The building on Willemsplein 1, that has been known to been called Willemeen for many years, Has been the location in Arnhem for youth culture for 50 years, in the way of urban youth work and subcultural events and live concerts. Lots of large and starting acts from divergent genres took it to the stage in Willemeen, From punk to metal to drum and bass to hardcore to reggae and lots more. All these events are executed by over 100 volunteers.
The youth work in Willemeen is directed by parent-organization Rijnstad by means of four youth workers: they accompany volunteers in dealing with mental, physical, financial or social problems; redirect them to other organizations if that is appropriate, support the volunteers in developing professional skills, broaden the cultural horizon by organizing trips and activities that focus on social connection and developing skills
Since the loss of the Goudvishal in 2007 Willemeen has been one of the few authentic bastions for alternative music in the region. Willemeen offers new concepts and starting musicians a stage that bigger, mainstream music venues with a commercial interest don't, and make an effort for vulnerable people of the society and social solidarity in Arnhem.
From the 1th of July Willemeen will no longer receive financial support from the council's budget for culture, and the cultural assignment will have to be filled in by another organisation than Rijnstad.
We feel that de future plans of Willemeen are being rejected because of lack of ambition.We have been told by our parent-organisation Rijnstad that the recent application for financing has been rejected because Rijnstad did not support these with numbers adequately. This is why Rijnstad is looking for another cultural partner. Before all this there were long negotiations about future plans between Rijnstad and Willemeen. The proposed future plans were rejected by rijnstad for being too ambitious; there were worried about a financial risk they were not willing to have.
If the cultural assignment is taken away from Rijnstad and therefor from Willemeen, we will have to continue with half of our budget. This means a 50% decrease in youth work and the longlasting efforts that are distinctive to Willemeen will not be able to continue. The carefully accumulated, long-lasting bonds between the youth workers and the volunteers, and the volunteers between themselves will be damaged. The volunteers will miss an important daytime activities, the opportunity to develop professional skills and connections, and social experiences.
There are a lot of culture makers that choose Willemeen as there go-to venue regularly, and a significant amount of these events are set up by the volunteers themselves. We are speaking of events like Forms, WillemsFest, DubNation, Illmatic, BASS6, Grindfeast, Bad Habits, Dagschotel, Arnhem Noise Attack, Jazz @ Willemeen, De Transplantatie, Habesha Party, The Box, Club 8Bahn, Dollhouse Queerparty, Arina’s Leuke Oldschoolfeest, Yallah Yallah!, 2B@, Chefs de Partie en de jaarlijkse Zombiewalk. Some of these events will simply cease to exist.
There will be less challenging and diverse programming, because a part of the prorgramming is suggested and organized by the volunteers themselves; Arnhem will lose a subcultural attraction for visitors from all over the country and even from abroad. A central place where young people can gain meaningful work-experience, but more importantly, can make mistakes and grow at their own pace, will dissapear. A unique breeding ground for youth and culture will dissapear.
We want Willemeen to stay in her current form, with the combination of culture and social work that gives Willemeen its unique character.
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