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This blog was started in 2008 when our alley, the Oudezijds Armsteeg, was a big garbage mountain mess. In 2012, we started the street gardens (geveltuinen), and an art gallery in the alley, with the help of the Gemeente Amsterdam. And now, several years later, our street is totally different. But we have decided to keep this blog for “historic” reference. To learn more about our struggles, please read about the Street corner history.

We started another blog, http://www.oudezijdsarmsteeg.nl; unfortunately it has not been updated in a long while. But you can view the online version of the Art Gallery

Rubbish report July 15—July 19

On Friday afternoon there are about 10 bags of rubbish to start the weekend. Plus a box with one or more restaurant-sized egg cartons (photos [1] and [2]). By the end of the weekend there are about 20-25 bags of rubbish [3]. Unfortunately none of the bags of rubbish were taken away during the weekend.

By Monday evening several restaurants have started adding their rubbish. Over the course of the evening there are multiple restaurant-sized olive oil cans and mayonaise buckets that get added, and a stupendous amount of cardboard boxes (beer, meat, wine, etc etc etc), [4]-[7].

At about 22:00 on Monday evening one of the restaurants starts bringing out their rubbish. After he has finished there are another 20-odd bags of rubbish and egg cartons that have been added [8]-[9]. I have a video of the “crime” and have forwarded a link to the video to the gebiedsbeheerder and handhaving.

Finally by Tuesday morning we wake up to the sight of a rubbish mountain which is as tall as an adult, extends 3 metres into the alley, and is about 2 metres wide. [10]-[12]

On a happier note, all of the dead bikes have been removed. And that was within one week of ringing and complaining about them. That’s progress!

Rubbish report June 29—July 1

Okay, I haven’t been this angry in a long long time. Lots of photos this time.

Starts off “normally” on Wednesday with bags of rubbish illegally dumped, a dead couch, cardboard boxes (photo [1]). By Wednesday evening the couch had been picked up, plus most of the bags of rubbish (thank you). Unfortunately now a TV, several chairs and more bags of rubbish congregate [2]. By Thursday morning the rubbish was mostly picked up, but TV and chairs still there [3]. Irritatingly enough when I rang Grofvuil early Thursday morning, the bored, disinterested woman told me that it wouldn’t be picked up until Friday (grrrr). By Thursday evening, TV etc still there, plus about 10-15 bags of rubbish [4]-[5]. But our problems were only just starting [6].

At about 9 o’clock in the evening 2 young guys (Pink Shirt and Grey Shirt) started dumping their entire house on our corner [7]-[21]. By the time they have finished there is: another dead couch, a double mattress, floor boards, tables, chairs, and an unbelievable number of open bags and boxes of rubbish. The resulting mess extends 4 metres into the alley, is higher than an adult and is 1.5 metres wide.

By Friday morning… Ach. I don’t even want to talk about Friday morning [22]-[24]. Suffice to say, that I lost it completely when I couldn’t even enter the alley with my bike. I started throwing bags of rubbish onto the Warmoesstraat, until I could at least reach my own front door–much to the consternation of my neighbours (is she crazy? Yes, you bloody bet.)

One of the builders was trying to stop me tossing bags of rubbish onto the Warmoesstraat. At one point he said, “Moet ik de politie bellen?”, and I just screamed at him, “Ja, GRAAG, bel de politie!” Surprised the shit out of him! I think that’s when he backed off, worried that I really was a bit crazy!

The rubbish guys were also angry and refused to pick it up. They came back later with a separate truck and picked up the rubbish (taking about 15 minutes to clean it up). The grofvuil was picked up about an hour later, they were also busy for about 20 minutes.

Okay, I also have a video of the anti-social dumpers. They came from either Warmoesstraat 15 or 17 (I’m pretty sure it was 17). Unfortunately the video is too large to show here on the blog, but I have forwarded it to the gebiedsbeheerder. Here is a fuzzy close-up of their faces:

Our thanks go to the Reiniging, Handhaving and the Gebiedsbeheerder for clearing this up as quickly as humanly possible.

I spit on Pink Shirt and Grey Shirt. Anti-social little bastards.

Rubbish Report June 26—28

About 10 bags of illegal rubbish have gathered by early Sunday evening (photos [1] and [2]). By Monday morning they have been joined by another 10-20 bags [3]. During the day the pile grows bigger and bigger, until by the evening the pile is as high as the garbage bin, extends 2.5 metres into the alley and is about 3/4 metre wide [4]-[6]. By late evening some idiot has thrown their mattress/bed there as well [7].

On Tuesday morning (currently every morning) the alley is blocked on one side by a truck [8]. We cannot exit the alley via the OZ Voorburgwal. Our only exit is via the Warmoesstraat. Unfortunately that way out is pretty well blocked by the rubbish [9]-[12]. By now, the pile is 1.5 metres high, extends 3-4 metres into the alley and between the bikes, motor bikes and rubbish mountain we have barely 50 centimetres where we can just get past. This is a fire hazard!! Photo [11] shows the Guldenhandsteeg, strangely free of household rubbish.

