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Every year, around 200 students graduate from Amsterdam’s art schools, including the Rietveld Academy, the Sandberg Institute, and the Amsterdam School of the Arts. It is important for Amsterdam to hold onto this creativity for the city. The young creatives include theatre professionals, designers, painters, set builders, and others.
Thanks to Bureau Broedplaatsen (a “broedplaats” is a hatchery or breeding ground), young hopefuls can find affordable working spaces and studios. The office provides the workshops space along with advice on organisation, management, finances and buildings. In this way, it gives future cultural entrepreneurs the chance to build up a professional practise without having to be overly concerned about paying the rent for the first couple of years. Many young artists have the professional ambition of achieving commercial success and significance in the creative industries, an area in which progress is generally in fits and starts.
Anyone who sees the work of Folkert de Jong can immediately tell that he wouldn’t necessarily fit into just any business complex. This former student of the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunst and winner of the Prix de Rome sculpture award in 2003, makes huge, figurative sculptural installations in which offenders, assassins, religious fanatics, political extremists and spiritual mediums play the leading roles. From a subsidised space in a Bureau Broedplaats building, he has been able to develop into a successful artist, with exhibitions of his work held all over the world.
He started in a workshop in the port area. This desolate neighbourhood inspired him initially to create multimedia performances concerning death, deprivation and war. Now, from a studio in the leafy neighbourhood of Bos en Lommer, he creates monumental sculptures from materials like polystyrene, foam, and other materials developed especially for highly impact special effects in the film and television industries.
The studio spaces of Bureau Broedplaatsen range from sheds and old school buildings, to spaces under bridges. Hangars and school buildings are perfect for painters and sculptors, who need light for their work. Darker spaces, like those under bridges, make great rehearsal rooms for musicians.
Because working space in the city is becoming increasingly scarce, while there are plenty of bridges offering much potential space beneath them, Bureau Broedplaatsen is researching to see whether it can profitably exploit such spaces. This seems to be the case, and Bureau Broedplaatsen is keen to lead the way. The office is also working with neighbouring municipalities in order to be able to continue to provide large working spaces, which are sometimes difficult to find in Amsterdam itself.