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[Netherlands] Impressions from Pinksterlanddagen 2014

Over the bar in the main building of the camp: “First a cup of tea, then the revolution”

Inside the main building: “Drinking workers don’t think. Thinking workers don’t drink” [picture and quote of socialist Ferdinand Domela Nieuwenhuis, who sympathized with anarchism in the late 1890s]

From the 6th to 9th of June 2014, the yearly anarchist camp Pinksterlanddagen took place in Appelscha, the Netherlands. The camp is a long tradition; it was now organized for the 80th time. Under the motto “Do it yourself, no freedom without responsibility,” hundreds of anarchists gathered on the camping terrain tot Vrijheidsbezinning (“to freedom-consciousness”) which is managed by comrades since the 1930s.

There were broad topics in the program, like presentations about anarchist resistance in the Netherlands during World War Ι, fight of refugees in Calais (France), debate in the Netherlands over the racist popular character Zwarte Piet (“Black Peter”), as well as an introduction to anarchism. For a Non-Dutch speaker, it was no problem to participate in these presentations and discussions, because most of them could be held entirely in English on request, or there was a live translation. Even though several comrades could speak German pretty well, we encourage people who wish to participate in Pinksterlanddagen to practice English a little bit. Besides presentations, discussions and workshops, there were also screenings of films in a small gym.

The events were held in the grote zaal (“big hall”) or at a half-open large tent. The big hall is part of the house at the entrance of the campsite, where you could buy snacks, breakfast and something to drink. In the evenings various artists performed there. Next to the house there were lots of bookstands (also with editions in English) and info-material. The cooking collective Rampenplan (which may translate to “contingency plan”) provided tasty vegan food. Considering that fact that the camp was organized to host 500 people, the prices were pretty okay (the entrance fee for the festival was 12.50 euros, and dinner was 4.50 every day).

It was nice that people were accustomed to no consuming of drugs at the campsite. Every night, at around 10pm just outside the camp, there was a campfire in the nearby forest where some people would consume drugs, but the consumption was limited in our opinion. The big program for children was also very positive. There were many activities for kids all day long, like a puppet theatre or an animal-amulet workshop.

It’s no wonder that the Pinksterlanddagen has been held for several decades, and hundreds of people travel to the small town of Appelscha every year. As we drove up the way to the entrance, which was decorated with black-red and black-white flags, we knew we’d found something special.

anarchistischer Funke (“anarchist spark”, from Germany)

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