Stichting de Vrije Keyser
De Wittenstraat 100
1052BA Amsterdam
IBAN NL80INGB0008120293
Fiscaal 8080.03.008
KVK nummer 33306664

Doelstellingen en beleid

Vrije Keyser heeft zich ten doel gesteld de Europese, Nederlandse en Amsterdamse niet gouvernementele organisaties (sociaal maatschappelijke organisaties) en niet geïnstitutionaliseerde cultuur groepen mogelijkheden te bieden low budget audiovisuele middelen voor hun campagnes en activiteiten te gebruiken, campagnes van deze groepen te ondersteunen middels het vervaardigen van hoogwaardig (het streven is ondanks de semi-professionaliteit van de medewerkers zowel in beeld als geluid een grote kwaliteit na te streven) video materiaal en diverse maatschappelijke thema’s van deze organisaties te thematiseren middels eigen producties. Bij het laatste ligt de nadruk vooral op migratie en globalisering in de breedste zin. Uitgangspunt is low budget en kosten neutraal. Bij de Vrije Keyser werken uitsluitend vrijwilligers.
-verzorgen video screenings zowel binnen als buiten en tevens verzorgen we voor groepen en instellingen politiek inhoudelijk materiaal.
-wekelijkse uitzending op het open kanaal op de Amsterdamse kabel met nieuws en achtergronden van de alternatieve protest- en cultuur beweging.
-filmen en monteren van korte en langere films, adbusters, en komische films voor campagnes van diverse organisaties.
-trainingen in het gebruik van video en beeld en in het monteren van het geschoten materiaal.
-combinatie pakketten van een video en een brochure/boek over diverse thema’s zoals migratie, Europese Unie en dergelijke voor middelbare scholen en/of een breder publiek.
-ondertiteling van buitenlandse films over acties, campagnes en achtergronden uit diverse talen, Zweeds, Spaans, Italiaans, Portugees, Engels, Duits, Frans etc. naar het Engels of het Nederlands.


Voor de komende jaren zijn een aantal projecten in ontwikkeling met kunstenaars uit binnen- en buitenland voor tentoonstellingen in Nederland en buiten Nederland.
Daarnaast zijn er nieuwe contacten met niet gouvernementele organisaties voor documentaire werk, assistentie voor video dagboeken en videoblogs en andere multimediale projecten.


1. Woldberg, secretaris
2. Duivenvoorden, penningmeester
3. Douwes, voorzitter

Bestuursleden hebben geen recht op een vergoeding.

Er zijn geen werknemers in dienst van de stichting.

Vrijwilligers krijgen een maandelijkse vergoeding van maximaal 150 euro per maand.


Overzicht werk 2009 – 2017


Wampumworld 2016/2017

Wampum World is about wampum, which is made from shell. Historically it had manifold functions for Native Americans in various aspects of their societies and is still today considered sacred. In contrast Dutch settlers, having recognized the value of wampum for Native Americans, used wampum in exchange with European goods in order to procure beaver pelts, as part of the 17th c. trade triangle ‘beaver, wampum, hoes’. Metal coinage was not readily available in ‘New Netherland’ and therefore wampum served as a currency. Wampum World visually elucidates this historical exchange system and present day usages of wampum from various perspectives.
Wampum World attempts to facilitate a greater understanding of wampum to the general public, not only a historical document or medium of exchange, but in regard to its modern day usages and meanings as a ‘cultural currency’.
The Wampum World transmedia platform contains video clips with interviewees, photos of the production process and textual contributions. Specific archival and research documents have been digitalised – facilitating access to manuscripts and photos previously unseen or not readily available to the general public. When the visitor clicks on various videos, texts and images, a unique ‘wampum string’ is created of ‘beads’ that reflects each of the viewed pages. This enables interactive storytelling and non-linear narratives to evolve, determined by the visitors to the site. Viewers (users) will be able to contribute comments to the site, which other viewers, in turn, can respond to.
Eventually this transmedia platform will showcase documentation from the forthcoming contemporary art exhibition Wampum World at Albany Institute History and Art (AIHA). The exhibition opens on March 4 and runs until June 18, 2017, combining video installations, drawings, prints and works by Renée Ridgway, along with pieces from their collection.


