The association of Sinti, Roma and Travelers is angry about the closure of the Museumplein, where they annually commemorate their war victims at the Sinti and Roma monument on 4 May. Because the turf is being replaced, construction fences have been installed around the square since 20 April.
Spokeswoman Sabina Achterbergh is surprised and outraged that the municipality has not discussed the activities with her association in advance. According to the municipality, the work was announced on April 8 and it has been in all media. So it could have been known.
“For us, this feels as if the Dam is going to be renovated just before May 4 and the National Commemoration cannot take place,” said Achterbergh.
The municipality is now prepared to open the gate for the Sinti, Roma and Travelers (and close it behind them again) and has called their association about this this morning, but it does not feel much for a commemoration within the gates.
“It is quite special to commemorate on an otherwise completely empty Museumplein. I just don’t know what a feeling it gives to commemorate within a gigantic enclosure, because it can evoke painful memories”, says Achterbergh.
The association wants the municipality to temporarily move some of the fences further away, so that the monument is at least publicly accessible on 4 May. And preferably also on May 16, when the rural Zigeunerrazzia of May 16, 1944 is commemorated.
The commemoration is in the afternoon and if there are fences, people cannot, as usual, walk past the monument in the evening around 8 o’clock to pause or lay flowers.
“We are no stranger to the municipality. For many years we even gave a joint speech there on 4 May with the mayors Cohen and Van der Laan. Even if the municipality had only left a large square free around our National monument.”
The association also says it has been waiting for more than five years for promised adjustments to the monument, such as spotlights in the ground. “That could have been combined with a renovation of the square.”
About 40 people take part in the commemoration every year. The association wants to continue the commemoration in the usual way despite the corona restrictions, because only a small group is expected.
The National Commemoration on Dam Square in Amsterdam has been decided. Incidentally, a delegation of Sinti and Roma was also invited, the municipality of Amsterdam said.