2nd week Public maintenance department – Amsterdam North


Monday 3rd

Today we were sent to the Straat makers. Olivia went with Jarno and I went with Clifton. Clifton doesn’t have a partner this week so I actually have some work to do. 

The first complaint is about a pile of sand and big tiles which are blocking one of the side walk. Clifton gets the tiles out with the crane and I use the shovel for the sand. Pretty physical. I tell Clifton that he doesn’t need to work out if this is his everyday work. He laughs. We talk about what type of work out we like in general.


Next mission is to check a signalisation board that disappeared. We can’t replace it right away because we don’t have one with us but Clifton will come back to fix this in the afternoon.

After that we meet the group of Olivia close to Dierenriem. Everybody is gathered there for a big mission. All the straatmakers are helping each other. Olivia is pretending that she is driving the van.

At the break we tell the boss that we will need to focus only on one group this time and therefore we will stay with the cleaning team for the rest of the week.

Tuesday 4th

Back with the cleaning team Olivia and me get split one more time. I go with Daniel, Fabien and Paul. Olivia goes with Robin's team. I am happy to be back with Paul since we know each other from last year. We clean two areas that are not really dirty.

The guys explain to me that the new system, the “ipad”, is not so logical on different aspects: the places it selects for them to clean, the way it counts the time in each places etc. There seem to be some conflicts between the men and the “robot” that tell them what to do. I can also feel the difference from last year. One of the guys tells me that it is a try out system and that it will most probably get slowly better.

We talk about Amsterdam north, kids, Surinam, France, football and so on. We are in a quiet moment in the cleaning waves of the year. Therefore tchitchating is important.

We then pass by the supermarket to buy some food as part of our everyday ritual.

Wednesday 5th

It is raining today. The guys are being protective towards us and do not want us to work too much. I am this time with Robin, Fabien and Rut. Olivia is with Paul and Martin .

The system sends us exactly to the same place we were at yesterday. The guys complain because this time there is really nothing to clean. They explain to me one more time the many issues of the Ipad. Just before the break we get a complaint added to our mission. In front of one of the supermarket. We are all happy to finally get out of the car and clean. From dirty diapers, to red bull cans, to balloons, to candy packages. Nothing finds its way out.

We meet there Olivia’s team. Olivia is getting sick from the car, she would also like to work more. At 7am cleaning the streets is also a meditative way to wake up.

I have the chance this time to explain again the reason we are here to the guys. They seem more and more curious. Fabien even explains to the others what he remembers from what I said the day before. Something about encounters. We end up talking about politics, dutch culture and art. Robin comes to me later on to suggest that maybe one day we will write a book about them.

After the usual supermarket ritual we go back.

Friday 6th



Today Nienke comes instead of Olivia. It gives some joke material to the guys who wonder where Olivia is. It is the first time Nienke joins and we are looking forward to hear about her fresh experience. She goes with Robin, Paul and Fabien, I go with Martin, Martin and Rut.

I clean De Banne shopping mall area. Today we stay at this spot. When we are finished with the cleaning we talk about life like always. This time about how holland should deal with terrorism and on our various hobbies, films, series. The older Martin is passionate for Pokemon go, Which comes to me as a surprise. He even travels to different cities just for that. Chicago, Dortmund among others.

We talk for an hour. We are always out, cleaning, looking around, observing the world, waiting. Those discussions are a part of this. It almost becomes philosophical at a certain point.

In the meantime Nienke gets explained the work in 5 different locations. She also gets a glimpse into the Ipad situation. When we are back home we talk together on how we can embrace this specific rhythm of work and include Ipad situation into our tours.

Next week we will start to invite the guys more into our world. We are cooking some idea of interviews using specific famous MOHA strategies. We also write them a first letter.