Space out in Holland...It's not an option!

Issue no4
Aug- Sep 2023
inkomen & eindexamens 2023

When we came here two weeks ago there was a literal Dutch invasion of Detroit, Expodium was here, as well as Partisan Publik and Fonds BKVB and their artists in residence hangers on.

The locals were understandably perplexed and wondered why so many Dutch people were suddenly interested in Detroit.

One of the reasons concerns urban space and freedom (or the lack of it). In mega densely populated Holland every square meter is planned, booked and spoken for. The relatively new situation in Detroit of urban shrinkage, frees up so much space, space that can now be redefined.

I always had a theory about the Dutch. The reason why they legalized prostitution and drugs were not only for economical reasons, even though the Dutch really like money and are good at making it (but not as good as the Swedes...njä njä njä njä njääää=teasing 1). The prime reason for it was the lack of chaos in their surroundings. The Dutch had controlled everything that would have been called nature in thee olden days, even the ocean was cut up into small controllable grachtengordel, polder pieces.

In Sweden I sometimes go into to the enormous forests just to feel small and get a bit scared. It puts me in place and in awe... Nature is something uncontrollable, the forest (and nature in general) is a symbol for the unconscious, for 'the other', for the unknown...

There is nothing scary, wild, or uncontrollable in the Dutch landscape (except ganja smoking Italian tourists on bikes) and THIS fact created the need for some semi legalized wildness in the form of 'ladies of the night' and drugs... Until recently I also used this theory to explain the great love for culture that the Dutch used to have. Culture as the unknown... wild, scary, thought and emotion provoking. How scary and unknown can a musical get??!!

If we take away the mind expanding possibilities in Holland of drugs, hookers and culture I think Holland will have collective panic attacks on a MASSIVE scale in a very near future. People will realize how small and claustrophobic Holland is. The new powerful political right is doing everything in its power to make Holland even smaller, to make the Dutch bitterballen walls come closing in... they come closer... and closer...
and closer... and....WHUAAAOAOOA!!!!!

Focus on your breathing Jonas!!!

I came to NL as a Swedish western allochtoon in 1996, and since I come from a richer country than Holland (njä njä njä njä njääää=teasing 2) I am in the unique allochtoon situation that no one will think I came here for the money or for the social security checks (they're MUCH fatter in Sweden). So I think I can afford (hehehehe...) to be blunt and speak freely.

I don't have a right to vote in Holland, but I voted FOR Holland 15 years ago when I moved here, with my life, my time, money, ambitions, passions and dreams. So I DO have a right to be critical. Holland NOW is not the Holland I came to 15 years ago. But I will stay and fight.

Thatcher, Reagan, Bush...Rutte?!

(famous MC5 song which made Detroit famous as the pre punk city... Iggy and Stooges also helped out, hence the name, Detroit-Rock city!) see here...

Politically I also think it would be a good idea to stop focusing on Wilders. VVD is hiding behind Wilders and not the other way around and now the new right in Holland can let all their wet little neo con dreams become a reality. Wilders is not the problem, we have populist right wing manipulators in every country, massaging the assholes of all the 'Henk & Ingrids' of this world. The weak CDA (the warm 'socialist' christians of the right) and the strength of the VVD is the problem.

But also... as artists and culture makers... let's spend some time for a little bit of self reflection and self criticism too. After the murders of Pim & Theo, Holland suffered one of their greatest trauma in recent history... how many of us artists did anything to deal with that drama in our art?

How many of us didn't just continue with our own discourses, when maybe this could have been a good time to get hip to the now. But we better get hip to THIS game quick though, otherwise the only option left will be... tune in, turn on, drop out!

But even that won't work... Wilders, Donner, Zijlstra and Verhagen want to shrink Holland mentally into an even smaller hobbit country... and there are not enough drugs in the world to MIND EXPAND our way out of that dark, tight, scary shithole.

So our only choice is to fight back hard.
Let's GO!!!

C U on the other side...

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Expodium initiates 9-weeks research programs in Detroit, with the collaboration of The Yes Farm and other intiatives active in the Arts, urban planning , farming and many more fields of necessity. The goal of this alliance is to enter into a long-term collaboration with Detroit by creating an expanding network.


Posts 1 — 5 / 5
03 July 2011
Ben Schot

You are like everybody else; you take these good people for a tribe of syndics and merchants counting their gold crowns with their chances of eternal life, whose only lyricism consists in occasionally, without doffing their broad-brimmed hats, taking anatomy lessons? You are wrong. They walk along with us, to be sure, and yet see where their heads are: in that fog compounded of neon, gin, and mint emanating from the shop signs above them. Holland is a dream, monsieur, a dream of gold and smoke—smokier by day, more gilded by night. And night and day that dream is peopled with Lohengrins like these, dreamily riding their black bicycles with high handle-bars, funereal swans constantly drifting throughout the whole land, around the seas, along the canals. Their heads in their copper-colored clouds, they dream; they cycle in circles; they pray, somnambulists in the fog’s gilded incense; they have ceased to be here.

(From "La Chute" by Albert Camus, 1956. Translated by Justin O'Brien)

03 July 2011
Ben Schot

By the way, Mr Ohlsson, you can find the former manager of The MC5 and leader of the radical White Panther Party, John Sinclair, in the 420 Café, Oudebrugsteeg, Amsterdam. In this place, at a stone's throw from where Camus made his observations, John rides a black Lohengrin bicycle whenever he can. If you buy a copy of "Guitar Army", his collected street and prison writings, he may take you for a ride in his hotrod sidecar and tell you about repression, revolt, revolutionary art and music, and changing times. Enjoy the ride and give John my love when you see him!

Ben Schot

03 July 2011

for some more mind expansion check-out
part of


04 July 2011
Jonas Ohlsson

I would love to hook up with John Sinclair and I will check out his writings.
thanks for the tip!


04 July 2011
Ben Schot

Great, Jonas. You'll get along just fine with John!

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Metropolis M Magazine for contemporary art No 4 — 2023