Mayor of Amsterdam ignores democratic decision of City Council !!!
Created: July 29, 2006.
Street theater in Amsterdam dead ???
Up to now, for performing street theatre in Amsterdam you needed a license. This is
set by the Amsterdam by-law (APV). However, national laws forbid local governments
to issue any kind of license to non-EU citizens. As a result, Amsterdam would (have to)
refuse a street performing license to non-EU performers.
So, a simple way to avoid this awkward combination of laws, is to change the Amsterdam
by-law (APV), so that performing is license-free. After all, if no license is needed,
the city doesn't need to refuse it anymore, and non-EU performers can just do their
To achieve this, Amsterdam Anders / de Groenen made a proposal
(Dutch) for the City Council. This proposal asks
for a change of the by-law, making performing license-free. Further, a solution would
need to be found for the special allowances, which were typically regulated by the
performing license, such as the maximum number of shows per day, maximum time per show,
voice- and music amplification and the use of 'dangerous' props, like fire-torches,
juggling machetes, etc..
This proposal was accepted by the City Council last year December. The Mayor promised
things would be effective "before coming season".
BUT ... Things went a bit different ...
Unfortunately, it took untill the midst of July before the by-law got changed. A bit late,
but okay... Anyway, this means performing street theatre is now officially license-free.
This seems to be good news, but for the special allowances (fire, amplification, etc.)
still a license is required. And, where initially it looked like also non-European
performers could get such permission, that appears not to be the case.
It's even worse... The license department now simply says: A license for performing
is not mandatory any longer, so we will stop issueing licenses completely.
Reality is that nowadays basically every circle show performer needs some kind of
special allowance: for amplification, fire torches, juggling machettes or any other
spectacular stunt or theatrical routine that will satisfy the needs of today's
audiences. The time of the mime actor with three balls and a red nose is long gone ...
So, the actual result is awful, and completely against the whole purpose of the accepted
1. In reality non-EU performers still cannot perform their shows. Nothing really
changed compared to the situation before.
2. From next year, when all the current licenses expire, also EU performers cannot
do their shows anymore.
This was not the deal, but the Mayor of Amsterdam exercises some kind of dictatorship.
Only a part of the democratically accepted proposal is activated, the other part is
not. The effect is opposite to what was meant, but it seems like the Mayor does not
want to do it differently.
If this situation remains unchanged, street theatre in Amsterdam will be history.
Read the latest news
(updated March 31, 2010).