Materia Media, 2015/2016

Transpose our thoughts now back to 600 years ago in an era of global exploration for new commodities, or ‘novelties’ extending to all continents. What were these explorers searching for, other than that of ‘immutable mobile’, studying material and spatial specificities of scientific instruments and practices? In 1498, along the Malabar (Kerala) coast, Vasco da Gama was a competitor to Arab merchants with an agenda to procure spices and monopolise the trade for the Portuguese.
Purportedly, da Gama requested permission to the Zamorin of Calicut to take a few pepper saplings with him back to Portugal. The Zamorin’s minister expressed caution, which the Zamorin ignored and instead granted his request, stating: “Let him take the pepper plants. After all, he cannot take our climate with him.”
One particular Portuguese doctor: Garcia da Orta, came to India to learn more about medicine, especially pepper. His name is derived from the Latin Hortus, or Portuguese, Horta meaning garden. His comprehensive book on Asian botany, ‘Colloquies on the simples and drugs from India’, collated hearsay from Arab traders and medicine men who had their own experimental fruit and medicinal gardens. Orta engages in conversation with the imaginary figure of Ruano, possibly a young Orta or devil’s advocate who defends Western medicinal knowledge and classification. Published in Goa in 1563, it was the first secular book printed in India. It provided the foundation for further botanical and medicinal studies of indigenous.
These dialogues in ethno-botany encompass many references, drawn from disparate sources including indigenous expertise from users and eyewitnesses. Remarkably, those who gather the plants are also given voice, such as with the figure of Antonia, a local Konkani servant who brings Bangue or cannabis: “Here is the tree of the small ones, and see here is the seed, and here is what they sell in the drug shop. For you told me to bring them altogether.“
Drugs were sold and exchanged but it was pepper that was most desired and it eventually became known as Malabar Gold. According to Orta: “The usual price of black pepper at Cochin is 2 cruzados, but in Bengal 12 cruzados; while the long pepper sells in Bengal at 1 cruzados. They put this pepper on the tables of the lords as we put salt. It is esteemed in both parts of Malabar as good against poison and for the eyes.”
It was actually a Dutchman living in Goa and working in the service of the Portuguese, Jan Huygen van Linschoten, who read Orta’s book and copied excerpts from it for his own ‘Itinerario’. Rumour has it that Linschoten sold his copy to the skipper of the ship Pedr’ Alvares. The ‘ex-libris’ tells how it went to the Dietrichstein family, then to Christina, Queen of Sweden, who in turn gave it to the Dutchman Isaak Vossius, whose heirs sold his books to the Leiden library, the place and space where we film.
With its manifold functions Linschoten’s four-volume ‘Itinerario’ imbibed the interdisciplinarity of not only the navigational, but the social and economic conditions of the era. Ships were heterotopias that circumnavigated the world with cargoes of commodities and relied on accurate cartography. The capitalistic exchange system between the Dutch cities and the Indian continent would rely on the circulation of plant specimens, scientific ideas, technological instruments and indigenous knowledge.
Like with the city of Goa, which had a population of 200,000 in the 16th century.
Linschoten’s name appears in each of his illustrations that portray Goa as very different to the Protestant industrious Lowlands. Spices, fruits, a stock exchange and even the moneychanger comprise an incredibly detailed illustration of Goa’s commerce street, Rua Direita. Linschoten’s ethnographic portraits reflect the Goan multicultural society as a mixture of merchants, slaves and localites. He writes: “many sorts of captives and slaves, both men and women, young and old, which are daylie sould there, as beasts are sold with us, where everie one may chuse which liketh him best, everie one at a certaine price.” As the slaves are brokered in this main street, the elite are carried through the city by servants, shielded from the sun.
The life of leisure and decadence in Portuguese colonial India was facilitated by the labour of slaves from all corners of the world. Not only mansions for the Portuguese but temples or ‘pagodas’ as they were called, were built alongside mosques. Local fruits, spices and drugs were harvested by locals such as the hallucinogenic datura, or jimsonweed, given to husbands by mestizo wives so that they could do as they pleased. ‘Itinerario’ shows the new commodities, such as the desired pepper plants, but also drug gardens of ‘bangue’ (cannabis) and ‘opium’. Their seeds became specimens for ‘physic’ or herb gardens and were shipped back, attempting cultivation in Europe.
Linschoten printed the first part of ‘Itinerario’, entitled ‘Reys-Geschrift’ or ‘travel notes’ in 1595, which revealed the carefully guarded ‘trade wind’ information of Portuguese navigation so that the Dutch could use it for their first voyage to join in the European race toward colonial expansion.
The VOC (Dutch East India Company) used these trade winds and in 1663 captured the Portuguese fort in Cochin, sending most Portuguese back to Goa. Carolus Clusius, translator of Orta’s book to Latin, instructed VOC employees to collect specimens and dried plants for his botanical garden in Leiden. One VOC employee, who was also inspired by Orta’s book, constructed his own garden of indigenous plants.
Hendrik van Reede tot Drakenstein a.k.a. Commadore Odatha to the locals, as ‘Odatha’ means garden in Malayalam, created not only a physical garden but one of text and images, the Hortus Indicus Malabaricus. The 12 volumes contain sworn statements from the individual indigenous physicians Itty Achudan, and 3 Konkani Brahmins: Ranga Bhat, Vinayaka Pandit and Appu Bhat. This was the first printing of the Malayalam and Konkani Brahmin Nagari scripts. Exquisite Dutch 17th c. engravings of 740 Malabar plants, with their names in 4 languages are juxtaposed alongside descriptions of their medicinal workings. This earliest comprehensive work on the flora of Malabar was printed in Amsterdam between 1678-1693, produced and self-financed by Van Reede. Is it an illustrated botanical garden, a taxonomy of named plants, a medicinal bible, a translator’s dictionary, or perhaps an object of art?
Besides books, the transfer and classification of material medica – new exotic, indigenous plants from India – meant forming landscapes of indigenous botanical knowledge systems with transplants. Eventually climatic control was achieved through the construction of ‘physic gardens’, which provided environments to grow medicinal plants for apothecaries of imported specimens from distant lands.
However it wasn’t until the 18th century, with mass-produced glass, that ‘hothouses’ were designed to keep out the European winter.
Finally reproducing the so-desired South Asian tropical ‘climate’ to which the Zamorin referred, pepper plants could thrive all year round.
Eventually the 3mm ‘Dutch light’ horticultural glass engineered the modern day greenhouse system, enabling the cultivation of off-season fruits and vegetables for consumption worldwide, for which they are known. Nowadays crop production in the Netherlands includes experiments of cultivation of plants without sunlight or even growing potatoes in climates like those on Mars.


