Freeplace Koppenhinksteeg must stay!


  Freeplace Koppenhinksteeg must stay!


Koppenhinksteeg @

Freeplace Koppenhinksteeg must stay!

Saturday the 9th of February 2002

Demonstration for keeping Freeplace Koppenhinksteeg Departing from the Koppenhinksteeg at 14.00h

On the 9th of February there will also be an open day in the Koppenhinksteeg. The street will throw her doors open and present an informative cultural programme until the small hours. At 17.30h there will be food and the rest of the evening will be packed with poetry, live music, film etc and at 21.30h ska band ?De Hardheid? will entertain us. All day long: surprises for young and old!

The Freeplace in the Koppenhinksteeg in Leiden is being threatened with closure. For the last thirty-three years, the Freeplace has been a rallying point of resistance, creativity and discussion. However, Leiden council is planning to turn the buildings on the Koppenhinksteeg into an apartment complex with commercial space on the ground floor. There?s no space left for the present occupiers of the buildings. Therefore it?s important that as much people as possible take part in the demonstration on the 9th of February in order to convince Leiden city council that they have to change their minds about the plans. Stop Leiden council?s plans! Keep Freeplace Koppenhinksteeg!

Since the end of the nineteen-sixties, social and cultural activities have been taking place in the Koppenhinksteeg. It all started with anarchist artists who began a youth museum there. In the seventies, young people from a critical trade union occupied the buildings. Alternative bookshop Manifest then came along in the nineteen eighties. Nowadays the street is still bristling with activities such as the Weggeefwinkel (Free shop), Las Vegas, a unique info/book-shop, anti-racist organisation ?De Fabel van de Illegaal?, cultural centre Bar & Boos and a martial arts school. All of these initiatives add something special to the city. An average of 2000 people a week visit the Freeplace, which is run for the largest part by volunteers. The initiatives stand for another kind of society, one of solidarity where money is not the centre of everything. As the Weggeefwinkel?s motto says, there is enough for everyone?s need, but not enough for everyone?s greed. The Weggeefwinkel was the first shop of its kind in this country, and was awarded the Marga Klompé prize for the most social project in 1999.

This Freeplace looks set to disappear if Leiden council gets its way in turning the buildings into commercial properties. We can see comparable developments elsewhere in the city, for example in the area known as the Aalmarkt. Affordable housing and shop space in the city centre has to make way for big money. The city council believes they are adding to the city centre, but we call it selling the city out. The buildings that the Freeplace makes use of are not rented. This means that all maintenance costs are paid for by the organisations themselves. Should the council legalise the Freeplace and renovate the buildings, the foundation ?Stichting Vrijplaats Koppenhinksteeg? is prepared to rent them at an affordable rate. However, the council refuses to accept this offer as big money is calling! Recently a building permit has been issued. Hundreds of letters of objection have been handed in to the council against this permit and the whole procedure is still going on, and the alternative building, Lammermarkt 41 (which the council offered exclusively to De Fabel van de Illegaal and the Weggeefwinkel) is way too small.

On the 6th of March, local council elections will take place in Leiden. Many political parties have included the preservation of Freeplace Koppenhinksteeg in their programmes. We know that there?s also a lot of support for the Freeplace among the rank and file of other parties. We are calling on everyone to join in our musical and colourful demonstration for keeping the Freeplace in the Koppenhinksteeg, so that the initiatives there can continue to be creative and mutually support and inspire one another.


More information: Vereniging Vrienden Vrijplaats Koppenhinksteeg (Association ?Friends of Freeplace Koppenhinksteeg?) Postbox 2228 2301 CE Leiden The Netherlands E-mail: vvk [at] koppenhinksteeg [dot] nl Telephone: 06-23390616 Website: