Benjamin op de Zeedijk (Foto Lin Woldendorp)
Spelenderwijs bouwen aan De Torteltuin (Foto Lin Woldendorp)
Organisation

We are a group of 30 young Amsterdammers. The wish to create something unique and affordable within the impersonal and inaccessible Amsterdam housing markt brought us together. In the beginning of 2020 two open brainstorm sessions were the start sign for our journey, whereafter the new policy for housing cooperatives by the municipality of Amsterdam accelerated our proces. We discussed a lot with each other and aligned our whishes and values. We connected ourselves with a lot of experts on various topics such as self-built housing and collective-living.

By working with as many potential cohabitants form the start, we achieved that all wises from a diverse group of people are included in the design proces. Next to that it allows us to have an enormous capacity to research and organise. It is a quite a journey to find out how we have the best power as such a big group. At the moment we are investigating this by working with different ways to organise us, including 'sociocracy' and 'holacracy'.

The expertise of our group is characterised mainly by our professionality in social processes and our experience with ecological sustainability.
De Tortels
  • Alex Peters
    Loves to deal with numbers, especially when those numbers have to do with euros. Sees housing cooperatives as a form of practical activism and dreams of housing cooperatives as the "third way" of living.
  • Alexander Cronheim
  • Béla Teiwes
    Loves crafts and chatting most of all. And her 1-year-old son, and painting. Her paintings are "very abstract" but she herself is quite direct.
  • Benjamin Caton
    Somewhere screaming through a megaphone for Greenpeace or enjoying writing. Set up the Decolonial Indonesia Netherlands Commemoration and loves the sun (but really so who doesn't?).
  • Dennis Craandijk
    Likes to be everywhere and nowhere, and if he is anywhere then preferably outside surrounded by people, music or ball games. Meanwhile, looks for ways A.I. can make the world a better place.
  • Dieuwke Papma
    Is the neighborhood cat of Javaplein and now works at a drop-in center for homeless people in the Pijp. Loves to sing and swim.
  • Enrikos Lossifidis
    Thinking up potential hits and solos while walking or biking and then forgetting about them. Is known among other things for his sense of numbers, record spinning and witty remarks.
  • Eva Zweers
    Wants to be self-sufficient and independent and is pursuing biodynamic agriculture training. Lives in her favorite part of Amsterdam: downtown.
  • Guus Speelberg
  • Gijs Weijers
    Since his time in the Boy Scouts, ties together everything loose and loose - for example, the Amsterdam housing cooperative movement in the PWA. Enjoys making music and works as a mental health worker.
  • Iris Luden
    Curious and eager to learn. Concentration is her superpower. Furthermore, she walks happily through life as a freshly graduated Logician.
  • Julia Peereboom
  • Jonathan Luger
    Romanticizes traditional Dutch pubs. Loves cards, Catan and avantgarde jazz from London. Likes to take selfies with own cat or dog. Does research on food poverty and sustainable food policy in the city.
  • Job van der Linden
  • Lisa Veenstra
  • Jelle Don
    Usually says yes and usually does not regret it. Works in an office where you can write on the walls with marker, as long as it's formulas.
  • Laura Schefold
    Surfs year-round, preferably in combination with camping. Studies Forest & Nature Conservation, to improve the balance between humans and nature.
  • Lukas Nerl
    Loves learning new languages. Now helps others accomplish this as well. Also loves places with a heart for the community and programming at the intersection between arts and culture.
  • Marrit Woudwijk
    Makes policy in the international domain as a civil servant. Is usually in the kitchen and gets happy in the fall. You'll recognize her by her roars of laughter.
  • Michiel Kemmer
    Can talk endlessly about injustice and solutions to it. Organizes debate evenings.
  • Michiel Voskamp
    Always sings on his bike, loves crazy dances and can often be found on the water in the (sailing) boat. Outside of his spare time, busy with reducing water problems in developing countries
  • Sterre Krot
    Bakes the most delicious breads and has the sweetest smile. Graduated in Cultural Anthropology and works at the Koffieschenkerij and a fruit garden on Schiermonnikoog.
  • Tjalling Cohen Tervaert
    Enjoys cooking and experimenting with food and obscure movies. Graduated with a degree in the subject of circular wood construction from the School of Architecture.
  • Tobias Servaas
    Loves anything that grows, especially if it is people. Is therefore very enthusiastic about his work as a teacher and educational innovator. In addition, he likes to dance until he is dizzy and always dreams beyond today.
  • Laura Huygen
    Loves to watch and listen, preferably with a camera in hand.
The housing crisis
De Torteltuin developed out of pure need; in Amsterdam only lucky ones can find an affordable appartement larger than 23m2. We think that the housing cooperative can offer a solution here. It could well be the perfect balance in between renting and buying. We have begon this journey of discovery, and are determined to finished it. Both for the cohabitants, as well as the people in the neighbourhood as well as for the rest of the city and maybe also for the Netherlands.

The housing prices have seldomly risen as drastically as in 2020. More than 10% in one year. If it was a price increase or a devaluation of money is not clear yet, but is is sure that it will make buying a house for a starter even more difficult.

The development of the financial markets did lead to the development of a gigantic fast and efficient worldwide stream of money in the last 40 years. No matter where you live, everywhere it is possible to invest, loan and speculate. As of efficienty this has lead to great benefits, but it lead also to a centralisation of wealth. The largest corporations, pension funds and the wealth of the richest on earth reap the fruits of this development. For this we can't actually accuse most individuals for, but
it is nearly a scientific law where we cannot hide from, but we should maybe once still try to.


De Torteltuin and housing cooperatives in general are par excellence made for a prevention of further centralisation of money and wealth. The cooperative pays the municipality some leasehold money for the plot, the renter pays a reasonable rent and the building is saved from the housing market forever.
Opposing to taking the the future plot out of society and giving it to a private party, we want to make the public living space again richer and more liveable for everyone.

By that we hope to participate in a change of though about 'ownership', and do we want to bring the balance between private and public ownership into a new dimension.
Also the building is valued more for the cohabitants than the ca. 8 million that the bank is valuing it at. For them it is their home, their club and their responsibility. The immaterial values are counting at de Torteltuin equally high.
On the shoulders of giants
These people form the Advisory Board and will take The Torteltuin to the next level with their knowledge and expertise. They support the vision and keep us focused by a connection to practice.
  • Annemarie van Doorn
    Advisor sustainability
    As director of the Dutch Green Building Council, Annemarie is a power woman from the very beginning. An accomplishment, for example, is her contribution to the development of sustainability label BREEAM-NL. We make grateful use of her enormous knowledge and network in the world in which 'corporate' and 'sustainable' are the magic words.
  • Gerard Roemers
    Expert sustainability and Self-build housing cooperative
    Gerard is a board member and one of the founders of De Warren, Amsterdam's first self-build housing cooperative. He focuses within that project on realizing the most sustainable design for the building, and guiding the construction team in realizing this design. He is also a sustainability advisor at Metabolic, where he leads the Circular Cities and Regions.
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E-mail: info@detorteltuin.co
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