Women in Warzones, 2014

Digital (alter) Natives, 2013
For the videos DNI-IV digital natives from all over the world were interviewed around four issues, juxtapositioning images with spoken content. The following 4 clips were specially edited teasers of the Digital Natives videos for public transport in Lueneburg. From 4 February 2013 to 4 March 2013 they run on the screens in public busses (between central station and university campus).
The first video, DNI addresses the construction of the digital native (DN) with comments, critiques and opinions from the interviewees, visualizing a shift in how digital natives are imaged and perceived.
The second video DNII focuses on the real vs. the digital whereby the division between physical reality and virtual reality is dismissed to build more comprehensive accounts of digital native practices.
The third clip DNIII explores the processes that produce possibilities and potentials for social change through political participation and the role that technologies play in defining civic action and social movements. What are the relationships that these technology-based identities and practices have with existing political legacies?
The last video DNIV combines connectivity, collaboration, inspiration and transformation but also reflects upon the limits of cyberspace, its borders and the eventual co-optation of technology by users.


The Wanted Land, 2012

The Wanted Land, February 15th-22nd 2012, David Hall, Fort Cochin, India
The Wanted Land is comprised of video installations that refer to the Hortus Malabaricus, its compiler Hendrik van Reede tot Drakenstein, its contemporary usage as well as the history and present-day traces of Dutch colonization in Fort Cochin.
The Wanted Land focuses on the cultural exchange that has occurred over the past 350 years on the Malabar Coast between the Dutch and the local population. This collaboration resulted in the production of the Hortus Malabaricus, a 12-volume work that illustrates with exquisite prints of around 700 medicinal indigenous plants. The Hortus Malabaricus also forms the conceptual focal point of the exhibition that will be shown in the exact location where historians presume this archival document was originally produced.
The former Dutch governor, Commodore Odatha a.k.a. Hendrik van Reede tot Drakenstein collaborated with Ayurvedic physicians, botanists, translators and artisans to produce the Hortus Malabaricus. Printed in Amsterdam between 1678-1693, names in 5 languages, it explains the medicinal workings of the plants and the knowledge contained within it is still significant today.
These video installations were part of The Unwanted Land exhibition at Museum Beelden aan Zee in Den Haag last year.


