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Van Thijn had NOlympics infiltrated

14 November 2008 - In the 1980s, then mayor Ed van Thijn had the police infiltrate an action group that successfully protested against Amsterdam's bid for the 1992 Olympics, he told the TV programme Andere Tijden. Next week, the Dutch Olympic Committee will decide on preparations to bid for the 2028 Games.

In the 1980s, Amsterdam tried to compete with Barcelona for the 1992 Games. Spokesperson Marijn de Koning was sceptic at first, "but gradually, you started to believe in it, since you're working on it on a daily basis".

An action group called NOlympics, headed by Saar Boerlage, thought the Games would only cause problems for Amsterdam. In order to convince members of the IOC that Amsterdam was not a suitable location, they sent them photos of riots and of syringes lying on the streets.

They also staged loud protests at places where IOC members met: first at the Amstel Hotel, and later in Lausanne, just before the decision was to be made. Pro-Amsterdam lobbyists were indignant at the protests.

Given its anti-Apartheid image and the multicultural feel of the Albert Cuyp market, Amsterdam was counting on the votes of African IOC members. However, some of them reportedly were more interested in a Mercedes or an education for their kids.

Nevertheless, the pro-Amsterdam lobby was convinced that Amsterdam was a serious candidate. They were shocked when only five out of eighty-five IOC members voted in favour of Amsterdam.

Andere Tijden (in Dutch). Image: early protest against the 2028 bid, Amsterdam Marathon, 19 October 2008. Photo Indymedia


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