Cultural Defense Line of Amsterdam


The Culturele Defense Line of Amsterdam is a protective ring in and around the city in which independent creative initiatives, independent live-work premises and free cultural spaces are united.

Amsterdam has long held a reputation as a “free city” and “safe haven” for critical thinkers, artists and free spirits. They bring renewal, culture and adventure to the city and have since the 1960s revitalized unused zones and vacant and abandoned buildings throughout the city.

In this way a solid cordon of affordable creative living and working spaces has been laid where artists and idiosyncratic spirits not only experiment and produce but also open to the public with accessible programming.

But the position and affordability of these free cultural spaces are under increasing pressure. Rapidly rising land prices and global financial flows threaten to drag Amsterdam into a vortex of speculative gain and unilateral commerce. The free market produces a hard dichotomy between rich and poor, chic and shabby. Independent creative initiatives are under attack.

Just as the Defense Line of Amsterdam once had to protect the city with a ring of forts and defenses from unwanted intruders, the Cultural Defense Line now erects a barrier against the demolition and displacement of established cultural spaces and offers protection and opportunity to promising new initiatives.

The Cultural Defense Line of Amsterdam reveals a powerful side of the city that has been hidden for decades. The long Amsterdam tradition of counterculture with its fringes and hard is not only worth vigorous defense, it is also indispensable in the interest of the city and its culture as a whole.

– No cultural city without free independent cultural production.
– The Cultural Defense Line stands for diversity and autonomous creativity in an open and undivided city.
– The Cultural Defense Line of Amsterdam is not an organization but a ring of solidarity between cultural bastions and free spaces.





Boekhandel Fort van Sjakoo

de Ceuvel

de Fabriek

Frederik Hendrikschool

Heesterveld Creative Community

Het Domijn

de Inktfabriek

Joe’s Garage


Kunstfort bij Vijfhuizen

NDSM Scheepsbouwloods


Nieuw en Meer

OCCII Onafhankelijk Cultureel Centrum


Pakhuis Wilhelmina





‘t Schooltje



Vrijplaats Singel


Werkgebouw het Veem


Witte Mus

Woonwerkpand Tetterode


Zaal 100

1800 Roeden

 The Cultural Defense Line is inspired by the cultural use of the Defense Line of Amsterdam. This ring of forts, defense works, and warehouses dates back to the early 19th century. In times of danger, the population could take shelter behind it by flooding the land outside the line. The line was never used but is now being brought back to a state of readiness!



Parool 1 oktober 2018

D66 Amsterdam: Interview met de Culturele Stelling

Stelling van Amsterdam Unesco erfgoed