Amsterdam’s Former Totems of Dissent

Amsterdam’s Former Totems of Dissent

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Amsterdam’s former totems of dissent

2015 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the formation of the Provo’s, the young anarchist group who brought politically charged happenings and improvised events to the streets of the Dutch capital. The group’s sympathies for civic, social and libertarian causes paved the way for Amsterdam’s reputation as a Mecca of counter-culture and youthful revolt. This illustrated case study examines eleven sites where the Provo besieging of civic buildings and monuments unwittingly binds the history of the group to the fabric of the city, and subtly asks the reader to consider the juxtaposition between the revolutionary actions of yesterday to the un-politicized and sanitized landscape of today’s capital city.

Deriving their name from the Dutch noun provocatie, the Provo’s, in the space between 1965-1967, grew from a ragtag group of artists, activists, and anarchists into a revolutionary force dissatisfied with the working life of Amsterdam society. ….


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