But I’m very pleased to report that most of the dead bikes have GONE! Thank you!

Rubbish Report June 20—21

This series of photos shows how rubbish-free the Warmoesstraat is on a rubbish morning. Why’s that? Because everyone dumps their rubbish in the OZ Armsteeg.

PUT YOUR OWN RUBBISH IN FRONT OF YOUR OWN FRONT DOOR!

Rubbish Report June 14—17

Tuesday afternoon (photo [1]) the first illegal rubbish appears. By Wednesday morning it has been joined by several more bags ([2]). By Thursday evening there are about 15-20 bags of rubbish, many many cardboard boxes and one dismantled household item, possibly a fridge [3].

By Friday morning the rubbish mountain extends 2 metres into the alley, is a metre and half wide, and a metre high. It spills out into the Warmoesstraat [4] and [5]. Unfortunately not an hour after the rubbish has been picked up, the abandoned fridge or whatever it is (grofvuil) has been joined by several new bags of rubbish [6]. But I am pleased to add that both the rubbish and grofvuil were picked up by the end of the afternoon. Also the several bags of rubbish that were deposited over the weekend were picked up. Thank you!

[Sent to the gemeente June 19, 2011]

Rubbish Report June 10—14

Sent to the gemeente June 15, 2011

Friday morning June 10 at 11:16 (photo [1]) the first illegal rubbish appears. Which is added to later in the afternoon ([2]). But I’m pleased to say that during the whole weekend most of the zwerfvuil that gathered on the corner was picked up during the weekend. Thank you! It makes a difference.

We also tried fighting one problem with another. We have arranged the fietswrakken into a Garbage Barrier, in other words we have piled up the 12+ abandoned bikes into a physical barrier just behind the rubbish can. It helps a bit. What would be even better would be if the fietswrakken were REMOVED. We are seriously considering welding them into a piece of deformed street art. Anyway photos [3]-[5] show that the rubbish was kept to a minimum on the weekend.

Monday sees a return to normal (anti-social) behaviour. The rest of the photos show that the rubbish slowly piles up (ILLEGALLY!) during the whole of Monday.

I notice that the garbage truck has been coming somewhat earlier. This doesn’t really solve the problem. But we do need serious solutions. Please save us from the abandoned bikes and the rubbish from our neighbours.

Rubbish Report June 7—9

Sent to the gemeente June 10, 2011

Tuesday morning June 7 at 8:30 (photo [1]) the corner is rubbish-free. But, unfortunately not fietswrakken-free. First photo taken just after the rubbish has been picked up (poor guys were busy for at least 15 minutes clearing the corner of everybody else’s rubbish).

By 13:42 the same day the following has magically appeared on the corner: 6-7 bags of rubbish, one open Albert Heijn bag of rubbish, an open crate, with of course, more rubbish in it and some carpet tiles. Photo [3] is at 10:00 on Wednesday June 8. Several cardboard boxes and more bags of garbage have joined the growing pile.

By Thursday morning (photo [6]) there are even more cardboard boxes and 2 wooden palettes, and don’t forget the never-ending bags of rubbish. Someone (horeca?) took delivery of 2 or 3 washing machines or refrigerators or something similar on Wednesday. And decided to add their packaging rubbish to the corner. Why not? There’s rubbish there anyway.

By Thursday night (photo [9]), oh joy of joys look at all that lovely rubbish, at least 6 hours before there is meant to be any rubbish on the street. What do we have? More large cardboard boxes, orange boxes, and about 20-30 more bags of rubbish. Oh we’re so lucky! Rubbish pile now extends about 2 metres into the alley, is about one metre height and almost a metre wide.

Rubbish Report June 4—6

Sent to the gemeente June 6, 2011

The rubbish that was left at the corner of the Warmoesstraat and the OZ Armsteeg on Friday was picked up by late Friday. Thank you.

Unfortunately the clean corner did not last long. It never does. Starting on Saturday June 4, a cardboard box and about 10-12 bags of rubbish were left there. Over the weekend several bags were added. By Sunday night (June 5) there are about 20-25 bags of rubbish, several open Albert Heijn bags of rubbish, and a restaurant-sized olive oil can.

By Monday morning (June 6) a cardboard box has been added, and about another 10 bags of rubbish. During the morning (13:49) the following are added: several more bags of rubbish, a restaurant-sized mayonaise bucket, more cardboard boxes, several open (AH) bags of rubbish. By about 16:30 a wooden chair has been added, more cardboard boxes, and an empty paint container. Of course, don’t forget the extra bags of rubbish that accumulate.

