Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Artists Give Amsterdam's Red Light a Green Light

Through the city-wide project initiative, called Project 1012, Amsterdam is pulling a Giuliani and cleaning up the streets, especially the notorious Red Light District.

This lovely city filled with wooden shoes and windmills (not to mention plenty of other things for adults only) has made a promise to the people of Amsterdam to clean up its world-famous Red Light District by upgrading the 750-year-old neighborhood over the next ten years including a ban of window prostitution. By closing most of the windows the city hopes to curtail both human trafficking and the white-washing of money by criminal gangs. So, by clearing out most of the "windows", coffeeshops and "riff raff", the city hopes to recapture the historic sense of Amsterdam and preserve the architecture.

So with all this real estate popping up, who is coming in? I'm glad to say it's artists! The city government is working with private enterprises to replace the bordellos with studio space for fashion designers and artists. Real Estate company, De Key, has already purchased ten buildings in the Red Light District to accommodate painters, sculptors and other visual artists. These spaces will be made for both living and working. De Key hopes "to strengthen the residential quality and livability of the area, as well as to contribute to the preservation of its rich historical architecture." De Key has even announced that in the beginning phases they will collaborate with Topstad Amsterdam and Kunstenaars and Co., to select young Dutch artists to live and work in the new properties and also exhibit their work. So there will still be something to look at in the windows of the Red Light District wont there?

It's pleasing to see that cities continually recognize that art in the community not only raises real-estate values but also contributes to the general quality of life of everyone living in it. As seen in Amsterdam, artists living, working and exhibiting in the city are helping to improve the city and the district for everyone. The Biggs is working hard to do just the same: to not only contribute to making the city of Dover a wonderful place to live, but for the entire State of Delaware as well. I guess I should put it as, "We're here for ya."

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