|Tjebbe van Tijen via Chello on Tue, 29 Sep 2009 00:27:23 +0200 (CEST)|
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|[Nettime-nl] KLOMPENMANIA: overmaats toerisme in Amsterdam en de noodzaak van maat|
beste nettimers,de thema's die ik in onderstaand betoog in tekst en beeld naar voren breng spoken al lang door mijn hoofd een wandeling op een mooie zaterdagmiddag afgelopen weekeinde gaf er onverwacht een vorm aan
Al wandelend door het massa-toerisme gebied rond de wallen van de Amsterdamse binnenstad, dat ik anders angstvallig mijd, rijgen zich de observaties, irritaties en historische associaties aaneen tot een betoog dat ik al veel langer had willen schrijven over het gevoel dat de stad mij ontnomen wordt door het steeds verder uitbreidend massa- toerisme en ik probeer te benoemen wat dat gevoel teweeg brengt, wat er de afgleopen veertig jaar veranderd is, wat ten goed, wat ten kwade
probeer ook te begrijpen hoe bevrijdende emancipatiebewegingen van weleer van soft-drug gebruikers tot homobeweging kon worden tot een keiharde zakelijke onderneming en of er uitwegen zijn om het proces van de stad die geconsumeerd wordt door het beeld van zichzelf te stuiten
het is zowel een beeld als een tekst essay, en nettime.nl staat nog steeds geen beeld-aangansels toe, zodat ik hier enkel wat aanmoedigende citaten plaats ter opwekking voor een bezoek aan de navolgende URL op mijn blog De Hinkende Bode/The Limping Messenger
Below a few excerpts from the text, you are invited to view and read the complete version:
The streets were bustling with tourists and their non-directional pace of walking: halting to study their maps without concern for the other pedestrians and cyclists – often in the middle of the road; whimsically crossing as if the streets were empty; framing their camera pictures while forgetting about the world outside their viewer – causing frequent near accidents; being absorbed in consuming their walk-about-lunch; trying to keep group cohesion despite the fragmented Amsterdam public sidewalks with their thresholds and anti- car parking poles. A mixed aroma of exhausting fumes, hashish and the smell of cheap pizza touches our nostrils as we manage to proceed slowly in the direction of our evening meal shopping market in the Jordaan neighborhood.
(...)A bit further on, in the direction of the train station, many gay bars, hotels and ‘darkrooms’ (mainly male) have settled in the last two decades. A historical function one may say, as the Warmoeststraat has done the sexual catering for both the sailors and local inhabitants for centuries. What is different though – compared to the past – is the density of such facilities now, and the fact that homosexual services are openly promoted. House after house in the Warmoesstraat and surroundings have been taken over by a ‘troika’ of the recreational sex and drug industry combined with what we Dutch call ‘horeca’ (snackbars, restaurants, cafés). The ‘horeca’ is there mainly to supply the armies of ‘lurkers’ – those who are just watching – with an alibi to have a drink and snack, wander around and stare. Step by step this troika has pushed out services providing for the daily needs of local residents. I still remember the area as a mixture of cafés, restaurants, sex business, small workshops and family living. I have not seen statistics yet on the dwindling number of normal resident houses or apartments in the Red Light district and adjacent areas, but that it is strongly diminishing is something anyone “can feel with their wooden-shoes on.”
(...)When emancipation of homosexuals ends up in a commercialized segregation of leisure and pleasure with expending specialized zones clustering around Amstel-Rembrandtplein-Utrechtsestraat- Reguliersdwarsstraat, Warmoestraat-Zeedijk, and Kerkstraat- Leidesplein, I am tempted to ask what about “equality” as one of the important substances of my own idea of what emancipation is about? Why not have fun all together, beyond the tender and gender divide? Why this self-imposed social Apartheid? Also, what about the level of, say ‘homosexual’ emancipation and ‘tollerance’ of drugs in all the countries of origin of the hordes of sex and drugs tourists filling the Amsterdam inner town? Did they vote Berlusconi, Sarkozy, Merkel, Putin and thus can’t they smoke a joint at home or in a pub in peace? Is it the Pope, an imman, a rural evangelic fundamentalist that keeps them from doing or at least inquiring about unknown sensual territories? And … most important for us locals, is the blunt commercial exploitation through which the tourists are paraded in Amsterdam, – with some side-tripping to Anne Frank and Vincent van Gogh – something we should be proud of? Is that what we want to present to the world? Or is it this, what is most typical Dutch after all, only about making a good buck… on anybody using any opportunity?
(...)Back from sidestepping and continuing our trip.. As we walked the streets and struggled through the tourist crowd, I had a short fantasy of my own, being a telepathic guide, able to impress my views of the town and its history on each of the leisurely wandering tourists that catched my eye:
“What you see is the product of Double Dutch standards, moral sermons at home, covering up far away exploitive practices. Like our prime- minister Jan Peter Balkenende who does not get tired to preach about the Golden Age and the ’spirit of enterprise’ of the Dutch East Indian Company (VOC) which we should try to regain today, forgetting to mention the black pages of history of the trading and maltreatment of black slaves, let alone the life of the 17th century poor in the Low Countrries. The historical ‘freedom of trade’, which found once in the city of Amsterdam one of its important bases, was nothing more than the freedoms one can allow oneself when making bad deals – for the natives – backed up by warships with canons. Half the number of poor souls that were crimped into VOC service as sailors died on their voyage to the east. Recruitment officers would round up bums in taverns and on the street, even imprison them, till the moment their ship sailed away. The Dutch that nowadays like to praise themselves for their development aid to poor countries, still fail to recognize that they were fighting colonial wars up to 1961, officially called – to this very day – pacifying ‘police actions’ (”politionele acties” in Indonesia 1945 – 1949 against the Indonesian War of Independence)… “
(...)Is there some hope in recent developments of Dutch cities next to the Belgian border, that have closed all coffeeshops and organized even a kind of razzias against cross-border drug tourism? No, in spite of all my observations and negative appreciation of the Amsterdam drug tourist scene, I dislike this abrupt and oppressive option. Like the homosexual emancipation there has also been an emancipation of the drug user, from a persecuted criminal to a tolerated recreational consumer. The liberating mind expanding aspects of soft drugs as formulated by idealists of the sixties may have long faded away and turned into hard core business, but the basic assumptions remains valid: to be master of one’s own mind and body and decide by one’s own reasoning instead of external coercion. There are many options and levels of steering, controlling, and arguing which could bring the transborder soft drug users and the international leisure industry back to acceptable proportions and some sort of balance with the social environment they share with others.
(...)Maybe it is time for the ‘emancipation’ of city dwellers, recognizing their ”equal rights” on the use of the city, not treating them anymore as Disney actors in their own town, appreciating them for their living knowledge of their house, their street, their neighborhood, their city. The first step toward a city dwellers emancipation is the recognition that injustice has been done, that it is time for measuring tourism, to let it fit the existing scale of a city and not the other way around.
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