For more than a decade, starting from the year 2000, the corner of the Oudezijds Armsteeg and the Warmoesstraat was the unwilling rubbish dumping ground for the direct neighbourhood, including all the restaurants, hotels and cafés. Our whimsical poster shows just a few snapshots of the years and years of rubbish.
There were towering amounts of rubbish on the two days of the week (then, Tuesday and Friday) that were official rubbish days. But, the rubbish mountains were not confined to just those two days, but were a constant and daily problem. Often the pile was higher than an adult, extended several metres into the alley, and sprawled out across almost the whole alley.
In 2008, after many years of intense frustration, we started our first blog, watisermismetdezesteeg.nl; the English web address would have been whatiswrongwiththisalley.nl.
Realising that we had to change the mindset of our neighbours, the community gardens were planted in May 2012, with financial support from the city council and our neighbours, and hard work on the part of some of the residents. Since then we have been fanatical about keeping the gardens and the corner of the Oudezijds Armsteeg and Warmoesstraat free of all forms of rubbish. We have seen for ourselves how rubbish only attracts more and more and more rubbish.
Our poster, and the photos below, remind us that we have achieved a small miracle.
[Dutch translation. TBD]