Guerilla Kitchen: Respite in Consumption

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By Charles Bardey

Introduction

As my first introduction to volunteering at Guerilla Kitchen, I was given two main instructions: (1) hang any pots and pans on hooks to preserve the limited space; (2) don’t break the food processor, because it’s “really, really important.” This instruction was part of no official orientation, but was instead dashed off quickly by Elise, a longtime volunteer and organizer at Guerilla, as she showed me the locations of items as we came upon them in the kitchen and dining room: salt, beans, cutting boards, beer. She was remarkably friendly, considering that I could have been literally anyone: I had entered a roomful of twenty-somethings busily chopping vegetables, and had meekly offered myself as a volunteer to a young man behind a bar, who directed me to Elise. The tour was brief, as Elise had to return to preparing in the kitchen—it was already 4:16, and the kitchen would be open in just under two hours. “See who you can help,” she offered, leaving me standing awkwardly in the middle of the dining room. Mercifully, that didn’t last long: a twenty-four year old Dutch art student named Emily invited me to chop a box-full of apples with her in preparation for dessert. This, at least, was a task I knew how to do. Continue reading

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Accidential Utopia: The Cultural Freehaven of Ruigoord vs. the 1960s Hippies of Haight Ashbury

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By Anikka van Eyl

Nobody likes a hippie, right? Hippies are lazy, dirty drug addicts that live off the system and contribute nothing to society. This is the common perception that mainstream society holds of hippies; they are a nuisance, promoting radical thinking and won’t conform to that of the traditional life. But is this what truly defines the core of a “hippie”? When understanding the concept of hippie, we often think of these definitions due to moral panic, negative media coverage and the fall of the hippie subculture in the Haight Ashbury district of San Francisco during the Summer of Love in 1967. Haight Ashbury, the center of the 1960s hippie movement in the United States, quickly became overpopulated with an influx of young radicals, bringing disease, drugs, and violence to the forefront of the originally peaceful movement. But the traditional values that defined a hippie before 1967 were overrun in the process: the values of community, love, peace, and nonconformity. Hippies were anti-capitalists, looking to replace the traditional American lifestyle with a radical, free spirited community of acceptance and freedom. Although we still think of these values, they are often the afterthought, negligible when we think of the chaos unleashed by the hippies. Is it possible to maintain these values over a longer period of time, to truly create a Utopian society that nourishes creativity, acceptance and autonomy? In the outskirts of Amsterdam, I believe I have found an artistic haven that encapsulates these traditional hippie values throughout daily life: Ruigoord. Continue reading

Erecting a Safe Space: “Queer A‘POC’alypse”

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By Gregory Stewart

One day I received a Facebook message inviting me to perform at a spoken word show for queer people of color. A friend of mine who attends Brown University with me and was also studying in Amsterdam had asked me if I’d be interested in performing and then gave my name to one of the event organizers.  I identified with the term and write spoken word poetry, so I was intrigued to say the least in terms of who exactly fit into the social category of queer people of color in Amsterdam as well as what assumptions and meanings the term had. Coming from a liberal arts university back in the United States, I was used to the term but I recognized that the meanings wouldn’t necessarily transfer over. Continue reading

We Are What We Eat: The Slow Food Movement in Amsterdam

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By Sophia Schoderer

“Tell me what you eat and I shall tell you what you are.” – (Brillant-Savarin, 1949)

Food, glorious food

Food habits differ all over the world. The availability of resources and geographical characteristics has led to the evolution of different food and eating traditions around the globe. In some parts of the world, food might only be important in terms of ingestion- a source of energy to get through the day. And in certain cases, food gets of an importance that goes beyond our current “western” notion of it, it gets a basis for life. For others, who live with the privilege of having plenty of it, food can have a meaning and importance that goes even further then kilojoules and calories. Since a lack of it will never threaten their existence, people can assign other values to it or even use it in terms of self-portrayal by posting their meals on social media with a “foodporn” hashtag. The latter can be seen as an example for the various changes that have occurred over the last years in how food is perceived by a part of the world population. These changes can´t be understood without linking them to the shift in food production in the last decades. Today, nearly everything we eat is industrially produced and that has consequences beyond the always filled-up shelves at the supermarket. Continue reading

‘What issue of private property? It’s empty!’ Stigmatization and self-image of squatters in Amsterdam

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By Zuzana Žurkinová

Before coming to Amsterdam for my Erasmus Programme, in search of accommodation and seeing the rent rates, I googled ‘squatting in Amsterdam’. Nothing intelligible popped up. I came across anti-squat agencies as well, but again I could not make much out of it; eventually I gave up. Once in Amsterdam, I had this urge to find out what it is all about, but I did not know how. Early on I met a girl, Sabrina, and we soon found we had common interests; she told me about this place – Joe’s Garage – where she was planning to help out cooking vegan dinners. Sounds good, I thought. She sent me a link where I signed up as volunteer. I did not hear back from them for quite some time, so I decided to stop by on a Wednesday, which their program described as ‘Lonely Collective Day’. The board outside the place said ‘free coffee and tea’. I entered and there was no one in, except the ‘bartender’. I wanted to start a conversation, but did not know how. Eventually I asked him what one of the posters said (‘Kraakspreekuur Oost’). He answered:

‘Kraken means squatting. This is an illegal squat. You could be arrested for being here.

Continue reading