Amsterdam’s lost FREE heaven

In 2019, after 21 years of occupation, one of the world’s most incredible free spaces was demolished, and its residents evicted, in order to make space to…….nothing at all! 

Our friend Anita, a member of Underkonstruction sound system and part of the amazing Nostruckture travelling stage, has been visiting the ADM community for several years.

We asked her a few questions about the past, present and future of ADM.

When and how did you get involved with ADM?

“The first time I arrived at ADM squat was in 2012. I was invited by a friend living there to help in their annual anniversary festival. The place blew my mind straight away. I helped before and during the festival cooking meals for all the people involved and later at night at the bar. After that visit, I came back again to help and enjoy other events and festivals in the following years. In 2018 I‘ve stayed at ADM for a few months as a guest and really got to know the ADM community”

What was ADM’s site in Amsterdam’s port like?  

“ADM was located in the port of Amsterdam. It used to be a shipyard company before being squatted a couple of times. The last time was in 1997 and it lasted until January 2019 when the ADM community was evicted. The big open space had a pier and two big buildings. One of them was used as living spaces and small workshops. The other one, “The Loods”, was a big open space where tools, materials and imagination were put together to create, fix and enjoy. The whole ADM space was covered by nature and some protected living species had their homes there”

Describe the ADM community.

“Around 100 people from different ages, nationalities and backgrounds formed this amazing community. On top of that, many people could stay as guests to get involved in ADM. On a few occasions, people who came from all over the world to take part and help at the events have never left” 

What kind of initiatives and events took place at ADM

“Many events and festivals have taken place at ADM, although Robodock was the very first one that attracted lots of artists and performers because of the innovation and connection with the underground subculture scene. The first edition took place in 1998. Every year the festival had a different theme, with industrial installations, robots, fire shows, music, theatre (…and more) taking place”

“Once a year ADM celebrated its anniversary with a big festival as mentioned above. Another big festival hosted at ADM was the circus and experimental music festival “Jetlag”

“Several other events, concerts, workshops, gardening, radio, etc. happened there. On Sundays a vegan dinner on donation would be served with a Jam session, many times started by ADMers musicians and accompanied by many friends of the place”

Tell us some interesting anecdotes

“I was told many anecdotes about the place and the people, although the one that kept closer to my heart is the story of “The Papillon”. Squatters arrived at ADM in this boat called Papillon at first and it was mooring at the pier for a few years. One day its pump broke down and unfortunately, the Papillon sank. Nevertheless, with the help of some friends’ running the art project “Fer a Coudre”, it was brought back to life, taking it from underwater and placing it upside down in front of the Loods. Afterwards, It became one of the art icons of the place and was used as an open space for people’s ideas, creations and performances”

Check the slideshow below to see the transformation of the “Papillon” by Fer a Coudre

What happened after the eviction?

“ADM was recognized by many Amsterdamers as an alternative, cultural and art space. Many people from the city were attending its festivals and events. I would say that ADM has been an important place for the Amsterdam underground scene… and sadly is gone”

“However, Amsterdam’s municipality offered a space in the north of the city before the eviction. The space is not able to hold the same amount of people or to be used with the same purpose as ADM. Still, the ADMers had managed in almost two years to keep on the ADM spirit in this new space. The municipality agreement will end this year in November, meaning that again eviction is at threat”

“There is a petition to sign up to help the ADMers to remain in the north of Amsterdam and continue existing. Please sign it to keep underground subculture alive”

SIGN THE PETITION

More useful links: 

https://en.squat.net/2020/06/04/amsterdam-adm-community-has-to-pack-again/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ADM_(Amsterdam)

https://www.facebook.com/adm.amsterdam/

https://www.feracoudre.com/laboratoire/

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