Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Squatter Settlement / Artist Colony
1973 - Present

1 Church 2 Stichting Hand Werk 3 Georgie’s Wundergarten 4 Artist Studio 5 Butterfly Garden 6 Temple of Self 7 Amsterdam Port

Ruigoord gives a good impression of being isolated, even in Europe’s most densely populated country. An island for “free range people” surrounded by the Amsterdam port, Ruigoord (Rough Place) has stubbornly persisted for the last fifty years. In the early seventies, the small town of Ruigoord had been emptied to make room for the port of Amsterdam, which had threatened to consume the town since the 1950s. The 1973 oil crisis delayed the expansion just long enough for a group of opportunistic artist-squatters to take up residence. The artist moved into the church (1) and abandoned houses, and began building, painting, and performing. New dwellings arose organically, and could be built, adapted, and converted based on the needs and desires of the occupants.

Ruigoord describes itself as, “Non-conformists, self-willed romantic idealists, builders of castles in the air, spiritual anarchists, surrealists...For Ruigoord all of these conceptions are bound up with engagement: power ot the imagination.” After years of protests and court battles, in 2000 it was decided that the town-turned-artist-colony-bird-sanctuary could remain but the people had to leave. Today it’s a culture space, with a better claim to the title “Free port” than the tax-free havens for billionaire art hordes.  

Nam semper semper ex
In porttitor pellentesque sapien

Annie Schneider

Communes in the New World

The question of how to live together—of how best to live together—is the foundation of any society. The last few years have exposed the fault lines in our current system: climatic catastrophe, economic crisis, supply chain collapse, civil unrest, rampant inequality, and a global pandemic. We live in congested cities and in potentially dangerous proximity, yet remain isolated. In light of these mounting pressures, it’s time to revisit the fundamentals. How to Live Together offers alternative ways of being, thinking, dwelling, and living. It calls into question every basic assumption and prevailing social norm: belief, sex, the nuclear family, property ownership, our relationship to land, production, and consumption. It is both a critique and a roadmap.