Former Ministry of Internal Affairs 1 & 2 - 00:12:47, no sound
Every building was once a plan, a drawing on the drawing board. Lucas and Niemeyer, the architects of this building, had a clear plan. A hermetic repetitive design, modernistic space that would radiate precision and functionality. A new city would soon arise from the shadow of this modular structure. A modern city in which high rises would dominate the cityscape. Form in cadence. That city was never built. The grand metropolitan context remained absent; the ministry became a block in the city center. Over time, the users of the complex changed the layout of their spaces. The initial plan was exposed and meddled with. Turbidity is the fate of every plan which tries to be rigid.
The ambiance in the outside spaces of the ministries, on the terraces and the patios, is peculiar. One finds himself in a movie decor, a surrounding existing out of straight lines and surfaces. Built with solid material, cold weldings and hints of rawness in the shape of a thicket. One is surrounded by steel, stone and glass. Everything is straight and taut. The gardens were hardly ever tread.
An exception was the Saint Nicolas ceremony*. Only then, the door to the outside was opened and the Saint Nicolas walked through the garden. He passed the concrete path between the retaining walls and pebble-stone beaches, over the steel rosters, along the big windows facing the side entrance towards the restaurant. The children of the aldermen awaited the Saint, filled with expectations. The scene was observed from the offices within the high-rises. Peculiar but true, the entire ritual was to be repeated a second time the next day. Yet again across the concrete path towards the restaurant. Two days, two Saints. The Ministry contained a parallel universe, two worlds living alongside each other. The visible, public world of Interior Affairs and its shadowing variation which was invisible and secretive. The latter is what people called ‘BZK-2’.
It was whispered, and was not allowed to exist in print; the presence of the secret service inside of the building. Even though invisible, the secret service employees’ children deserved a Sinterklaas ceremony. The fact that the true nature of ‘BZK-2’ was revealed is of secondary importance.
*A traditional catholic celebration of Saint Nicolas’ (Sinterklaas) birthday on December fifth. On this day he and his servant Black Pete (Zwarte Piet) give presents to all children of the Netherlands.
Film concept, camera and montage by Onno Dirker and Christian van der Kooy, TodaysArt Festival, The Hague 2013
Thanks to: Sint Nicolaas Actie Aloysius College.
Sint 1: Frank Wubben
Sint 2: Kees Swaanenburg