Pension Almonde was from 2019 till 2021 a temporary home in 52 former social housing apartments in the Almondestraat Rotterdam. The boardinghouse hosted city nomads; students, homeless, divorced, prostitutes, immigrants, season laborers, and free spirits who did not want to pay to much for a month rent. The groundfloor apartments were given to neighbourhood initiatives, and there was a hotel for international visitors and tourists who like something else than the usual. The experiment aimed for a new collective co-housing format.
The sitting tenants were assigned a new home by the social housing corporation Havensteder. Every time somebody moved out, Pension Almonde grew bigger until it occupied the entire street. Vacancy Stories captured the personal stories of the people who were forced to leave their home.
Explore the North, deBuren and Pension Almonde offered six young writers a residency of two weeks in the Almondestraat. The Flemish writers Anke Verschueren, Younes van den Broeck and Sabrine Ingabire and the Frisian writers Marrit Jellema, Obe Alkema and Wessel de Vries were commissioned to hang out with a resident to document their farewell to the street. Each writer made a portrait of the resident, who then told his/her own story during the weekly Soup Evening. In the autumn of 2019, all residents performed at Explore the North Festival in Leeuwarden, and a presentation in the Belvédère House of City Stories (Verhalenhuis) in Rotterdam.
Boarding House Almonde
Once all old tendants moved out, the apartments on the ground floor of Almonde Street were filled with a wide variety of activities, clubs and social start-ups. At 157 the communal living room offered a large kitchen, a washing machine and wifi. The upstairs appartments became a boarding house accomodating more than 100 people. The temporary residents and the neighborhood initiatives created a lively street with soup evenings, game days and sport events. The colorful mix of urban nomads made the diversity of the homeless in the city visible.
The social housing block was sold to a real estate developer who knocks down the 52 appartments to built 12 city villas. With the upcomming demolition of this old Rotterdam street, the gentrification of the city is moving a lot further. An urban drama where, just like in the opera, it doesn’t end well for most characters. Every reason for a Slopera (merging Demolission (sloop in Dutch) with the Opera). Total drama in song and dance, with the street as the backdrop, and the city as the witness.
The Slopera weekend was the last walz for the Almonde street on September 26 and 27, 2020. (HAHA) Productions organized a street party with urban nomads and the neighborhood initiatives with installations, performances, an open stage and guided tours. Every evening the Almonde Opera was performed, an insight in the modern lifestyle of this city guest house. Quarreling, singing and partying, new and old residents, guests, passers-by and a 100% Rotterdam cast brought the street to life. With leading actors like John Buijsman, Nastaran Razawi Khorasani, Jan Rot, Jacqueline Blom, Maartje Remmers and Gabby Bakker, reinforced by a choir of Codarts students, residents of Pension Almonde and icons from the Rotterdam underground.
Location Almondestraat, Rotterdam
Period 2018 – 2021
Team Melle Smets (kwartiermaker en management Common/Community), Erik Jutten (Woningbeheer, contacten technisch en inhoudelijk Havensteder, zorgwoningen), Daan den Houter (Pensionbeheer, Art Rotterdam) en Piet Vollaard (Administratie, Governance, Communicatie, Onderzoek en Archief)
Commisioned by Stad in de Maak, Stichting Havensteder
Funding Stichting Havensteder, Stichting Doen/BankGiroLoterijFonds, Citylab010, Job Durafonds, Wijkraad Agniesebuurt (OpzoomerMee), Fonds Podiumkunsten, Verhagenstichting, Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, Stichting Volkskracht, Laurensfonds
Partners Suave Global, Kiosk Rotterdam, Taalent010, Bio Bulk Bende, No waste kitchen, Keju Kitchen, Cult North, Al Khema, Jeugdzorg Rotterdam, Rotterdamse Douwers, Pameijer, Motherdock, Rotterdamse Oogstmarkt, deBuren Vlaams-Nederlands huis voor cultuur en debat, Explore the North, RASL Erasmus universiteit, universiteit Antwerpen, Social Practices WDKA Rotterdam, (HAHA)Productions, OperaDagen Rotterdam.
Special thanks Lizzy van Gelder, Marcel Hoogervorst, John van der Knaap, Lisa Crawfurd, Els Bosman, Florentine Maasland, Marleen Nagtegaal, Willem Bongers, Els Desmet, Claire Gastmans, Mathé Többen, Mathieu Buyse
In collaboration with
Philippa Driest (waard), Jacco Janssen (gastheer), Jaleesa den Haan en Roxy Capriles (communitymanager), Frank Hanswijk (hoffotograaf), Daphne Koenders (communicatiemanager/PR), Joyce Lapworth (stagiair communicatie), Elise Gérin (stagi_x0002_air documentatie), Kirsten Spruit (vormgeving), Ellen van Tichelt (curator Leegstandproza), Anke Verschueren & Ted, Sabrine Ingabire & Marina, Marrit Jellema & Aad, Younes van den Broeck a.k.a. Spitler & Idris, Obe Alkema Claudia & Sylvia, Wessel de Vries & Brigitte (Writers & tendands) Benjamin Earl & Kirsten Spruit (video’s), Boo van Vlist (RASL senior researcher), Louis Volont (universiteit Antwerpen, PhD, researchgroup commoning), Scott Davies (Universiteit Groningen, PhD commons programma), Michelle Teran (lector Social Practices WDKA Rotterdam), Hajo Doorn & Louis van der Waal (Tekst, muziek en regie de Opera), (HAHA)Productions (Rolf Engelen, Roxy Capriles, Charlien Adriaenssens) Programma en regie de Straat, Paloma Garcia (design), John Buijsman, Gabby Bakker, Nastaran Razawi Khorasani, Jan Rot, Jacqueline Blom, Maartje Remmers, Stephanie Pan, Rolf Engelen, Gerard Olthaar, Jacco Weener, Luuk Haaze, Juul van de Laar, Isabel Pronk, Lisa Schol, Erik Jutten, Gilbert van Drunen (Spel buurt- en pension bewoners Pension Almonde), Codarts studenten Amir Vahidi (Koorarrangement en repetitor), Pietro Frigato (Ouverture), Matijs Jansen (Artistiek advies Wunderbaum), Lique van Gerven, Yoka van Zuijlen (OperaDagen Rotterdam), Iris van Wijk, Joyce Lapworth (Productie)