Forty Years FOEI, 2011

Friends of the Earth International celebrates 40 years of mobilization, resistance and transformation.
Today Friends of the Earth International, the world’s largest global grassroots federation of environmental groups, marks its 40th anniversary. Throughout the year we will celebrate, together with our member groups and supporters, all that we have achieved over the past forty years. Our anniversary is also an opportunity to look ahead to the next forty years and to stress the urgency of a global transformation towards environmentally sustainable and socially just societies.
Friends of the Earth International was founded in 1971 in Roslagen, Sweden by a group of environmental activists from France, Sweden, the UK and the US. These activists saw a pressing need for an organization that would facilitate the tackling of cross-boundary environmental issues. Forty years later, the federation boasts 76 member groups and over 2 million individual members and supporters around the world. Our positions and campaigns are informed by our work with the grassroots and communities. Friends of the Earth International is also part of a global environmental and social movement that includes farmers, indigenous peoples, workers, women and young people.
Nnimmo Bassey, chair of Friends of the Earth International, said: “As we work together around the world, we show belligerent institutions and governments that the path to the future is one of solidarity and not of competition and destruction. We are proud to say that in forty years we have grown in numbers and power and will continue to stand firmly with people struggling for environmental justice across the world.”
Friends of the Earth International members campaigns together on today’s most urgent environmental and social issues, from biodiversity to climate change and from agrofuels to mining. We work to diminish influence of neoliberal economic policies and the actions of some of the world’s most influential transnational companies and investors. We are calling for sustainable societies that ensure environmental and social justice, human dignity, and respect for human and peoples’ rights. We are convinced that a better world is necessary and possible, and will continue our work towards this end over the next 40 years.


Migrating Democrazy, 2010

Migrating Democrazy at Manifesta8 10-minute TV broadcast Spanish spoken with English subtitles.
Manifesta, the European Biennial of Contemporary Art, was this year
located in the Region of Murcia, Spain, focusing on a dialogue with Northern Africa. At the invitation of one of the chosen curatorial teams, Chamber of Public Secrets (CPS), we produced a 10-minute TV programme for Canal 7. Entitled migrating democrazy and made in collaboration with documentary filmmaker Vrije Keyser, it was also presented within the exhibition venues in Murcia at the Media Lounge and Cartagena at the former prison.
During a research period this summer and with the assistance of Abelardo Sainz, we interviewed the local residents in the region of Murcia, Velez Blanco, and especially the neighbourhood El Molinete in Cartagena. Anecdotes about their own family histories, ranging from the Spanish Civil War to unresolved boating deaths, migration traumas and border controls all reflect the current state of affairs.
If one were to reflect on the migration of democracy and the manifold definitions of what democracy actually means we come to a paradox of movement and standing still. Some of us can move freely without much trouble, others cannot and are sometimes even imprisoned for having tried to ‘migrate democracy’. Or rather migrate democrazy– it is like a gadget everyone wants to have but it is like a foreign language in the mouth, poisonous because of the lack of control in the production process.
Addressed by the protagonists themselves, migrating democrazy can be seen as a frenzied cartography of the perception of borders. migrating democrazy shows diverse modes of participation and action, between parties large and small, known as well as unknown. It begins with the ‘art of traveling’ with boat refugees coming from Africa to Europe, escaping a lack of a future and capitalist induced poverty whilst going to the source. With the ‘art of economy’, cheap workers from all over the world work for low costs in Spain. Uitilising the ‘art of surveillance’ and the ‘art of war’, Frontex is the new frontline machine in the war on migration, with its Indalo operation. The ‘art of smuggling’ is the very blurred line between criminality and humanity, in similar quotation between humanitarian warfare and welfare. The ‘art of humanity’, in which civilians help/support migrants across the Mediterranean sea connects to the ‘art of hospitality’, where people give others shelter, or work and take care of them. Lastly the ‘art of dying’ surfaces, in which bodies float on the sea and wash ashore.


