Known to be one of the richest cities in the world, my first stop was Amsterdam. I wanted to start my trip here primarily because of the vibrant urban and unique villages that make its location in Europe like no other. In addition to its unique settings, its acceptability of normal laws are unlike any other locations or that’s what I thought. I found that Amsterdam’s metropolis had an interesting approach towards the street art scene; they try to decriminalize the activity by creating legal opportunities for artists. They provide artists places to paint in specific locations in the city, which are essentially “free-zoned” wall spaces. Although the given spaces didn’t necessarily restrict graffiti to specific areas, it does provide the opportunity for the community of Amsterdam to appreciate the vibrant mural pieces.
One example of these vibrant mural pieces are seen on the exterior of squat buildings. The specific squat I experienced was Squat Vrankrijk in area of Spuistraat. First here is some side information on the Dutch government’s legalization of squats that I learned from my tour guide Michael. In the 1990’s the new law stated people were entitled to live in buildings if they had been empty for at least one year. For almost fifteen years the squatters movement in Amsterdam flourished, setting up artist workplaces, studios for artists and organizing alternative events. Spaces like Vrankirijk provide a thriving urban art scene for Amsterdam’s culture while having a platform/space for community.