The municipality withdraws the tax assessment of Remco Cambert’s poem on the façade of De Bezige Bij

The municipality withdraws the tax assessment of Remco Cambert's poem on the façade of De Bezige Bij

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Alderman Hester Van Buren reports Monday evening, after reporting from ParoleThat evaluation has been withdrawn. This beautiful poem by Remco Campert is actually not subject to advertising tax. “We will report this to De Besig-Pig,” she said on Twitter. The attack would be a “disproportionate consequence of the rules”.

Remco Camebert’s poem on the facade.Figure Charlotte Odijk

It was a solemn, even emotional moment in June 2017. In honor of the 70th anniversary of De Bezige Bij, Remco Campert unveiled part of his poem at the headquarters of the publishing house Someone asks a questioncontinuing in Song of the Eighteen Dead It was written by his father, Jean Camembert, in 1941. This was the first edition of the Resistance publisher. Since then, the poem has adorned the facade of Van Miereveldstraat in Oud-Zuid.

So there was a big surprise when the tax assessment fell to the mat last spring. The municipality considers the poem to be an advertisement, so €166.67 must be paid for the second half of 2022. The rules for commercial expressions in public spaces were tightened in 2020, but the municipality only started to enforce them last year.


Writers’ association De Bezige Bij, the owner of the building, was completely surprised by the tax assessment. “I am dumbfounded. It must be a mistake,” says Marc Schaevers, president of the association that leases the building to the publisher. “It is impossible to explain how this poetic message, which is also part of the history of the resistance, could be confused with an advertising message. As if De Bezige Bij would sell even a collection of Remco Campert’s poems more because of this frontage text.”

My landlord paid the tax bill (“We are very obedient”) but also filed an objection this week.

In an initial reaction, alderman spokesman Hester Van Buren said Monday afternoon: “Art and poetry on the street enrich our city. Remko Kampert’s wonderful poem of resistance is a striking example of this. In principle, artistic expressions such as advertisements are not subject to Historical façade or murals of advertising tax Advertising tax only applies where there is a clear relationship between the advertisement and the establishment or company incorporated in that building In such a case it is considered whether there is a direct interest and on this basis it is assessed whether taxes are imposed Or not.It will happen here too.

A gift for the city

The case resembles that of Studio Stallinga, lighting and installation artist Henk Stallinga’s company on Tt. Vasumweg in the north. Since 2014, a painting by the famous artist Tim Ayres has appeared on it, along with the text “The fruit falls off and its flesh is inside” on the interface. Studio Stallinga considered the work a “gift to the city”, but according to the municipality, it is reported to have paid hundreds of euros in advertising tax.

The company has already filed three objections to the assessments, but has yet to hear from the tax authorities. Whether alderman van Buren’s forgiveness of De Bezige Bij has consequences for Studio Stallinga is not clear. “We’ll take another hard look at this objection,” a council spokesman said Monday night after Van Buren withdrew de Page’s attack.

System error

Last year, northerners also freaked out because they hung a poster behind their window, including a banner on windmills or announcing a cultural event. After protests, Alderman Van Buren admitted there was a fault in the automated system and the assessment was waived.

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