Zeedijk: Disaster Area Explained

The question has been asked what the Dutch text on the back of the Zeedijk-shirt says.

Before we get into that, I have to explain more about the Zeedijk ('Sea dike'). The street is located in the old center of the city and has a past as a seaman's neighborhood. It's the heart of Chinatown, as well as the famed Red Light District. Historically it's an area riddled with crime and drugs. The area went through heavy revitalization and is now a neat area that locals and tourists frequent for shopping, check out art, have drinks and eat some of the best food the city has to offer. All points that made it appealing for us to set up shop here.

The graphic on the shirt is from an historic placard made by residents of the Zeedijk-area almost 30 years ago as a protest against policies of the city council, who declared the Zeedijk a disaster area. The text translates as follows:


The municipality of Amsterdam declares as of today, the area around the outset of the Zeedijk a "disaster area".

Beyond these warnings we can not guarantee the maintenance of public law and order where police and other officials of our municipal services can no longer exercise their functions and guarantee the safety of residents and visitors of the area.

Muggers and drug dealers here have free reign. Residents are advised to move to our hygienic suburbs and visitors can take a look in "Madurodam", where the "city center" has been replicated in scale.

Dealers and international underworld figures can trade in public places at the following addresses:

Zeedijk nr. 12, 14, 16, 18, 19, 22.
Zeedijk nr. 24 (Sassie's Place), 32 (Pacific), 36 ('t Geveltje), 33 (Latche), 46 (Mexico City), 79 (Tearoom).

The following addresses also provide heroin and are open day and night: Café Zaandam, Zeedijk;, the basements of the St. Olofssteeg; the snackcorner, corner P.H./Zeedijk and O.Z. Voorburgwal 2.

W. Polak
Alderman of public health and hospital sector

W. Polak
Deputy Mayor of Amsterdam


And there you have it, a piece of Zeedijk-history demystified.

Leave a Reply

Sorry, you must be logged in to post a comment.