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Bijlmer Bajes (2017)

In this series I depicted the infamous Dutch prison Penitentiaire Inrichting Amsterdam Over-Amstel, widely known as the Bijlmerbajes. The series was published by Creators by Vice on the 19th of January, 2018. I worked as a guide for the Tijdelijk Museum, a contemporary art museum inside the prison, which closed on the 1st of January. Because I was intrigued by it, I tried to capture the raw spirit of the building with my camera, before it would be partly destroyed and then transformed into an apartment building somewhere in 2021. The former prison, built in 1978, has housed a lot of (in)famous Dutch criminals. For example: Willem Holleeder, who was responsible for the Heineken kidnapping, has spent time inside the Bijlmerbajes.

However the prison was often nicknamed ‘The Hilton of Amsterdam’ in the seventies because of it’s hotel like design and comforts. In it’s final years however, the badly maintained building had a grim atmosphere which you can experience through my gritty black and white pictures. The intriguing history of the prison speaks through small details and through the claustrophobic spaces found inside the building, which were no longer accessible to the public at the time I took these photos. The main goal of this series is to pay the notorious prison one last honour before it will be demolished.