Lola Lik is a cultural hub situated in the former main building of the Bijlmerbajes prison and neighbour to the refugee centre Wenckebachweg which is home to up to 1,000 refugees.

By pioneering with a cultural hub next to the refugee centre in a time of fear and division, Amsterdam offers a space for inspiration and connection. Lola Lik works closely together with COA, the organisation responsible for the reception and supervision of asylum seekers coming to the Netherlands. Together we run educational and entertainment programmes and search for new creative ways to welcome and support ‘New Amsterdammers’ living in the centre.

“Lik” doesn’t only refer to the Amsterdam slang for prison, but also to “a stroke of paint”. Everyone in Lola Lik is encouraged to add their own “lik” and to add their craft, ideas or network to the hub.

The 9000m² of available space is used by creative professionals, social enterprises, craftspeople and program developers. Many of them co-create with the inhabitants of the refugee centre or offer vocational training. Others contribute to the hub by offering programs or organising events. Lola Lik is a place where new and old Amsterdammers, entrepreneurs and start-ups, job-seekers and employers, talents and driving forces will meet.

Lola Lik is a public space, which means that the doors are open and all the inhabitants of Amsterdam are welcome for a cup of coffee in the Refugee Company café.

The Amsterdam Approach

Lola Lik fits within the framework of de “Amsterdamse aanpak” (the “Amsterdam approach”), which is the City of Amsterdam’s policy to encourage activities aimed at the accelerated integration of refugees. Together with 40 professional partners, Gemeente Amsterdam has signed the “Amsterdam werkt voor iedereen” (“Amsterdam works for everyone”) agreement, which is a pledge to help guide refugees towards work, education and entrepreneurship.

about Lola

LOLA (leegstandoplossers Amsterdam) has been commissioned by Gemeente Amsterdam to create this hub. LOLA provides a framework where energy can nestle and bloom and where development is flexible and organic with a focus on the process and not the result. It is about facilitating energy, making connections en reserving space for spontaneous developments and new opportunities.

The Lola Lik identity, design and website implementation have been realised by The Visual Theatre.

Pictures by Philippe Bro Photography & Me_Marie