Next year, the council will again give festivals ample space in Amsterdam’s city parks, where they often cause damage. Why doesn’t the municipality take into account Amsterdam residents who want to enjoy their garden, wonders Diego Bos.
There was great consternation among the Amsterdam Festival organizers after councilor Miliani announced that a lottery will be held next year for a place on the events calendar. The reason was that the Riekerhaven site was rejected due to poor soil.
However, Mayor Halsema announced on Tuesday that the lottery has been canceled and the 2023 events calendar will be drawn individually again next year. The municipality is also allocating additional tax funds to ensure that commercial festivals remain possible in Rijkerhaven. Wow, that was quick and effective lobbying by the festival organizations! “Weren’t the city’s finances bad? Isn’t this the same city where mental health care for young people is being cut?”
The suffering of the event
How well the council listens to festival organizations is in stark contrast to how well it listens to residents. The mayor doesn’t even talk to them. There has also been tampering with event permits for years and the Ombudsman has launched an investigation into the “event distress” suffered by residents.
A number of Amsterdam city parks took action and issued the statement Events causing serious damage do not belong to Amsterdam City Parks Sent to the council and the municipal council. These are the major events for which public spaces in the parks are closed every summer. The destroyed grass he left behind will need weeks to become suitable for recreation by local residents again.
Luggage for users
In crowded Westerpark, the large lawn was unsuitable for recreation for four months from May to August. The entire summer season! Because of two events! That can’t be true in an Amsterdam park paid for with tax money, can it?
All space is for event organizers and literal trash remains for park users. To use the mayor’s terminology: Here the relaxation that thousands of young Amsterdam residents enjoy for free becomes impossible.
In a city with a policy motto of “building the city together,” it is characteristic that Stopera only listens to the interests of the festival organizers. Amsterdam, return the parks to the residents!
Diego Bos (President, Friends of Westerpark), Amsterdam
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