‘Rijnwijk – My District’
Rijnwijk is a 100-year-old Arnhem neighbourhood. Most residents are unemployed, some houses are squatted. The district is a free state, a ‘no go-area’. A thorn in the side of the local government for decades. Beautifully situated along the river Rhine, and perfect for new apartments and offices.
I have been immersed in this infamous neighbourhood for over a year. I got to know its caring and friendly community. People who stay where they were born, where their parents and grandparents were born. Only thirteen families currently live there, in a place that is reminiscent of a war zone. I sympathize with these residents. They make the best of what is left. One of them is Ronnie, who was fifteen when both his parents died in 1995. Ever since, Ronnie and his little brother survived in the house with help from neighbours.
Dutch society is orderly and clean, and people are expected to fit in. But what if you don’t want to take part in this?