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27 May 2007

The trailblazing Dutch Provos: Radical print culture in the 1960s (Part 2: Sources)

Provo’s Bicycle Plan

Figure 1: Provocation No. 5 (1965)[1]

Provo’s Bicycle Plan[2]


The asphalt terror of the motorized bourgeoisie has lasted long enough. Human sacrifices are made daily to this latest idol of the idiots: car power. Choking carbon monoxide is its incense, its image contaminates thousands of canals and streets. Provo’s bicycle plan will liberate us from the car monster. Provo introduces the white bicycle, a piece of public property. The first white bicycle will be presented to the press and public on Wednesday July 28th at 3pm near the statue of the Lieverdje, the addicted consumer, on the Spui. The white bicycle is never locked. The white bicycle is the first free communal transport. The white bicycle is a provocation against capitalist private property, for the white bicycle is anarchistic. The white bicycle can be used by anyone who needs it and then must be left for someone else. There will be more and more white bicycles until everyone can use white transport and the car peril is passed. The white bicycle is a symbol of simplicity and cleanliness in contrast to the vanity and foulness of the authoritarian car. In other words: A bike is something, but almost nothing!

Provocation No. 5 – Provo Anarchist Booklet

Quiet Procession

Figure 2: Provocation No. 6 (1965)[3]

Quiet Procession[4]


Police brutality cannot stop the happenings around the LIEVERDJE, THE ADDICTED CONSUMER OF TOMORROW. A happening is a magic event neither uniforms nor swords nor truncheons can change that.

The anarchist movement PROVO issues the following proclamation:

Let people who take part in happenings follow the Catholic example and hold a quiet procession along the imaginary MAGIC CIRCLE around the Lieverdje.


Participants will identify themselves by making the carbon monoxide sign with their handkerchiefs.

FLOWERS at the feet of the Lieverdje.


Provocation No. 6

Provo’s White House Plan

Figure 3: Provo’s White House Plan (1966)[5]

There is a house in Holland[6]

And nobody lives there. It stands in the Dam square in the heart of Amsterdam. The Palace on the Dam is the symbol of the housing shortage. In Amsterdam there are thousands of empty houses around the canals and in the Jordan, the city’s bastion of freedom.

Your house is your pleasure temple. You have a right to your own house, a fair share of the community’s housing. No house in the Magic Centre can be allowed to be demolished if it still being occupied. New Amsterdam!

The Provo ‘White House Plan’ workshop puts forward a grand revolutionary solution to the housing problem, the White House. Anyone can enter the White House and choose his own apartment. New Babylon!

The White House Plan

The White House Plan workshop has taken the following steps:

  1. Declaring the Palace on the Dam the Town Hall, the collective Klaas Temple of the Magic Centre;
  2. Publishing every week a list of addresses of empty houses for distribution on Saturday mornings at 10 in the Dam Square;
  3. Painting the doors and doorposts of empty houses white to indicate that anyone can use them;
  4. Founding an employment agency to mobilise young people in the summer months to combat the housing shortage;

The White House Plan will form part of the New Amsterdam Plan.


[1] Provocation No. 5 (1965) on University of Michigan, Netherlandic Treasures [2] Translation by Stansill and Mairowitz (eds.), BAMN, pp. 26-27 [3] Provocation No. 6 (1965) on International Institute of Social History, A Dozen Souvenirs of Provo [4] Translation by Stansill and Mairowitz (eds.), BAMN, p. 30 [5] Provo’s White House Plan (1966) in Stansill and Mairowitz (eds.), BAMN, p. 28 [6] Translation by Stansill and Mairowitz (eds.), BAMN, pp. 27-28


Andy Walpole said...

There is an excellent book called B.A.M.N: By All Means Necessary.

It's a collection of material from 60s radical groups, including the Dutch Provos...

I would imagine that it is long out of print, but I'm sure you could order it from your local library and let them do the work in finding it.

There's lots of great material in that book to put onto your site...

Stepterix said...


If you check out the references at the bottom of this post you will note that I used the book you mentioned as a source.

I was fortunate to find a second-hand copy of B.A.M.N. a few years ago, which I bought straight away even though the pages were falling out.

I have used the book as a source in a couple of other posts here too:

Wedding Service For Country Joe
Alcatraz Indians

Thanks for the comments anyway