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Tuinbazen and the commons



Each park in Amsterdam contains a unique culture. The Vondelpark and the Amstelpark are quite different and the gardeners of Amsterdam know this better than anyone. They possess the knowledge and skills needed to maintain these unique parks.

As a result of the economic crisis and the associated shrinking government expenditure, the budgets for the design and maintenance of public space have reduced significantly in recent years. Policy has become highly centralised. Yet simultaneously, public interest in nature, ecology and sustainability has increased.


How can gardeners be the linchpin in activating the maintenance and management of urban parks? KETTER&Co explores how to rethink the appreciation, visibility and role of the gardener as part of a sustainable model of communal management of our public space. Circular and inclusive rather than hierarchical and exclusive. With Tuinbazen, KETTER&Co puts Amsterdam's gardeners in the spotlight and gives them a voice throughout the governance process. We bring their knowledge and craftsmanship to the attention of park visitors and policymakers. As craftsmen, educators and inspirers, gardeners have the potential to improve the relationship between the park and the environment by sharing their knowledge with others. Their mere presence can maintain and enhance the diversity of the parks.


In 2022, KETTER&Co published the Tuinbazen paper. The publication shows and connects all dimensions of the Tuinbazen project. It is an overview of the ideas, the gardeners and their expertise, the interventions and research methods, and the importance of our shared role in taking care of our "commons", such as our parks. The publication can be ordered here.


KETTER&Co spotlights the maintenance of parks and involves park visitors in the development of a well-functioning park as one of our "commons".


Garden bosses and the commons

Where it all started

Tuinbazen is a continuation of Irene Fortuyn's research and work on parks, their maintenance and the value of greenery in the urban environment. Through the exhibition 'The Garden and the Gardener' and the presentation 'Sweeping and pruning', the focus increasingly shifted to providing a platform for the voices and knowledge of gardeners.

Exhibition in the Amstelpark

In February 2020, the final exhibition took place in the Amstelpark to celebrate the collaboration between @zone2source and the Tuinbazen project. The Amstelpark had served as a year-long testing ground and the result of this was presented in the Glass House. Garlands of waste spanned the space, a film about the Gardeners’ Conference in September of that year was presented and written in chalk on the ground were the outstanding tasks for which the gardeners did not have time that year, due to the shortage of time and people. Additionally, every bouquet that was presented to the mayor that year as part of 'Blooms for Democracy’ was on display. Special attention was paid to the significance of parks – both for visitors and those who care for it.

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