Unwanted Land, 2010

The exhibition The Unwanted Land opened on October 22, 2010 till February 13, 2011 at Museum Beelden aan Zee in Den Haag, NL.
These installations utilize stagings, videos and performances to investigate emigration, immigration, integration and finally disintegration – the apparent loss of an appropriated umbrella Dutch identity. (The Unwanted Land) Dutchness as an identity, a construction formulated by non-indigenous Dutch elements, uses the VOC (Dutch East Indian Company) in India as a conceptual paradigm. Its undertakings and undoings are still visible today. (The Wanted Land)
The cultural exchange that occurred 350 years ago on the Malabar Coast between the colonisers and the colonised remains significant. During this early contact a former Dutch governor (Commodore Odatha a.k.a. Hendrik van Reede tot Drakenstein) collaborated with Ayurvedic (a traditional Indian system for holistic healing) doctors, assisted by botanists, translators and artisans to produce the Hortus Malabaricus, a 12-volume work printed in Amsterdam between 1678-1693 that illustrates around 700 medicinal plants and explains their workings.
The Unwanted Land: A Study into Unbecoming Dutch, Part I(werktitel): The integrated multi-media installation will consist of 4 spaces, which all relate to Dutchness, an identity construction formulated in this case by non-indigenous Dutch elements that uses the VOC (Dutch East Indian Company) and the WIC (West Indian Company) as a conceptual paradigm. These stagings invite the viewer to reflect on the construction of Dutchness and investigate emigration, immigration, integration, disintegration and the eventual apparent loss of an appropriated umbrella Dutch identity. The installations will visually and conceptually engage the public with various aspects and treatments I have undergone, as well as those of others. I wish to invite the viewer on a journey of participation that visually imparts a focus on the Dutch colonial past intertwined with my own contemporary immigration narrative, becoming reworked, reinscripted, reconstituted in the here and now.


Testimonies project, 2009

In 2008, Friends of the Earth International hosted three commmunity testimonies from Africa, Latin America and Asia. Read here about the experiences of our three interns.
Community testimonies: building capacityEkue Assem from FoE Togo spent the period between February and April 2008 in the International Secretariat as a community testimonies project intern. Read what he has to say about his experience:
“I acquired video capturing, editing and subtitling skills and also I learned how to edit and upload information onto the web site. These skills will be very useful back home as they will allow me to develop a new communication channel on our website. FoE Togo can now produce its own CDs and DVDs regarding our activities and share them with other groups.”
“Despite the fact that Friends of the Earth groups are far away from the International Secretariat, there is a very good coordination of the network’s activities thanks to its powerful communication network. I am very happy because I met enthusiastic people working hard for a better world, always available to help. The International Secretariat is the greatest place in the world to work because it is a place where people really care about poor communities. Being the first African who worked at the International Secretariat can only make me happy and proud.”
Ekue’s follow up project for 2009: Filming climate affected people on the coast of Ghana
Francisco Javier Molina from FoE Honduras was the second community testimonies project intern, from May through July 2008. His feedback about the training period is as follows:
“I deeply appreciated the opportunity and all the lessons learned during my stay in Amsterdam. For me it was very important to return to Honduras with new skills and to replicate these in my local area, with the participation of our communities. I will continue filming testimonies about their problems and their lives, and hope in this way to inspire people to continue working for a fair, just and sustainable world.”
“In the future, I would like to participate in workshops with members of the federation in order to share my experience and knowledge about community testimonies. I want to develop a manual for video editing using free software, and teach people how to use this software. Also, I want to do some workshops with young people so that they can make testimonies about their local issues.”
Francisco’s follow-up project: filming and editing testimonies about the resistance of the Garifuna people to the “Bay of Tela” mega-tourism project.
Tatang Wibowo from FoE Indonesia had his training in the International Secretariat between October and November 2008. He describes his experience as follows:
“Some of skills I acquired were interviewing, editing and filming. The training was very important in enabling me to make good community testimonies. This will also be very useful back home. I met with groups such as Amnesty International, as well as FoE Europe, FoE Netherlands and other FoE members.”
“In the future, I recommend that video exercises be discussed in more detail so that a participant’s progress can be better monitored. I could also have benefited from more technical materials about editing. Finally, it would be ideal if the international secretariat could have a special unit for documentary movie making.”
Tatang’s follow up project for 2009: Training Indonesian youth in filming and interview techniques.


