Amsterdam, September 13, 2001
Dear Madams, Dear Sirs,
Re: The rent increase for Het Fort van Sjakoo bookshop/ASCII Internet workshop
Let me begin this letter by introducing myself: My name is Ana Miskovska Kajevska, I come from Macedonia and I study at the University of Amsterdam. Few days ago, I have come across the information about the rent increase for Het Fort van Sjakoo/ASCII and decided to write to you and explain why I find this decision of yours unfair and moreover, damaging for Amsterdam.
The bookshop Het Fort van Sjakoo has been for many years a source of information to all of us interested in alternative life-styles, peace, environment, equality, human rights and many other issues which are unfortunately hardly addressed in the commercial, mainstream publications. Every time me and my friends come in the neighbourhood, we drop by Het Fort van Sjakoo to check out the new magazines and books. It is a bookshop where not only one can find information which is - very often - nowhere else to find, but also a bookshop with very friendly and helping staff made of nice volunteers able to create a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere.
In my opinion it was an excellent idea for the ASCII Internet workshop to move in the basement of Het Fort van Sjakoo. These two complementary initiatives pretty much based on the same principles of low-cost working, non-commercial exchange of experience and knowledge, support and solidarity make the Jodenbreestraat 24 even a more popular and special location and meeting point.
I am aware that the Woningbedrijf Amsterdam, as a commercial corporation is interested in increasing its profits. Amsterdam is constantly getting more and more popular, not only as a tourist location and a place to live in, but also as a business centre. But, one of the reasons why people DO come to Amsterdam (regardless if that is for business or pleasure) is because Amsterdam is world-wide known as a friendly, relaxed, well-spirited town - a home to many alternative initiatives and people. Unfortunately, over the last years, due to the pressure of the market economy, more and more alternative initiatives had either to move out of Amsterdam or stop existing. Those kind of developments drastically impoverish(ed) Amsterdam and make it less and less "different" from any other big town in Europe. And as I wrote in the beginning of this letter, that is why I consider your decision to increase the rent for Het Fort van Sjakoo/ASCII damaging to Amsterdam.
I sincerely hope that you will not throw this letter away nor any of the other letters sent to you in support of Het Fort van Sjakoo/ASCII and that you will withdraw your decision on the rent increase. To many of us short- and long-term citizens of Amsterdam, Jodenbreestraat 24 is one of the most important places in this town.
Ana Miskovska Kajevska