because they thought they had another day. Others did not think they would be evicted at all, because the UN had even sent a second letter with the compelling request not to do so.
But the police came anyway.
Resident Jet: I suddenly heard a rumor about early eviction the night before the seventh. Some believed it, others did not. I got up at 5 am to help. I help a neighbor to load his trailer with all his belongings, and did hook it behind my tractor. They did indeed arrive at nine o'clock. With great violence. Me and my neighbor throw in his most important things, and want to drive off to evict the area as they want."
But that's not allowed. The police instructs people to leave all cars and belongings, and to leave immediately. There are also guardsmen around of Chidda. "You can pick up the items later," they say.
If the residents are outside, even while the police are cutting a single occupant who refuses to leave out of a work of art, the Koole- and Chidda demolition vehicles are driving onto the terrain. The spokesperson for Chidda says to the press: Yes, we immediately demolish everything, whatever it is. So they can no longer enter it.
Then the demolishers begin. They demolish everything. The two buildings, the self-built houses, the trailers with things, the art, everything is lost except the clothes that the people who are outside are still wearing.
The police is just looking at it. Halsema will let the demolition continue for two days. Then she says: Oh, I didn't know this! This is not allowed, people may never destroy other people's stuff.
There is already nothing left.
The press writes the words of Chidda's spokesman as if he were god, instead of a crook. They even write that the squatters caused millions of damage to the site. But where? On the bare ground? At the main building, where Bertus Lüske let a bulldozer drive into while people were sleeping in it? At the side building, which Chidda immediately demolished with people's stuff in it?
The angriest newspaper of the sad country even writes that three Molotov cocktails have been found. That can be right, they are the remainder of the ADM winter games, where all sorts of crazy games and boy scouts competitions were held, including throwing crazy colored Molotov cocktails. You can view the images online. A resident had kept a few as a memento, including a sticker with the text "Winter Games." They were among the belongings he had to leave behind, on orders of the police.
The press does not or hardly writes about the fact that residents were also bothered and intimidated before the eviction:
For example, the Queen had all entrepreneurs in the neighborhood warned by letter against the ADM residents. While her municipal board has stated that she protects fringes, she does everything she can to prevent one from ever developing again.
For example, everyone who was present during the eviction lost the right to replacement 'living space' on the bare sludge fields.
Even direct blackmail was not avoided: civil servants called parents and threatened with taking away their children from them if they did not leave the grounds voluntarily.
Satisfied, warm, friendly and social
Queen Halsema is satisfied. Everyone still finds her warm, friendly and social. Icy she smiles in the mirror, who must admit that she is the most beautiful in town, now that Suwanne and her village have been evicted.
"Sorry if I stink," she says smiling a few days later, "but I have just cuddled 200 homeless people."
Alderman Udo Kock is not done yet. He thinks that he still can get rid off the last bits of creativity and freedom from the groomed city, with his forms and his officials. He has sent his Dorknopers to the sludge fields, where a few rescued trailers are out in the cold, and stricken residents try to keep themselves and each other afloat.
"It has been agreed, and I think the committee knows that individual tolerance decisions will be distributed and have to be signed."
And almost no one has those papers, and so they have to leave now, away, away.
On the street.
The groomed street, with good citizens with papers, who get up a little earlier every day than they want, to stand in a hurry in a traffic jam, on their way to their bosses, who tell them what to do and how they should be, even though they do not feel like it. Where they spend all their energy on uncertain work that often does not really matter. Then to go back to the house, exhausted, in the city that seems to have been conceived by Disney, but which is governed by big companies, small aldermen and an ugly queen, who hate freedom and are afraid that it is contagious.
If you meet them, make sure she can not cuddle you, because everyone who is pressed to her ice-cold heart dies.
Where can we live these days, now that all cities are the same, and freedom is being fought against with bulldozers?
Click here for more photo's of the ADM, taken by the peoples of grutjes.nl