Friday, 13 July 2007

Low lands at last

Cars, trucks, jams, bikes, railways, viaducts, highways, trams. Cars, trucks, jams, bikes, railways, viaducts, highways, trams. Cars, trucks, jams, bikes, railways, viaducts, highways, trams. That´s the image one gets entering Holland after a 9000 km tour through Europe and Near Asia. A high-tech traffic mega-polis with some flat green polder lands pressed between roads and cities. A growing monster. The ultimate middle finger towards climate change. `Standing with your nose in the wind´, a typical Dutch expression. A country just existing because of dikes and sand supplements. Why do we like it here?

We traveled around the country, visiting family and friends, celebrating a lovely wedding, taking the time to come to ourselves and do work. Also in The Netherlands we visited interesting places, such as the Papenhulst in Den Bosch. 'De Paap' is a living community in the city centre, a formal hospital and squat. Here, about fifty people live together on a terrain with garden and houses. We just started realizing how normal these forms of living together are when you see a lot, but actually they are quite special as you consider that most people in cities live a quite anonymous life behind their apartment walls.

The ADM is a squatted area in the harbor of Amsterdam, an alternative community of people living on boats, artists, drunkards and nomads. A terrain full of caravans, yurts, tipi’s, own built houses, a huge hall for ship repairs, art installations, ships, old busses, iron monsters and water. All the elements are strongly presented here.
Not so long ago, Amsterdam was full of these kinds of places, but as space is scarce, most of them are cleaned away or rebuilt into yuppie lofts. We visited Hein and Hilde, living on their boat with their four cats, on the land a gipsy caravan used as atelier, a small woodhouse and sauna made of materials found in the harbor. Everything here is found on the harbor. A recycling city.

Windmills. Stormy weather. Large cargo ships and carbon ships. A fresh blown mind. Also this place will disappear soon. The first signs of detournement. Hein and Hilde plan to leave as soon as their ship is ready for it. Nomads always go on. And what about us? We go back home, to Berlin, our home, where our hearts got stolen, turned around two times, married and with a baby, back there again, towards a new future. As nomads in our own life.

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