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Posts Tagged ‘Amsterdam University as property speculator’

AMSTERDAM ROOFTOP SWIMMING POOL COMMONS ACTION
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A reportage of the rooftop swimming pool action can be found at the web-site of the neighbourhood council (Wijkcentrum d’Oude Stadt)…..
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The web-site HIGHSNOBIETY (the name is serious) has this item on the Bungehuis on the Amsterdam Spuistraat now appropriated by a British based fast grow company ‘Soho House’, after the University of Amsterdam (one of the big property speculators in town with its many buildings acquired in times when real estate prices were of another order) chucked out in 2015 protesting students that had occupied the building and sold it to this supra-jetset-company…

Protest about the extreme gentrification effects of this project by local inhabitants have been negated by the city municipality, direct actions and juridical actions did lead to nothing… so read how such a contested place is sold to its clientele:

“Opening canal-side in Amsterdam’s iconic Bungehuis building on Spuistraat on Monday, July 30, the latest outpost from Soho House is one of it’s nicest members clubs yet. Characteristic of previous clubs, a rooftop pool overlooking Amsterdam comes complete with parasol-covered sun loungers to be fought over on warm weekends. Meanwhile, the house features 79 hotel bedrooms, screening rooms, a state-of-the-art gym, spa, and Cecconi’s restaurant, as well as club spaces decked out with antique and custom-made furniture. Unique to the cycling-obsessed city, the new house will also offer bicycle repairs from a small workshop next to a dedicated storage space for 75 bikes. Like its recent opening in West London’s iconic former Television Centre, the building housing the club is iconic to the city. Built in the 1930s as a trading office, and since serving as the humanities building for the University of Amsterdam, its six stories are covered in limestone and granite, with no shortage of art-deco flourishes. Soho House is accepting membership applications for its new club now. Feast your eyes on the first shots of the stylish new spot in the gallery above.”

All this to make you understand the action for taking a dip in the rooftop pool by the locals – an initiative of the ‘Rolkoffergroep‘ (rolling case/trolley group, named after the irritating sound of tourists with suitcases on small wheel banging over the inner town streets)  –  on August the 8th..

The text on the poster says “the neighbourhood/buurt can go to the rooftop/het dak op” which is a Dutch expression equaling ‘you can fuck off’… this is in fact what the inner city council (Gemeente Amsterdam Stadsdeel Centrum) did say by it support for this decadent jetset abode, while at the same time failing to quell the ever growing tourist  influx that consumes the city. It is the same inner city council that fails to safeguard the office space of the local inhabitant council, the Wijkcentrum d’oude Stadt (neighbourhood centre the old city). That centre for support of the inner town city well being was formerly owned by a social housing estate corporation, sold to the highest bidder in the Amsterdam housing bubble. This organisation, het Wijkcentrum d’Oude Stadt, is an organisation that exists since 1949 and has been at the core of civil action in the inner town for many decades. Mind you all this is happening in a city that – since the last elections – claims to have a Green Left signature government…

Especially the issue of a swimming pool in the old inner town has its own sad history, as there has been a public one at the Heiligeweg (not far from the new exclusive one at the Soho House), that existed for 91 years (1896-1987). Inner town inhabitants did form a committee in the eighties of last century to keep the swimming pool from closing because of budget cuts by the then social-democrat city government. They even did manage themselves this public swimming pole for several years. Seeing an exclusive club swimming pool getting a municipal permit 30 years later did remind many of us the loss of social common facilities in a town with a local government that often claims to be social progressive, which is a deep lie.

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Campaign poster from 1983 for keeping the municipal swimming pool open: “B&W (local government) wants to close down the Heiligeweg pool because of needed budget cuts. Swimming is important for kids en grown ups. Now the only swimming pool in the inner town is about to disappear…”


some other thoughts…

Feast your eyes on the first shots of the stylish new spot” was the comment of the HighSNOBiety web-site commentator on the interior of Soho House Amsterdam, which amounts up to nothing more than a ‘non-style’, a smug bric-à-brac of recycled furniture sold under the common-donominator of ‘vintage’ or ‘retro’, a concept that may perfectly fit the ‘retarded’ minds of those who want to spend one and a half thousand euros a year for the ‘mediocre exclusiveness’ of the Soho House enterprise.AMSnote6444.05

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Already in 2016 there was this comment on the so called ‘exclusivity of Soho House in The Guardian (click the ‘The Guardian” for direct link; link underline is not well visible): “York said: “The whole point of private members’ clubs is that exclusivity, that they are where the magic people will all gather. Soho House is a very efficient operation, but there is one at every turn now, and they have diluted their brand to, I think, their detriment.
“I have been going to Soho House since it opened, and going there now it feels like it has lost something. There’s nothing special about it any more; they’ve lost that sheen, and that’s why it’s not where the magic people, the famous people, go any more.”
Soho House has attempted to maintain its appeal to artists and creatives, offering discounts for those under 27, and the only condition of joining is that people have a “creative soul”. Five years ago, it culled hundreds of members from it branch in New York, whom it deemed “too corporate”.

 

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