Valreep for ever was photographed on the 19th of October 2013 in Amsterdam. It was merely a coincidence that I walked into this group of people after school. The group had already passed the Photography Academy several times.
I figured Amsterdam was once again startled by a demonstration. With a lot of noise, a caravan of people with loud music moved through the city. Surprisingly, these people weren’t demonstrating AGAINST something, but instead they are demonstrating FOR something!
The walked with big signs saying “Valreep for ever”
The group of people wanted to retain what they had built up in Amsterdam in the past few years. For several years the municipality, together with project developer OCP Oostpoort, had abandoned a piece of land right next to the railway track with an old animal shelter on it. The neighbourhood community centre had been located in the former animal shelter, which had been refurbished in the past few years by local neighbourhood people and other Amsterdam residents.
Valreep for Ever community building
The demonstrators were the people who jointly took the tools to repair the building, where the Municipality let it rot away. Unfortunately for the neighbourhood centre, someone at the Municipality, together with the project developer Oostpoort, designed a “dream neighbourhood” at this location. The financial benefits for the city of Amsterdam where found more important than the local value of binding the local community.
With the demonstration people were called upon to oppose to commercialisation and social strife together and to support real alternatives like Valreep. In a very colourful and creative way, the procession connected people who protested in a peaceful and amused manner through Amsterdam, hoping to keep their self build community centre.
In this series of photos you can see an impression of the participants of the demonstration, but also of random visitors, spectators and residents of Valreep for ever.