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18/1 Palestine at the Jewish Historical Museum

18/1 What is the right size for a district?

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16/1 Committee: 7 districts by 2010

15/1 Soldiers may attend Afghanistan debate after all

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14/1 Youth for Christ to republish vacancies

13/1 Paintings of the Zuidas

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11/1 Social cohesion initiative raises eyebrows

10/1 Fewer districts in 2010

10/1 Zuidas: People feel that we are losers

9/1 Fun on the ice - but not for all

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1/1 Mustapha Laboui leaves district council


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Christus Koning Church probably saved

5 July 2008 - The elegant Christus Koning Church was going to be demolished, but an Orthodox Catholic parish wants to use the building and it will probably be saved after all. The Oost District Council has asked the district to develop new plans for the neighbourhood.

The church was going to be demolished to make room for a community school. However, according to Gerard van de Molen (SP), the Haarlem Diocese has sold the building to the Ymere Housing Corporation on condition that some of the space would be used for a new church.

Now that the Orthodox Catholic Willibrordus Parish is interested in using the church, the Haarlem Diocese has gone to court to have the sale of the building undone, arguing that Ymere has failed to meet the conditions of the sale, Van de Molen says. The Diocese was unable to comment on Friday.

Meanwhile, the Monuments and Archaeology Bureau (BMA) of the Amsterdam Municipality has included the Christus Koning Church in a top-100 of valuable post-war buildings in Amsterdam, drawn up at the request of Alderman Tjeerd Herrema.

The church was included with the express purpose of protecting it from being demolished, Vincent van Rossem of the BMA told Amsterdams Stadsblad: "We removed a house at the Muzenplein in Zuid from the list so as to be able to include the Christus Koning Church. There are plans to demolish the church, but the house was a huge villa. That's unlikely to be demolished".

Demolishing the church was part of a renovation plan for the Don Bosco neighbourhood. The SP was unhappy with the plan, because affordable housing would be replaced with expensive houses, Van de Molen says.

With the demolition of the Christus Koning Church becoming more and more problematic, the SP and coalition parties PvdA and Meerbelangen presented a motion calling on the administration to develop new plans for the neighbourhood.

The motion targets the new alderman Willem Paquay (SP). Another district council member recently criticised Paquay for subsidising a 'vague' social cohesion initiative. In both cases, members of the SP criticised the alderman for decisions that had been taken before he took office.

Van de Molen acknowledges that SP council members are helping Paquay create room to set his own course, distinct from previous district policies. "Districts have very limited powers", Van de Molen says, "so you have to use those powers as effectively as you can".

In the case of the Christus Koning Church, it seems unlikely that the rest of the administration will have a problem with the change of course. Last year, alderwoman Germaine Princen, then responsible for the Don Bosco neighbourhood, told News from Amsterdam she was not exactly enthusiastic about the demolition plans.

See also Toekomst Kerkgebouwen (in Dutch)


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