AMSTERDAM PAINTING

FORMER INFAMOUS PRISON IN AMSTERDAM TURNED INTO SHELTER FOR NEWCOMERS AND NEEDS A MORE WELCOMING ENTRANCE

In 2016, we returned to The Netherlands to start our first project back home. The refugee crisis in Europe finds cities in need of new and fast solutions to help create a humane and liveable situation for refugees in their new temporary homes.

In Amsterdam the former ‘Bijlmerbajes’ prison was closed and quickly turned into a temporary refugee living facility. Prisons are not the most welcoming places and the Bijlmerbajes is not different. The Amsterdam Painting project aimed to transform this huge complex with six giant grey towers that have long been an eyesore in Amsterdam’s skyline.

Having previously only worked in established single communities we needed to somehow find a way to design and paint a mural that represented this new multi-cultured temporary community. Working collaboratively with locals and newcomers. The project aimed to transform the buildings, both in-and outside, in order to recreate their new identity as a new home to the refugees. And at the same time offer opportunities in form of skill training, network building and job opportunity, while empowering the participants to ‘make the place their own’.

BIJLMERBAJES ENTRANCE

The first big project of the Amsterdam Painting crew was to extend the entrance design around the front of the building. The crew worked alongside local Amsterdam volunteers and completed the painting in over a month.

Since painting the entrance in the summer of 2016, a steady paint crew emerged which consists of both locals and newcomers. Newcomers face long waiting times and strict limitations while their asylum requests are processed. By designing the project in a way that was open, flexible and inclusive allowed us to reach a diverse group of newcomers with varying needs. Whether newcomers help for one day or multiple months, the goal is for them to take something positive away from their painting experience.

LOLA LIK


Lola Lik is a cultural HUB located on the south-side of the old Bijlmer Bajes prison focusing on bringing locals and newcomers together to learn off each other. The crew was invited to paint the main inner square and buildings in and around the Lola Lik space. The crew has worked here since late 2016.

“The vibe around here is a lot better since colour has been added to the walls.” David van Dommelen, Operations Manager at Lola Lik