Verrassend Rotterdam, Verrassend Poortgebouw (2004)

Saturday March 13 Open Day 12.00 – 18.00
SKVR Theater Performance 20.00

In the end of January, the City Information Center (CIC), a promotional department of the dS+V (dienst Stedenbouw en Volkhuisvesting) and OBR (Ontwikkelingsbedrijf Rotterdam), invited the Vereniging Poortgebouw to participate within their month theme “Verrassend Wonen”. As a woongroep (living group) living within the Poortgebouw for over 20 years, the Vereniging Poortgebouw is a unique example to include within the planned March 13th public tour of various living groups co-organized by the Woongroepenwinkel. The Poortgebouw, with a principal “open-door” attitude and interest to present our unique living situation within this special building, accepted the CIC invitation having had recent positive experiences through the Open Monumentendag (organized by Rotterdam Marketing on September 13. 2002) and the Landelijke Open Kraakdag on November 8.

On March 2, after more than a month of only positive communication and planning, we received a surprising email from the head of the CIC stating that the OBR Board of Directors had decided that the Poortgebouw must be removed from this living group tour. Upon our request for a reason why, the CIC head explained that the OBR had said they were “in gespreek” with the Poortgebouw.

The Vereniging Poortgebouw is in no way whatsoever currently in any form of discussion with the OBR. To date, we have not received neither any further explanation of this unprofessional cancellation nor of this supposed discussion between us and the OBR.

However, we have reason to believe that the OBR rather is “in gespreek” with the new owner and developer of the Poortgebouw, the Groene Groep BV. In the summer of 2001, the Poortgebouw was sold by the Woningsbedrijf Rotterdam to the Groene Groep. July 2004 marks the end of a 3-year period where the Groene Groep must honour and not change the rent contract with the Vereniging Poortgebouw. With so far no explanation from the OBR we can only speculate that the Vereniging’s participation in the “Verrassend Wonen” Open Day could be an unwanted positive display to the public of the current internal function of the building. This representation is likely to be in contrast to the interests of the owner and the OBR regarding the future of the Poortgebouw. If this is the case, we find this suspicious decision by the OBR a clear indication of which kind of “developments” the Rotterdam municipal government is willing to support in the city.

The Vereniging Poortgebouw has decided to go ahead with the planned Open Day autonomously on March 13. From 12.00 to 18.00 the various public and private rooms of the Poortgebouw are open to our visitors. With a soup and coffee, you can find out more about the living group’s history, activities and plans before embarking on a “verrassend” guided tour through the house. At 20.30 there will be a special SKVR theater group performance “Fool for Love”.

by WHY

About Károly Tóth

Visual artist, designer, composer, curator, actor, lecturer, virus. /// Involved in culture under the pseudonyms ZEROGLAB and ÜBERGROUND /// ZEROGLAB's work was shown in MOMA - New York, USA / Next Five Minutes Festival for Tactical Media - Amsterdam, NL / Geniale Festival - Stralsund, GER / Berlin Short Film Festival, GER / Viper Festival - Basel, SUI / Budapest VJ Festival, HU / Museum of Image & Sound - São Paulo, BR / Performance Festival - Szentendre, HU ///