To the City of Maastricht,
The Hotel de Ossekop is an open and free cultural community run on a voluntary- non-profit basis. It has been one of the few spaces in Maastricht that has provided an open space for cultural, political and creative activities for all residents, students, travellers and people open to experience a unique side of the city and its culture. Over the past (nearly) five years, through these activities, the Hotel de Ossekop and other open and free cultural spaces in Maastricht have brought together and connected thousands of people from different backgrounds, nationalities and age groups, with nothing short of positive feedback and an active and permanent participation from all those involved both as attendants and as volunteers, wanting to contribute further to its growth and establishment.
Recently, however, this was put to an end through very fast, unnoticed and unpredictable actions taken by Belvédère. At the end of August, the Hotel de Ossekop's electricity was shut down due to what was considered "dangerous conditions", without being provided any choice of action to be taken or any prior notice, having been notified through members outside of the Hotel de Ossekop community hours before this took place. Since, the residents of the Hotel de Ossekop were informed about an action of eviction taking place in November. However, to this date, no official documents or court orders providing justification for evicting the Hotel de Ossekop have been presented to its residents. This means that the Hotel de Ossekop is currently without any sustainable means of pursuing its activities.
The main goal of this petition is to raise awareness of the importance of the Hotel de Ossekop and other open and free cultural spaces currently existing in Maastricht. These spaces provide a unique contribution to the city's cultural growth and dissemination. Currently, these spaces are rare and, by shutting down the Hotel de Ossekop, it is contributing further to the lack of these valuable, voluntary-run, non-profit communities in the city of Maastricht.
Throughout the past years, the Hotel de Ossekop, along with the Mandril, another voluntary-run open and free cultural community neighboring the Hotel de Ossekop, have organised and provided a wide range of activities to the city - fostering political and cultural engagement. Particularly, these two communities have organised weekly jam sessions, which have been very popular for the past years up until this day, bringing together musicians, students and overall enthusiasts. This has provided a base for several projects to grow, such as The Serious Beans Project, Santai or Living Room Sessions - musical projects that have developed into being fully established bands, performing in several popular venues in the city (e.g., Jeker Jazz, Muziekgieterij) and outside the city. Other activities have included weekly juggling and acrobatics workshops, yoga classes, collaborative weekly art sessions, movie screenings, political debates, and theatre workshops and performances. Further, both of these communities have been hosts of several events, such as four editions of the yearly WE Festival, which also included members of these two communities in its organisation, the StuKaFest, KunstTour and Queer It Up Festival. Both of these spaces have continuously collaborated in numerous activities that have been very unique and original in its concept in the city of Maastricht and have opened the space for creative brainstorming and flourishing.
We hope this petition will bring your attention into how important it is to keep these spaces as a part of the city of Maastricht and, also, cooperate in promoting and integrating them further into the city's scope of activities and cultural promotion.
We look forward to further contacts and a mutually growing collaboration. Sincerely,
The residents of the Hotel de Ossekop.