gerda's house becomes artist's residency

Marian Cousijn Nieuws

Oudekerksplein 25, the building better known as “Gerda’s house”, will be inhabited again. Creatives will soon be able to live and work here temporarily: in and with the neighborhood.

Last summer the Oude Kerk had inspiring conversations with the neighborhood about the future of Gerda’s house. A number of shared core values ​​emerged from the discussions: quality of life, awareness and connection. Occupation turned out to be the most desirable scenario, preferably combined with a friendly connection to the neighborhood. In line with these core values ​​and the possibilities of the zoning plan, the choice for living and working was made. Creatives (writers, artists, filmmakers, etc.) who want to work in connection with the immediate surroundings of the Oude Kerk, can reside for one year in one of the most characteristic buildings of the Red Light District. The house is narrow, but has four floors. It will be renovated with respect for its monumental value. In the meantime, we are looking at how the residencies can be realized.

the saint sebastian chapel
Involving the neighborhood is a priority for the Oude Kerk. For example, the embroidered church chairs were created in collaboration with churchgoers, and two artists from Zagreb involved the neighborhood for their temporary museum about broken relationships. Silence, the series of morning concerts, was initiated after conversations with local residents about the beauty of the Red Light District during the morning hours. Spurred on by the clear need for meeting and connection, the Oude Kerk will soon continue the dialogue. A first idea is to open the Saint Sebastian Chapel to initiatives and ideas for and from the neighborhood.

what preceded
A few months ago the Oude Kerk opened the doors to Gerda’s house. During this open house, local residents, stakeholders and workers in the Red Light District shared their memories of the house and their ideas about a new purpose for the building. A number of important common core values ​​were distilled from these ideas: quality of life, awareness and connection.

gerda’s house
The property on the south side of the church, to the right of the museum entrance, is also known as “Gerda’s house”. Gerda den Boggende (1927-2019) rented it as secretary to the board of Stichting de Oude Kerk in 1982. She enjoyed living there for over thirty years, until her death in January 2019. She was closely involved with the neighborhood and the Oude Kerk, where she, among other things, did research into the histories of (more than 20,000) people who are buried there.


Gerda’s house, March 2019. Photo: Maarten Nauw