Castrum Peregrini in 2012 and 2013

Looking back and ahead

IMG_24682012 was an exciting year at Castrum Peregrini. 4 years after the opening of our new project space, following a quite radical reorganization, we feel on the right track towards what we want to be: an intellectual playground. We believe in the necessity to constantly create awareness about and rethink the fundamental relationship between one’s personal life experience and the burning urgencies of our time as a precondition for a healthy democracy and an inclusive society. To that end we reach back to the roots of our foundation: during WWII, the Castrum Peregrini hiding group experienced that real freedom only can be reached in trust and with the help of culture. Castrum Peregrini uses this heritage and a broad pallet of cultural and artistic expressions to highlight the various aspects of broad themes such as freedom, friendship and culture.

In the last years we have explored fundamental themes, putting scrutiny on the relationship of individuals towards society: in 2011 Fanaticism (We Are All Fanatics), in 2012 Freedom (In Me, The Paradox of Liberty ) and in 2013 it will be Friendship (My Friend. My Enemy. My Society). These series of events include a glossy magazine broadly disseminated nationally and internationally, an opening evening with a keynote speech, music and discussion, an exhibition, lectures, theatre, a residency, radio and much more. It was crucial to organize such broad events in partnership with other organizations. Our role is  to initiate, to orchestrate diversity, streamline communication and editing of content.

The series In Me, The Paradox of Liberty in May/June 2012 has been seen as a success by both public and press. We have learned a great deal and have hence further developed the concept for the 2013 series on friendship during early autumn. Together with a fantastic group of partners we have prepared an elaborate funding application and the first positive reactions on our plans have reached us from the funds just before Christmas.

In September we opened the new season with the My Future Heritage exhibition followed by some exciting programs with partners from Amsterdam: the Fringe Festival for the 4th time in a row staged two theatre plays in the project space of Castrum Peregrini. From the end of September until the beginning of November the price wining graduates of the Gerrit Rietveld Academie showed existing and new work, partly related to the Castrum Peregrini history under the title [S]ELECTED. During two salon evenings the aspect of artistic talent and of context were discussed with experts from the art world and the public.

5 November we opened the doors for the 3rd time for the Museum Night Amsterdam. The programme Art in Hiding, Art in Crisis featured many artistic and scholarly contributions and draw approximately 900 visitors.

In the month of November Castrum Peregrini  again hosted a residency  supported and organized by the Goethe Institute Amsterdam. This year with Rajkamal Kahlon, a Berlin based artist from the USA . Rajkamals work focuses on post-colonial structures, on pain and beauty and their interrelatedness. She found plenty of inspiration working in the archive of the Tropen Museum and a lot of food for thought in her experience of the Sinterklaas en Zwarte Piet tradition in the Netherlands.

The exhibition Now and Then: Between Layers of Memory had a great opening and we are looking forward to have the artist Josif Király as a resident in February 2013. He will then produce his work for Amsterdam that will be presented during the Finissage on 9 February 2013.

The exhibition forms a very nice point of departure for our European Community funded project InsideOut which we have launched in Paris last December. We are proud to have won the bid for this 2 year project, with a consortium of 8 partners from 8 EU countries. Together with the Goethe Institute Paris, Castrum Peregrini has taken the initiative and has written the application for this project on innovative ways to deal with cultural memory and heritage. Castrum Peregrini’s history and heritage is our strength and our challenge at the same time. The experiences of the last years, working for instance with artist Amie Dicke in our historic interiors, was a strong motivation for us to initiate this project on participation and  the role of the contemporary artist in cultural heritage settings.  Castrum Peregrini has a unique body of cultural heritage, ranging from tangible heritage to a rich palimpsest of life stories representing the vibrant history of 20th century Europe. The project offers a unique occasion to further professionalize, collect good practice and participate in knowledge transfer about innovative approaches to heritage and memory. Engaging in this  European agenda will help Castrum Peregrini in the development of its premises for a broader public.

And talking about history and memory: in March we had to say farewell to Manuel Goldschmidt, who was a friend of Castrum Peregrini since the war years and a former director of the foundation. He was burried in Sparnwoude in-between the Castrum Pregrini friends.

A  highlight of 2012 was certainly the 100th birthday of our founder and patronate Gisèle. We are happy and feel privileged that Gisèle witnessed and encouraged  the changes in ‘her’ Castrum Peregrini in the last years. It is very dear to us that she can so much enjoy the developments that she finds crucial for the ‘next generation’ as she has so beautifully expressed in a RTV-NH documentary.

Looking back on 2012 we can say that we have achieved the goals that we have set ourselves when we took off with the new plans in 2009. We have developed a profile for our activities programme which is seen as unique, we have settled the brand Castrum Peregrini, we have acquired trust in the world of funds and we have worked on a vision to deal with our heritage. The development of the programme would not have been possible without the active input of our broad creative network , which is represented by the programme advisory group: Michiel van Iersel, Iris van der Tuin, Eric Wie, Anneke Janssen, Jan Baeke, Truus Ophuysen,  Chris Julien, Alfred Marseille and Joachim Umlauf.  The strategic development of the foundation is supported by a board, to whom we are also grateful: Jan Rozenbroek, Erik Somers, Jan Baeke, Marius Reintjes, Wouter Poot, Ute Oelmann and Maarten Meijer.  And last but not least, we want to thank our interns and our volunteers with whom we work on a regular basis.

So what is up for 2013? We start the year with the launch of the book De waarheid is een vrouw, in February, which we have published together with Uitgeverij Cossee, featuring a selection of essays that have been written for and presented in the Castrum Peregrini series Mythes in the last two years. It includes excellent contributions of Bas Heijne, Joke Hermsen, Maria Barnas, Jan Baeke e.a. Come to the launch in February or get a copy at your local bookstore.

The series of events My Friend. My Enemy. My Society. in April-June aims to highlight the far-reaching social relevance of friendship. How do concepts of friendship impact on society and how does society impact on friendship? Through the unique aspect of friendship connecting the individual with society it can be made clear that politics, as the power to form society, begins at the core of the individual.

We will work of course a lot on the new project InsideOut and will continue our work in partnerships such as with the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, VPRO De Avonden, The Goethe Institute, Hard//hoofd, Amsterdam Comité 4 en 5 Mei and many more.

A crucial step will be the next phase in the strategic organizational development. It is now time to develop the building with an integral plan that includes the need to secure and restore the historic interiors and the collections, the income generation for financial long-term sustainability, the cultural programme and a place for all our partners and our creative network. We are encouraged to do that by a start-up funding we got through the ‘transitie regeling’ of the AFK to conduct a feasibility study. And of course that will include writing and submitting a lot of follow-up applications, research and planning documents, etc. .

So here is to you: stay with us and as supportive as you all have been in the last years. Contributions are more than welcome! Participate and have your say,- it is crucial for us and for the future of Castrum Peregrini!

Frans, Michael, Lars