5 places marked by provo Amsterdam

Het Lieverdje


In 1960, a tobacco trader donated this bronze statue of a little boy with a cheeky face to the city. In the mid-sixties, the artist and 'anti-smoke magician' Robert Jasper Grootveld held his happenings here, protesting against the tobacco industry and the power of industry. He and his followers chanted and danced around the statue, occasionally setting it on fire. It's still a popular place for protests.


Korte Leidse Dwarsstraat

Robert Jasper Grootveld started his anti-smoke happenings in a 'tempel' near Leidseplein. In a time when smoking was still accepted as normal, Grootveld painted big K's (K for 'kanker', the Dutch word for cancer) on cigarette commercials. In his temple, he burnt cigarettes on an altar creating a lot of smoke. His services for 'conscious nicotinists' drew a lot of attention, but after a month, the temple went up in flames.

Apollo Bioscoop

Haarlemmerdijk 82

This old cinema in the Haarlemmerdijk became a provo meeting place. The neighbourhood was none too happy about the arrival of these 'long-haired lazy layabouts'. They organised meetings and people regularly stayed the night. A riot took place in 1967 when a group of marines came looking for provos to beat up. The police tried to intervene, but the situation ultimately got out of hand. The cinema was instantly closed. It's now a budget hotel.

The house of Roel van Duijn and Rob Stolk

Karthuizersstraat 14

Provo became a real movement when Roel van Duijn gave it the name 'provo' in May 1965. He met Rob Stolk, the printer of an anarchistic magazine, at a demonstration. Stolk and his girlfriend moved in with Van Duijn and his girlfriend. At this address, they printed the first Provo magazine. The police immediately raided the apartment and confiscated the magazines. You can still see the provo logo next to the front door.

Speakers' corner Vondelpark


Provo had a huge effect as it broke with the rules and cut with the formality of the 1950s. It ended in May 1967, only two years after Roel van Duijn gave the movement its name, when Robert Jasper Grootveld and Rob Stolk declared provo dead during a meeting at speakers' corner in Vondelpark. Provo, known for their funny, disruptive actions, had become a mannerism and even institutionalised (they even had a seat on the city council), they said. It was time to bury the movement.

Police officers in Amsterdam try to pull provo Hans Tuijnman away from the scene after a demonstration.
Police officers in Amsterdam try to pull provo Hans Tuijnman away from the scene after a demonstration.

part of 40 random facts and urban details

The 500 Hidden Secrets of Amsterdam