Base-camp Arnhem: introduction
Arnhem is a small (around 150.000 inhabitants), yet bustling river town with a cosmopolitain flair, located along the Lower Rhine, in the East of the Netherlands at 15 minutes distance from the city of Nijmegen (home to the Radboud University) and equally close to Germany. It is surrounded by semi-rural land and bordered by the National Park Hoge Veluwe with its awesome heathlands, sand dunes and woodlands.
Placing Arnhem in a broader West European context the curators of SONSBEEK'16 transACTION, the Indonesian collective ruangrupa accurately observed:
"Contemporary Arnhem can be seen as a model for a lot of other mid-sized Western European cities, which are facing an aging population, high-mobility, intra-generational tensions, and Big Data aspirations. Plans are made for development of infrastructures and buildings, as part of bigger city branding strategies, pushing gentrifications together with the scheme to make every city another Smart City. On the other hand, counter strategies and activisms arise, visible in various spatial practices like community buildings, and alternative artistic practices. Memories linger on civic spaces like museums and parks, caught between old readings and the desire to keep on being relevant".