TAM EXCLUSIVE: Henk Schiffmacher Talks About Amsterdam Tattoo Museum Crisis (VIDEO)
First of all we are overwhelmed by the support we’re receiving from all over the world! We can’t thank you enough. Here’s a little history about the museum. What happened, and how come it is like it is now…
Henk’s been collecting tattoo related stuff for over 35 years, he knows a lot about the history and is very passionate about the legacy. Especially nowadays, when about everyone can buy a tattoo machine from the Internet and start tattooing without knowing shit…
After the closing of a small museum in the Red Light District, Henk still had the wish to show the whole collection to the public. By coincidence he met a woman, Madame Jeannette, who had made a small fortune with a reintegration company. She needed a place to put people, who’d been unemployed for a long time, to work. The idea of a cooperation was born. With the profits of her company she would pay the rent (for the first 10 years) and the salaries. In return the museum would provide working places for people in her project. That’s how her company would make money. Due to a lack of time and in good trust we started building the museum without making a contract.
By the opening of the museum last year, the economy had gone bad and the political climate had changed. No more money was put into reintegration projects and the company was making hardly any money.
All the profits of the museum were going to her company so she could pay the rent and salaries. Of course this was not enough. It’s a museum… Bills were not paid and the tension got worse. Small discussions turned into bigger ones and the fact that there still wasn’t a solid contract didn’t help either. In the meantime board members left, some just gave up because of the nasty negotiations and personal accusations. At one point, the new board of the foundation Amsterdam Tattoo Museum decided to end the cooperation with Madame Jeannette’s company, Partners aan het Werk. The unpleasant way the meetings went had a lot to do with this decision. Then, last week we received a letter from Madame Jeannette that told us we were all banned from the building: Henk, Louise, his kids, the board, his employees and crew. Apart from this we were given 14 days to get the collection out of the museum.
What will happen now? We’re negotiating with several parties. The most important is to get Henk’s collection back. We hope we can stay at the Plantage Middenlaan but there is a chance we have to look for a new building. One thing is sure: we need money, to continue by ourselves in our old building, or to build a new museum somewhere else in Amsterdam.
We have faith we can do it. Especially when we’ve seen the worldwide support from the tattoo family. This is really enormous! There are lots of donations, small and big, people who make t-shirts, auction art work and machines, organize a day of tattooing for the museum and other benifit events. It’s crazy! We’ll put a list on our website of all the people donating and organizing. If you miss something or organizing an event to raise some money yourself let us know!
Thank you all so much for everything, all the support, donations & offered help.
Hope to welcome you all soon into our museum.
The ATM crew
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