Holland Mania, 2009

Museum De Lakenhal and Scheltema in Leiden, the Netherlands announce the exhibition Holland Mania from May 16th to August 31, 2009. Eight artists are invited to reflect on the American and Japanese pictorial image of the Netherlands. The most recent instalment of the Manhattan Project looks not only at 400 years of Dutch colonial settlement in the United States, but the city of Leiden- 400 years after the Pilgrims settled and eventually departed to the new world. What types of images are conjured up through literature, historical texts, remnants of the past and oral traditions?
Using the museum context as a background with its collection of historical exhibits, prints, paintings and objects, this series of works gathers a range of perspectives in regard to constructions of identity, in the form of ‘Dutchness’ as well as contemporary Wampanoag peoples. Imagery consists of a Pennsylvania Dutch quilt designed by the Amish yet composed from the Dutch and American flags. Dial Dutchness is an installation throughout the museum incorporating Leiden telephone book pages and eight multi-coloured PTT T-65 telephones with audio tracks from locals as well as Americans with Dutch last names. These ‘vox populi’ voices are contrasted in Pillars of Orange-expert opinions presented as literary silk-screened excerpts from literature, music and academic texts as if for an imaginary book on ‘Dutchness’, contrasted by real books from the secret Pilgrim Press. In the chapel of the museum the installation Wampanoag uses the existent paintings and objects as a staging for two drawings and a single channel video projection where the Wampanoag do not re-enact but rather answer specific questions regarding 17th century conventions, oral histories and the contemporary usage of wampum.
The museum has also kindly offered me a studio during the exhibition as an impromptu call centre in which to continue the Dial Dutchness installation as well as work on the forthcoming online platform Beaver, Wampum, Hoes. Please let me know if you plan on coming to visit or if I should call you instead.


Re-Sisters, 2009

Land of indigenous Dongi Karonsi people occupied by PT.Inco, take over of farmers’ community area to become a golf field for mining company staff. Building of three big hydro dams related to the mining process (Larona dam, Karebbe dam and Balambano dam) caused agrarian conflict. There is a big water shortage, because PT. Inco takes a lot of water resource from the dams they built. Mining takes place mostly in protected forest areas which is being cut by the mining company. Health impacts include dizziness, queasiness. Air contamination is caused by pollutants from the factory. There is a lot of prostitution in the area and there is an influx of commercial sex workers from other areas. The prostitutes usually work at cafes and bars in the night. We also see human rights abuse. Every time the community takes action against PT. Inco, the police and company’s security usually represses the protestors.
the struggle
The people of Dongi Karonsi have reclaimed local land, and organized protest to get recognition of their rights. They also started a policy dialogue with PT. Inco with the Indonesian government as mediator. The dialogue happened for over 50 times, but the decisions always caused disadvantages for the people.
the role of women
The struggle of the communities is lead by women, who took on a structural struggle. The women built a cultural movement, which included the construction of a local village, as well as housing and planting initiatives. They started to revitalise local knowledge, which was changed by PT. Inco without knowing history of the community’s philosophy. Generally, women’s struggles against industrial mining is different from men’s struggle.

Balans 2017

Verlies- en winstrekening December 2017

Totaal belastte omzet 925
Subsidie –
Giften 2,300
Totaal inkoopkosten 460
Totaal personeelskosten –
Totaal vrijwilligersvergoeding 100
Totaal afschrijvingskosten –
Totaal reis-en verblijfkosten 1,002
Totaal huisvesting 1,954
Totaal andere kosten –
Resultaat Projecten –
Totaal diverse baten en lasten 2,690
Totaal kosten 6,206
Totaal sub resultaat 2,599-
Totaal Resultaat 2,599-

Balans 2016

Verlies- en winstrekening December 2016

Totaal belastte omzet 2,250
Subsidie 5,250
Giften 900
Totaal inkoopkosten 1,738
Totaal personeelskosten –
Totaal vrijwilligersvergoeding 900
Totaal afschrijvingskosten –
Totaal reis-en verblijfkosten 1,229
Totaal huisvesting 3,005
Totaal andere kosten –
Resultaat Projecten –
Totaal diverse baten en lasten –
Totaal kosten 6,872
Totaal sub resultaat 1,528
Totaal Resultaat 1,528