By 19:00 Monday evening more furniture has been added. The chances that the people responsible have rung Grofvuil are practically zero. (So we are now dependent on the mood of the rubbish guys tomorrow morning as to whether the furniture will be picked up or not.) By this time the rubbish heap is about a metre high, extends about 2.5 metres into the alley and is about a metre wide.

By 20:40 on Monday evening, between the fietswrakken (12 of them) and the rubbish there is still a metre through which we can exit the alley (aren’t we lucky!).

Later in the evening (23:30) of course more rubbish has been added to the growing pile. Now it extends 3 metres into the alley, is about 1.5 metres high and a metre wide.

The garbage truck came before I could photograph Tuesday’s rubbish pile. The guys did take the furniture (thank you!).

I think that since November 2010 there has maybe been three days when there has been no rubbish on the corner. Welcome to the OZ Armsteeg, 24 hours of rubbish a day, 7 days a week.

Sigh. 2 years later. Still no solution.

For a while there I thought that we could actually get rid of this blog. I thought that our many problems were solved. Okay, many of our original problems were solved but unfortunately we are STILL stuck with the garbage problem. Here follow copies of the photos and the electronic complaints that I have been sending to the gemeente since the end of May this year.

Sent 31 May, 2011

Okay, I have kept quiet for a long time, but the rubbish problem on the corner of the OZ Armsteeg and the Warmoesstraat has NOT improved. I do appreciate the efforts of the reiniging/gemeente around Christmas and the New Year to force the horeca in the Warmoesstraat to sign a formal rubbish contract. But to my intense frustration, due to the badly executed Christmas action, all the work that we as residents have put in over the many many years to reduce the rubbish mountain in the OZ Armsteeg has been totally undone.

Please witness the attached series of photos from the last few days. It started on Saturday with a few rubbish bags that get left on the corner. Over the next few days more and more rubbish gets added. By Monday evening there is a rubbish heap that extends about a metre and half into the alley, is half a metre high, and about a metre wide. Finally on Tuesday morning there is a MOUNTAIN of rubbish that is taller than an adult, extends 4 metres into the alley and spills out onto the Warmoesstraat. Combined with the &*@#!!#@ bikes/fietswrakken that have still not been picked up, there is less than half a metre of space through which we can actually exit the OZ Armsteeg.

[As a side note the 12 bikes/fietswrakken have been there for several months. I have rung several times about them; I have talked to two handhavers about them; my husband has recently sent an email to Roel Plugge. But they are STILL there. Please please please remove them!]

I am EXTREMELY disappointed. We have worked very hard to convince our neighbours (mostly horeca) that they should NOT be dumping their rubbish in front of *our* front door. Just before Christmas the rubbish mountain had more or less dwindled to a semi-respectable, almost copeable rubbish pile. But the current situation is unacceptable and totally not good for my blood pressure.

Now we are back to where we started from. See Rubbish Photos for photos from 2006-2007. See also this story, from September 2008, about the history of the rubbish mountain: Street corner history. This is a problem that has existed for more than TEN YEARS. And, no, I’m still not used to it, and, yes, it still irritates me that my neighbours haven’t figured out a better place for their rubbish. (If the links don’t work please go to http://www.watisermismetdezesteeg.nl and click on the links “Rubbish photos” and “Street corner history” on the top right hand side.)

Okay, rather than only complaining, complaining, and complaining some more, I also have some suggestions that may (or probably may not) help.

(1) Please put up a sign on the side of Warmoesstraat 23, in the OZ Armsteeg, saying when rubbish may be put there, and when it will be picked up. Since Christmas there is so much confusion that our new neighbours (KLM huisjes, for example) have no idea when the rubbish will be picked up. This sign should clearly state that only household rubbish from the Oudezijds Armsteeg should be placed there and definitely not commercial rubbish.

(2) Please ask the Reiniging to pick up the stray bags of rubbish that do get left there, even when it is not a rubbish day. I realise that this possibly only encourages people to leave bags there on non-rubbish days. But the alternative is that rubbish only attracts more and more rubbish (see attached photos)

(3) Please send a letter to ALL the apartments/horeca in the Warmoesstraat and alleys that rubbish should NOT be placed/dumped/deposited on the corner of the Warmoesstraat and OZ Armsteeg. PUT YOUR OWN RUBBISH IN FRONT OF YOUR OWN FRONT DOOR!!!

(4) I believe that the only long-term solution to getting rid of the rubbish mountain in the OZ Armsteeg is to build something that makes it impossible for people to leave their rubbish there. I suggest that the rubbish bin that is now there should be placed somewhere else (Guldenhandsteeg, eg), or removed entirely, and that for example a gigantic cement box for plants should be placed on the corner.

I realise that some of my suggestions conflict with each other, but, in desperation, I offer them in any case. I am really really REALLY fed up with this ongoing, unsolved, aggravating, twice-weekly problem. My corner of the world is not Naples, but it sure as heck feels like it sometimes.