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Location of project Dream Depot in North Amsterdam

North Amsterdam consists of 90,000 inhabitants with very little amenities, for example it does not have a cinema and there are hardy any cafs. As I wrote in my earlier post, North Amsterdam consists mainly of working class neighborhoods. It is geographically separated from the rest of Amsterdam by water. There is also a big psychological border. The North Amsterdammers including the young people tend to be very territorial and stay in there own neighborhoods. The neighborhoods themselves are often quite segregated from each other.

The young people who worked on the project in North Amsterdam were from an area called Floradorp, literally Flora village. Floradorp was built in the 1920`s to rehouse the people who lived in the city centre ghettos. Each family was given a small cheaply built house with a garden in the hope that they would develop a `better` lifestyle. For most of the 20th century the Flora village was considered to be one of the worst `white trash` neighborhoods of Amsterdam. It was nicknamed "de Rimboe", which translates as "The Jungle" this is very characteristic of Amsterdam `humor` as all the streets are named after flowers and trees, but it was also given this name because it was considered pretty much as wild and dangerous as a "jungle". Due to its history, the residents (young and old alike) are very closed off from outside society.

During the project in Amsterdam North the young people were friendly towards Anja and myself although they did tease us a little because we were foreigners and did not speak Dutch perfectly. (They especially teased Anja for being German). The teasing was more playful than disrespectful. However I have never worked with a group of young people who were so reluctant to talk about themselves. This made the level of communication between them and us (the artists), necessary for the project, difficult. Although we all liked each other and were all willing to work on the project together, Anja and I often felt like we a world apart. In many ways we were dependent on the youth worker to help bridge this gap, as he worked with them on a more regular basis.

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