Ravers plan to protest the city's withdrawal of support and general lack of vision for nightlife on Wednesday.
Last year, BAR founders Kristian de Leeuw and Jetti Steffers announced they were working on a new 1500-capacity venue outside of downtown Rotterdam, on the Merwe-Vierhavens docks. The multi-story club space, called Maatschappij Voor Volksgeluk (MAVV), would have reconstructed the derelict port area to include an exhibition hall, multiple dance floors and an outdoor grass area with a naturally filtered pool. Plans for architecture and logistics management had been drafted, while talks about future exhibitions and festivals were already begun.
But MAVV and its ambitious vision came to an unexpected end earlier this month. Notifying De Leeuw and Steffers by mail, the city of Rotterdam pulled out of its cooperation in developing the Merwe-Vierhavens area since the venue did not meet all conditions of the tender offer by February 1st.
This came as a surprise to the venue's team. Speaking to 3voor12, De Leeuw said, "We are really duped. A lot of capital has been destroyed and cultural capital has been lost. For a year and a half, we worked very intensively with the municipality; previously there was never a hard deadline." He goes on to mention the competing interests for the port area, which could alternatively become the center of a new residential development.
At the end of last year, De Leeuw and Steffers also announced the closing of BAR, which has become a staple in Rotterdam's nightlife over its six year run. The capital and resources would be needed for their next project, MAVV, which they aimed to open later this year. Those employed by BAR will be out a job when it closes in June of this year, and the founders have no immediate plans to start up again.
Rotterdam's nightlife community has responded to this news with activism. A planned protest has appeared on Facebook called Opstaan voor de nacht ("Stand up for the night"). The Facebook event reads: "The famous Rotterdam nightlife has been in decline for years and has now literally been given a place in the museum. Now that the latest attempt to create a relevant club in Rotterdam has also failed, we are going to protest."
The rally will take place on Wednesday in front of City Hall. A crowdfunding page has also been created to help the BAR team recoup some of their costs.